Power Up Any Brand’s Email Marketing with Storytelling
Storytelling is a powerful marketing tactic that can level up your email campaigns by provoking emotions and engaging the audience.
Customers’ loyalty and trust are often driven by the emotions they feel towards the brand. Storytelling is a perfect way to create emotional experiences between your email subscribers and your company.
Storytelling is not a mere narrative: your story should give an answer, solve a problem, resolve a conflict, etc.
How to Integrate Storytelling into your Email Marketing Strategy
Here are some essential tips that will help you integrate storytelling into your email marketing strategy:
- define the purpose of your story
- focus on the customer’s point of view
- use the formula “setting-problem-solution”
- show your brand’s value to the audience
- try to engage the audience in communication or make the customers actual participants of the story
What Stories to Tell in Email Marketing Campaigns
Use storytelling in your email campaigns to talk about:
- the development of your product
- the benefits of your product
- your work with clients
- your successes and failures
- your brand/company
- anything connected with your niche.
Storytelling Techniques for Your Email Marketing Campaigns
Here are seven effective techniques you can employ in your brand stories:
1. Setup → Confrontation → Resolution
Did you know that this traditional three act structure was suggested by Aristotle? Since then, it has become a timeless classic in marketing and copywriting. If you are just starting out with your email marketing storytelling, this structure will be your best choice.
2. Introduction → Problem → Solution
This is a variation of the first formula that’s often used in ads.
3. Exposition → Rising action → Climax → Falling action → Resolution
These are the five stages of Freytag’s pyramid. Use this dramatic structure to create a powerful, compelling story.
4. Why → How → What
Tell your audience what your company’s goals are, how you create your products, and what your offerings are. This method is often employed by IT companies (Apple’s marketing campaigns are a trite but striking example).
5. Incident → Action → Benefit
This storytelling method was suggested by Dale Carnegie. To use this technique, think of a striking incident and tell what you did about it and what insights you got.
6. Introduce a character → The fall of the character → Happy end
7. Star → Chain → Hook
It’s one of the most effective marketing scenarios: a company presents an optimistic insight about the product, tells about its benefits which provoke the audience’s attention, and offers to make a target action using a strong CTA.
You can also try out the five copywriting formulas I’ve mentioned in my previous article for Only Influencers.
What’s So Special About Email Storytelling?
Curated content emails may be quite long, but if your story is juicy from the very beginning, the reader is highly likely to read the whole email and even perform the desired action.
Note: email storytelling starts with the subject line and the preheader. No matter how appealing the story is, subscribers might just not open the email because the subject line is boring.
Email Storytelling: Examples from Practitioners
Email storytelling is easier said than done, so I’ve asked my colleagues to look through their inboxes and share good examples of brand storytelling.
Here’s what brands talk about in their email long reads.
They tell unique stories to announce products or blog posts. For example, the author of the Marginalian shares her short notes about art and literature, inviting us to visit the blog and buy her art print.
They share news stories. Look at the Hustle’s email campaign: they share a news extract and encourage the audience to follow the links for additional info.
They give testimonial stories from clients. Frank Body shares a few stories from moms who love the brand’s products.
They integrate native advertising of their product into an email story. Seth Godin reflects on the concept of recognition and gently integrates the info about his projects.
More storytelling ideas for your email campaigns:
- let the CEO or editor-in-chief share their stories
- share employees’ expertise
- send stories featuring the brand’s mascot
- present short stories as graphic novels or comic strips
- make allusions to other popular stories
- launch an email series, each email ending with a cliffhanger; make your readers look forward to receiving your next email.
By the way, you can enhance your email storytelling with images, video content, or jokes. I recommend using different formats for better results.
Combined with other best practices, email storytelling can help you boost subscribers' engagement, motivate them to buy, and increase conversions. But the main thing is that storytelling creates emotional connections with audiences and grows their trust and loyalty to brands — and that’s something that cannot be bought at any price.