How To Build a Successful Email Marketing Strategy Using Storytelling

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When you sit down to write an email to your list, what are you thinking about?

Judging by the majority of business emails I’ve seen, most people are focusing on their product, service, or offers and they build their marketing campaign around that.

After all, you have something good to share, something that you think will improve your customers’ lives so you want to get that message to them.

Here’s the problem:

When you do that, you’re talking about YOU or your business.

Most of your customers don’t care about your business.

They are caught up in the stresses and pressures of their own life story and they are looking for ways to achieve their goals. When you forget that and write all about your products and services, your customers check out of your emails and you won’t see results.

What to do instead:

Put yourself into the story your customers are living when you start to write to them!

Then you will discover how you can play a powerful role in THEIR story. When you make that shift, something special happens. You start truly connecting with your audience in a meaningful way. To start doing that, you need to send emails that tell stories.

Why storytelling works in email marketing strategy

Storytelling is a rich means of engaging with people.

Neuroscientists have watched the brains of people listening or watching a story while in an FMRI machine. They discovered that listening to storytelling narrative actually activates more parts of your brain than trying to process data or facts.

In fact, data makes our brains work harder (and use more calories!) to decode meaning.

But here’s something interesting about what happens in your brain while you’re watching a story:

The brain doesn’t absorb story as a spectator, it places you as a participant in the action.

That’s why stories hold our attention so well and are great to use for email marketing.

Whatever is happening in a story you’re reading, is happening to you. The success of all your brand communications and your email marketing strategy is rooted in telling your audience stories.

What’s a good story for you to tell in your emails?

Your brand story is a narrative based on your company’s mission, values, and personality.

It’s your culture, your content, and your customer service.

However, even though you may feel your brand story is unique, your brand story is not compelling enough on its own to create a connection with your customers.

Looking for an email marketing best practice? 

The key to a killer, highly converting brand story is aligning your brand story to the goals of your customer.

Businesses that only talk about themselves end up only talking to themselves!

Customers don’t care if they fit into your brand story, they care if your brand fits into theirs.

So here’s the missing piece: your customer’s story is also part of your brand story. Once you have all of these components woven together, your brand story becomes the hook in your marketing.

PRO TIP: If you’re doing a good job of making your customer part of your brand story, you’re more likely to use words like “you” and “your” rather then “we” or “us”. Go through your copy to make sure that’s the case!

To build a highly converting email strategy, your brand story must provide real support, and value around your customers’ goals. A good brand narrative is the bright North Star of your email strategy. It helps you create messages that change the way people feel about your brand.

It builds something incredibly valuable: a relationship with your customers.

Looking for some ways to get started with email marketing strategy that incorporates storytelling? Here are 5 tips.

5 Storytelling Email Marketing Campaign Ideas

Whenever you’re sitting down to write an email to talk about your product or service, you frame it as part of your customers’ “story” and how it makes their life better. Here are some examples:

Tip #1:

Let your existing customers share their experience of using your products or services. That’s a great story.

Don't worry, you can automate that.

HoneyBook’s questionnaires and automation tools will ensure that you’re constantly grabbing those client stories and testimonials without adding another thing to your to-do list. Get 50% off from Nathalie. Start free trial.

Tip #2:

If you are wanting to promote a special offer, reinforce it with a story, telling why you’ve created that offer. Who did you have in mind when you created it? What gave you the idea? You could connect it to a personal story like an anniversary, a holiday, or any other real inspiration that sparked the idea.

Tip #3:

Create an email that shows the perks of using your products or services. The images and copy in your email are your opportunity to show what life will look like when your customers take action and decide to do business with you.

Tip #4:

Tell the story behind why your company has chosen to solve the problem you solve. When your readers relate to the common pain point that your product solves, they’re more likely to find your message interesting.

Tip #5:

Your stories should not always be directly tied to your offers or products. Include personal anecdotes to help humanize your brand and help build engagement. Keep in mind that characters people can relate to are the essence of every good story. A relatable character helps your email reader to start picturing everything that is being said and makes it more memorable and engaging.

To download your copy of the Email Campaign Planner, click here.


Ready to have email marketing do the heavy lifting for you? Get our Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing here.

Nathalie Pincham

I’m Nathalie Pincham, Founder & Creative Director of Brightworks. I help small business owners build their marketing confidence by giving them tools and knockout designs to tell their business story in a way that connects with their customers.

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