How a Great Story Resonates With Your Customers

Use a storytelling approach in your marketing to forge deeper connections with clients and prospects.

November 2, 2018

Modern Campfire

© REALTOR® Magazine

Real estate speaker and trainer Valerie Garcia explains how to perfect the storytelling method for marketing during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo.

Want to reach more prospects online? Real estate professionals are often told the secret to achieve that is to serve up more content with more frequency. But real estate speaker and trainer Valerie Garcia said such a strategy won’t help you expand your outreach and, in fact, likely will land your marketing materials in customers’ recycle bins or spam folders.

Instead, Garcia told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Boston on Friday that practitioners who use a storytelling approach in their marketing will deepen their connections. “If our content is all about us, we’ll miss the mark,” Garcia said. “It’s the stories that relate to customers that will make you memorable. The real estate agents who are telling stories and using emotion marketing are hitting the mark far more than anyone else and breaking through all the noise.” Here are a few of her tips.

  1. Use the “what” formula. Garcia recommends answering these questions in your marketing: What? So what? Now what? She said real estate professionals should adopt such a formula and apply it to all their marketing, including newsletter content, blogs, social media posts, and postcard fliers. “First, what do I need to know?” Garcia explained. “Then, you have to add in the ‘so what’—why does it matter to them? And the ‘now what’—what do I do with this information?” Garcia said you need to consider a customer’s journey, including the challenges they face and their fears. “Consider how you can help them be the hero in their story,” Garcia said.
  2. Search for ideas. Garcia said the elements of a great story contain relatable people, shareable lessons, a story arc (beginning, middle, and end), and a connection to the audience. Collect personal stories from your buyers’ and sellers’ experiences. Then craft stories around visuals from copyright-free photo websites, such as Unsplash.com and Pexels.com. Tie your stories to community events, such as yoga on the town square or a local farmer’s market. “The goal is to find something that they’ll want to tell others about,” Garcia said.
  3. Present your story. Present stories in many different formats, including social media, blogs, e-newsletters, and videos. For example, MovetoNola.com, a website run by New Orleans agent Sissy Blewster, features photos of her clients after closing, along with the stories of their transactions. “This shows how she’s helped customers and does much more than a vague testimonial quote,” Garcia said. She suggested this format could apply to showcasing neighborhoods or parks.

Garcia said the storytelling approach should stretch to your professional bio, too. She recently helped craft a professional bio for an agent that reads: “Born in El Savador, Iman moved to California when he was 6 years old, and that experience has shaped the way he serves every one of his clients.” More than stating the “what,” the bio aims to show the agent as empathetic when connecting with customers.