How to Use Storytelling in Email Marketing Effectively

Narratives are tools to connect people. The power of stories is that they evoke emotional responses and bond individuals, sharing even a single mutuality. Marketers have learned how compelling storytelling can be in connecting with their audiences. Stories are used in different marketing campaigns to motivate customers toward a desired action. 

Storytelling is not only through one means, text, but includes other forms of transmitting information: video, picture, animation, and products. Storytelling is universal; if language is not involved, the globe can become your audience. 

The most efficient approach to interact with your audience and market your business is through email marketing. But starting the bonding and staying connected requires thought and tactics. 

Using storytelling to connect and engage with your subscribers is a highly effective strategy. Human communication and connection are based on stories. In business and marketing, you establish a stronger relationship with your readers, arouse emotions, and motivate action using storytelling in email marketing. 

Benefits of Storytelling in Email Marketing

A person using tablets and mobile devices for storytelling

Storytelling is powerful not only for inciting emotions and bonding. They are great tools for communicating your company values, objectives, and mission to users. Email marketing is not only for information transmission but also to connect more and drive more conversions. Getting a standard newsletter might repel the reader, whereas a well-crafted piece in the inbox should create an emotional connection leading to engagement and conversion. And the good thing is, it applies to many types of email marketing. The general easy-to-come benefits of storytelling include:

  • Creating a distinct brand image and personality in the marketplace 
  • Developing trust among your audience/potential audience
  • Raising interest and grabbing attention among readers
  • Highlighting the brand values and USPs 
  • The growing interest in clicking through
  • Creating a sense of belonging 

A memorable narrative is enough for the outset of customer engagement. Stories, be they visual or auditory, are impactful mediums. Emotions are central to customer conversions, and stories are directly related to fueling feelings.

What to Consider When Using Storytelling in Email Marketing

Storytelling is an inexpensive method to engage with your audience. But just narrating lines is not going to help. Telling stories is art, especially if the purpose is to hook and keep the audience. You need skills to master. There are important tips and ways to construct a meaningful and, at the same time, compelling story. When using storytelling in email marketing, here are tips to consider. 

People engaged in online communication

Integrate the Must-to-have Storytelling Components

Remember the tales your grandmother used to tell when you were a child? What comes to your mind is the hero you associate with, the story you used to relate to, and the final advice it gave you. Any story from books or real life revolves around a hero, their background, the storyline they live, or the journey they pass, and culminates with a gift to your reader. That’s the character-conflict-resolution-prize approach.

The hero – If you look behind any successful company, you will find the main character to associate with the company name. Be it Coca-Cola’s red-dressed Santa or the animated almond candies of M&M. The main character sells the product and creates the customer-company bond. 

When creating a company hero for any storytelling, one-time or continual, line it up with your target audience’s interests and characteristics. You can think of one character and stick to it in the email marketing campaign or create a new mascot for each email sent. A hero can be a former buyer, an employee, or a fictional character to highlight product benefits.

The hero’s story – Imagine the hero is your buyer’s persona. Your task is to solve the hero’s problems. If you have a clear idea of the buyer persona’s pains, you can project those on your hero and create the story based on the problems. 

In the story, you raise the problems and the challenges your hero, aka your buyer, faces and suggest solutions. The solution refers to your products or services. At first, you present the hero’s problems, then how your products and services soothe them: risk, danger, surprise, and the situation change. 

The hero’s journey – The products you showcase aren’t in the direct attention of your hero. S/he has a problem, goes here and there in search of a solution, faces some more difficulties, and finally finds out your offer. Remember that it should not be explicit advertising of your brand but focusing on the benefits and features of your product.

The gift – The reader was so captivated by your story that s/he adhered to the end. S/he deserves a gift. When you give something away, you invite them to be on board, which the reader cannot accept. The giveaways can range from a free downloadable resource to a discount. Whatever you treat the reader with will surely lead them into the sales funnel.  

Create a Narrative Arc

A narrative arc is an excellent method to format your email story as a tale with a beginning, middle, and end. It creates engagement with the story, makes it more memorable, and keeps the reader curious till the end. The narrative arc is effective as it makes the reader see themselves in the story. 

Create an engaging narrative arc with the following tips:

  • Start with an attention-grabbing opening: a question, a bold statement, or a compelling anecdote related to your story’s message.
  • Establish tension or conflict: a problem or challenge your readers can relate to or a story highlighting the need for your product or service.
  • Resolve the tension: make the reader feel they need your product or service to solve the problem they just related to.
  • End with a call to action: clicking a link, purchasing, or signing up for a newsletter will move the reader onto the next stage.

A hero of a story on her journey

Keep the Story Concise 

The thing you want the least is losing the audience in a long tale. No matter how interesting, the narrative cannot go on and on, tiring the reader. Remember that an average worker gets around 121 emails every workday. It is a lot of information, so most people ignore or leap between paragraphs. Storytelling in email marketing aims to create a story that wraps long information in an easy-to-grasp form. 

One approach to do this is to use a narrative to support rather than serve as the primary emphasis of your email. Let’s take the example of introducing a new skincare product. You might utilize narratives to emphasize the product’s advantages and how it has benefited others rather than going into great detail about how the product was created or constructed. Take one central point at a time and develop the story around it. This way, you will get a less tedious and more engaging email story.

Telling isn’t Enough: Show

Storytelling in email marketing is similar to writing a tale, a book, or prose. The principles of writing apply to email storytelling. The point is to use concrete, sensory details to illustrate the message rather than simply telling the reader what to think or feel. 

You can achieve this by using descriptive language and making the reader imagine what happens. Or, instead of a monotonous narrative, utilize dialogue for a smooth idea transition. Dialogues are quick-to-read, easy-to-grasp, and fun-to-perceive.

Another approach is to use specific examples: specific examples will illustrate your message. This can make your message more tangible and relatable. For instance, instead of saying, “our product can save you time,” you might feature one of our customers who completed a task in half the time thanks to your product. A change in approach will change the perception of readers. 

Wrapping Up Storytelling in Email Marketing

Connection, emotions, and motivation are the after-effects of storytelling. From long ago, stories have been the bonds between people. They establish familiarity and draw the narrator closer to the reader. Marketers use storytelling to motivate action based on emotions. Storytelling can emphasize brand values and differentiators, build trust, foster a sense of belonging, and establish a distinct brand image. 

Email marketing is at its peak, and not using storytelling would mean losing an easy engagement chance. Marketers need to think about the storytelling elements and develop a narrative arc to convey effective stories. Storytelling elements include a hero, a tale, a journey, and a gift. 

The narrative arc entails an attention-grabbing introduction, the development of tension or conflict, the resolution of the conflict, and a call to action at the conclusion. The hero reflects the target audience’s interests and traits.

Don’t ignore the power of stories. Storytelling is an art, and if you invest in it thoughtfully, you will fulfill your marketing goals in no time with minimum effort. 

SEO Content Writer

Hripsime Manukyan

Hripsime is an avid SEO Content Writer at SayNine. She is self-driven and self-motivated to create content on topics in branding, marketing, and advertising. She has set off writing for SaaS websites and enjoys the process of creating authentic content. You can find her composing a piece, teaching English, practicing yoga, exploring nature, or delved in a book reading.