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Why is Storytelling so Powerful?

Why is Storytelling so Powerful?

As  a small business owner doing your own marketing, one of the biggest struggles one faces is how to engage the audience you are trying to reach.  One of the most powerful ways is to tell a story.  Here is a great post expaining why storytelling is so compelling. 

The Secret to Activating Your Audience’s Brain

March 4, 2015

how-to-activate-your-audiences-brain-blogIf you are like me, you are always looking for the latest and greatest ways to do things faster, better, and cheaper. Personally, I get a thrill as I hunt for the best piece of hardware, software, or acclaimed process that will “change my life.”

In the world of presentations, there is one key ingredient that will radically change them – specifically, how you engage your audienceand how they perceive you. And, it’s a solution you have been hearing for quite some time now, but I want to take it one step further.

Tell a story.


It’s the most efficient way to activate and ignite your audience’s brain.

Let’s look at the illustration below.


When you share facts and stats with your audience:

1. They are going to agree with you

2. They are going to disagree with you

Hence, only two parts of your audiences’ brain will ignite when reacting to data.

But, what if you tell a story instead? Let’s look at this illustration.


A story doesn’t spark agreement or disagreement but rather participation. In fact, stories ignite 7 parts of the brain, which is testament to why as humans we love stories.

If you want to see all of this in more amazing detail, here’s an entire infographic my team created a few days ago.

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The bottom line is this: If you want to engage your audience and activate their brains, you need to start telling stories. Plain and simple. It’s powerful. It’s effective. And, it works! It’s the best tool to have in your kit.

Author Bio

Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.

Follow the conversation and connect with Scott on LinkedIn orTwitter.

5 Ways to Make Your Small Business Stand Out.

5 Ways to Make Your Small Business Stand Out.

As a small business, do you sometimes wonder how you can go up against the big guys?  Do you sometimes feel like David taking on Goliath?  The internet has leveled the playing field. Here are some suggestions to help you stand out from you competitors. 

How to Make Your Company Stand Out

In very crowded markets, your company will get drowned out unless you consciously do something that makes you stand out. You need to do something that makes heads turns. Something that makes people pay attention to you.

There isn’t one set formula that every company should use to stand out. What follows are a series of attributes that stand-out companies tend to share. Implement these in your own company and add your own twist to them to make your business stand head and shoulders out of the crowd.

==> Be Genuine

Most companies try to be bigger or more official than they really are. Companies that are able to let that drop and actually share what’s genuinely going on are often able to garner a lot of trust and loyalty.

Be real about who you are and where your company is at.

==> Cultivate Win/Win

A lot of businesses treat their value propositions as win-lose. They make money, the customer loses money.

Great companies, on the other hand, view their relationship as a co-creative one with their customers. Their customers want solutions and you’re there to help provide that to them.

View your company as win-win and look to cultivate more win-win relationships with customers. Enroll customers in the product design process to help make sure you’re really solving their problems.

==> Do Unusual Promotions

Did you know that Otis, the man who invented the elevator safety mechanism, got his company launched by placing himself inside a giant elevator in public and hacking off two elevator cables with a hatchet?

Unusual promotions garner a lot of attention. Try to come up with shocking or unusual ways of promoting your business.

==> Write with Personality

Companies like Woot and Groupon launched with a successful business model – but they also had something else. They had fantastic writers that had real personality.

People love reading personality-filled bits of content online. If you can get people to write witty, funny or edgy content, there’s a very good chance you’ll stand out.

==> Pick a Niche and Be World-Class at It

Don’t try to be good at everything. Instead, try to be fantastic at just one or two things.

Pick a niche and become the best in that niche. Stand out in that niche, rather than in the broader market.

==> Choose a Corporate Culture

A corporate culture shines through each and every employee. It shines through your website, your copy and everything else about your company.

Consciously craft your corporate culture. Your company will have a culture; it’s your choice whether you consciously craft it or not. Do you want your company to be corporate and bureaucratic? Or fun and entrepreneurial?

These are some of the many ways you can stand out. Pick the ones that resonate with you and implement them in your company.

Think Social Media is Just for Teenagers? Better Think Again!

Think Social Media is Just for Teenagers? Better Think Again!

Currently  there are approximately 28 million small businesses in the US.  Many of these businesses think they don’t need to bother with a social media presence.  After all,  social media is just for teenagers, right?  These statistics might make you think again. 

1. The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55–64 year age bracket.

  • This demographic has grown 79% since 2012.
  • The 45–54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic on both Facebook and Google+.
  • For Facebook, this group has jumped 46%.
  • For Google+, 56%.

Those are impressive numbers against the prevailing idea that social media is ‘just for teenagers.’ It certainly points to the importance of having a solid social media strategy if these age brackets fit into your target demographic.

Rethink it: Keep older users in mind when using social media, particularly on these three platforms. Our age makes a difference to our taste and interests, so if you’re focusing on younger users with the content you post, you could be missing an important demographic.

2. 189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only’

Not only does Facebook have millions of users who don’t access it from a desktop or laptop, but mobile use generates 30% of Facebook’s ad revenue as well. This is a 7% increase from the end of 2012 already.

social media stats - phone use

Rethink it: There are probably more users accessing Facebook from mobile devices than you thought. It’s worth considering how your content displays on mobile devices and smaller screens before posting it, particularly if your target market is full of mobile users. Of course, make sure to make sharing to social media from mobile more straight forward.

3. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18–34 than any cable network

Did you think TV was the best way to reach the masses? Well if you’re after 18–34 year olds in the U.S., you’ll have more luck reaching them through YouTube. Of course, one video won’t necessarily reach more viewers than a cable network could, but utilizing a platform with such a wide user base makes a lot of sense.

Rethink it: If you’ve been putting off adding video to your strategy, now’s the time to give it a go. You could start small with simple five minutes videos explaining what your company does or introducing your team.


4. Every second 2 new members join LinkedIn

LinkedIn, the social network for professionals, continues to grow every second. From groups to blogs to job listings, this platform is a rich source of information and conversation for professionals who want to connect to others in their industry.

Rethink it: LinkedIn is definitely worth paying attention to. In particular, this is a place where you may want to focus more on new users. Making your group or community a great source of information and a newbie-friendly space can help you to make the most out of the growing userbase.

Make sure you share consistently to your LinkedIn company page and profile by for example scheduling your posts.

social media statistics

5. Social Media has overtaken porn as the #1 activity on the web

We all knew social media was popular, but this popular? Apparently it’s the most common thing we do online. So next time you find yourself watching Kitten vs. Watermelon videos on Facebook, you can at least console yourself with the fact that the majority of people online right now are doing something similar.

Social media carries more weight than ever. It’s clearly not a fad, or a phase. It continues to grow as a habit, and new platforms continue to appear and develop.

Rethink it: Putting time and effort into your social media strategy clearly makes sense in light of these stats. If you weren’t already serious about social media, you might want to give it a bit more of your time now.


6. LinkedIn has a lower percentage of active users than Pinterest, Google+, Twitter and Facebook

Although LinkedIn is gathering new users at a fast rate, the number of active users is lower than most of the biggest social networks around. So more people are signing up, but they’re not participating. This means you’re probably not going to have as good a response with participatory content on LinkedIn, like contests or polls, as you might on Facebook or Twitter.

Rethink it: If you’re hoping to get people involved, think about which platforms are best for that. Looking at the latest Twitter statistics and Facebook statistics, these platforms might be a better place for your contest or survey, while passive content like blog posts or slide decks might be just right for your LinkedIn audience.


7. 93% of marketers use social media for business

Only 7% of marketers say they don’t use social media for their business. That means there are lots of people out there getting involved and managing a social media strategy. It’s becoming more common to include social media as part of an overall marketing budget or strategy, as opposed to when it was the outlier that no one wanted to spend time or money on.

Rethink it: If you’re struggling to make your strategy work, or you just want some advice, you don’t have to go it alone. If 93% of marketers are using social media for business, you can probably find someone to give you a hand. Plus, there are lots of blogs, videos and slide decks around to help you out. Be sure to find the right social media management tool for you to stay on top of everything.

Source: Social Media Video 2013

8. 25% of smartphone owners ages 18–44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them

social media stats - phone

It’s pretty clear that mobile is a growing space that we need to pay attention to. And we’ve all heard the cliché of smartphone owners who don’t want to let go of their phones, even for five minutes. Well, apparently that’s not too far from the truth. If 25% of people aged 18–44 can’t remember not having their phone with them, there are probably very few times when they’re not connected to the web in some way.

Rethink it: While you can reach people almost anytime, since they have their smartphones with them almost always, this also means you can interrupt pretty much any part of their lives. Don’t forget that having a phone in your pocket all the time isn’t the same as being available all the time.


Want an Easy, Simple Way to Promote Your Business?

Want an Easy, Simple Way to Promote Your Business?

Small business owners are always looking for effective, inexpensive ways to promote their product or service on the internet.  One of the most effective methods is plain old email.

Think email is outmoded?  Here are some surprising statistcs.

1) Email marketing yields an average 4,300% return on investment for businesses in the United States. (Direct Marketing Association)

2) Companies using email to nurture leads generate 50% more sales-ready leads and at 33% lower cost. And nurtured leads, on average, produce a 20% increase in sales opportunities compared to non-nurtured leads. (Hubspot)

Recommended for YouWebcast: Your Viral Voice: How to Create Conversations that Convert to Sales

3) Small business owners estimate that getting an extra hour in their day back from doing their own email marketing (and other activities) is worth $273/hour. (Constant Contact)

4) For every $1 spent on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25.

5) Marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention. (GigaOM Research)

6) Email conversion rates are three times higher than social media, with a 17% higher value in the conversion. (McKinsey & Company)

7) Email is nearly 40 times better than Facebook and Twitter at acquiring customers. (McKinsey & Company)

8) 70% of people say they always open emails from their favorite companies. (ExactTarget)

9) 95% of those who opt into email messages from brands find these messages somewhat or very useful. (Salesforce)



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