Stories have been around since the dawn of time. Prehistoric people etched them onto cave walls; they’ve been used throughout history for entertainment, communication and for passing information from person to person or generation to generation.
It makes perfect sense to me, therefore, that stories should be a part of every business owner’s marketing toolkit. But the sad reality is that most businesses tell precious few stories, and are worse off as a result. Another thing I see business owners – especially salon owners – doing little of is sending emails.
When these two things – telling stories and sending emails – are combined, that’s when magic happens. When Hollie [Salonology’s co-founder] and I still owned our day spa and salon in Bournemouth, we had nine treatment room columns to fill. That’s a lot of pressure on the marketing department.
When I tell people what our number-one way to fill those columns was, many are surprised. It wasn’t Google, it wasn’t Instagram, it wasn’t even paid ads. It was good old free-to-use email – seriously.
The main way we built bonds with our clients using email was through storytelling. You see, just blasting information or discounts at people over and over again until they buy something (which is what most people do via their newsletters) is only ever going to get you so far.
A much better strategy is to share stories. Stories humanise your business, and even as the world continues to embrace artificial intelligence, we still want to deal with humans. Stories help to bridge the gap between stranger and friend. They bring people closer through commonalities and shared beliefs. They are also just about the best under-the-radar way you can possibly sell; you’re selling without people even knowing it.
You can tell stories about pretty much anything, too, and as a business owner you have no end of potential topics: what happened in the salon today, what your team got up to on the weekend, how you’ve spent all morning in the vets with little Malcolm the dachshund. I promise you that your clients are interested – in fact, they’ll be asking how Malcolm is the next time they visit the salon.
Most people massively overcomplicate storytelling when really it’s one of the simplest and more natural things to humans. After all, we’ve been doing it for around 36,000 years (if my Google search is to be believed).
If you’d like to learn more about how you can craft simple stories that sell, you’ll want to attend my talk at Professional Beauty London. I’m back on the Business and Digital Skills Stage on Sunday, March 3, at 11am with my all-new presentation; How to use simple email stories to build bonds, get more clients and make more money.
Ryan is a self confessed marketing geek and is passionate about equipping salon owners with the tools needed to enjoy both freedom and profit. Co-founder of the Salonology brand and author of the number one best selling book "The Customer Is Always Right: and 7.5 Other Myths Which Are Destroying Your Salon", Ryan is an energetic and enthusiastic speaker. If Ryan cannot get you fired up about your marketing then its unlikely that anyone can.