It’s story time!
A long time ago, I learned from someone that the faster that you can pass someone off to an affiliate link or a sales page, the better your chances are of selling them something.
Just like that.
However, I’m sure you probably didn’t click that link (unless you were just curious about what sort of stupid thing I linked to). And quite frankly, I bet you didn’t buy anything either.
A few weeks ago, someone asked me about a product they were thinking of promoting as an affiliate. They were worried by the fact that a visitor had to watch a 20 minute video before the “add to cart” button appeared. Wouldn’t visitors get bored watching this video and leave?
However, I had solid numbers from my own testing that showed the offer converted at 2% (pretty good for this particular market).
Why would 2% of people be willing to sit through a 20 minute video before buying something?
It is simple. They were enthralled by the story.
I used to believe that passing someone off to a buy something ASAP was the best way to make some coin online.
Now I know better.
But it’s not just that sales video that has convinced me.
Stories have a very powerful effect on us.
Back in 2009, when I was working for 3 months on building websites before I started making regular commissions, I was completely addicted to stories.
Whenever, I felt hopeless and depressed by my lack of earnings, or my faith in AffiloBlueprint (the course I used non-stop for a year) started to falter, I would read success stories from those who had come before me and found success, like Sean Morrissy, Jackson Lin, and the enigmatic “jem008.”
I even went so far as to print out of the earnings screenshots that “jem008” posted in the AffilioBlueprint members’ forum and keep it with me at all times (I know, really dorky, huh?).
I’ve been attracted to stories of others who have achieved massive success.
Mark Ling used to be a delivery boy for Pizza Hut. Eben Pagen used to be a broke guy living in a trailer outside of Eugene, Oregon. Anthony Robbins used to work as a janitor so he could save up money to buy personal development tapes. Sylvester Stallone was so broke he had to sell his dog for $25 before he “made it big.” Steve Jobs used to collect bottles for the 5 cent deposit for recycling them and go to the Hare Krishna temple for free food because he was so broke. And who doesn’t love that Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness (about the life of Chris Gardener)?
I held onto these stories because they gave me hope. Hope that others had overcome the odds and found success despite how dire things may have seemed at the time.
I held onto these stories because they told me a story and helped me believe that I could follow in their footsteps.
Tying this back to the Benefiting from Bangkok Manifesto, stories are what helps to create the Elephant Effect that attracts people to you.
This isn’t just a lesson for personality-based businesses.
Everything about your product, content, or business can help to craft a story that your visitors tell themselves.
For example, there is a shopping mall in Bangkok called the Siam Paragon. This mall is really fancy. It’s filled with high-end stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes. They even have a movie theater on the top floor where you can get a seat in a Lay-Z Boy sort of chair with a blanket to relax in while you watch a movie (honestly, a bit over-rated, though). Everything is top of the line.
Sean Morrissy was in Bangkok for a few days and he told me that security evacuated the entire Siam Paragon mall while he was there because some royal princess wanted to go shopping that day.
When you go to the Siam Paragon mall, the story you can tell yourself is that you are the kind of person who enjoys the best in life. Not only that, but you shop at the same mall that is literally the choice of royalty!
(How’s that for a story?)
There is also a market in Bangkok called Chatuchak Market. It is like a labyrinth of clothing, jewelry, souvenirs, and random houseware. You can get pretty much anything there. It is absolutely nothing like the Siam Paragon. It is open-air (which means hot and stuffy, given the climate), it is cramped, and things there can be bargained for and haggled over.
But it is just as successful as Siam Paragon. Why? Because people can also tell themselves a story when they go there. They can tell themselves that they are the kind of person who is shrewd, savvy, and smart. They know how to find a good deal hidden in the maze of Chatuchak.
Both of these tell a story to people who visit them. Both of these have people going out of their way to visit these places. And Neither of these places have to constantly hustle and to get people to show up and visit them.
And the main reason that these places are successful, in my opinion, is because of the story they tell their visitors and the story they allow their visitors to tell themselves about who they are.
This is applicable to pretty much anything, including your business. Examples include:
You might read a blog like Illuminated Mind because you love the story behind it, because you believe that you are the kind of person who can quit your job you don’t like and find a meaningful and rewarding way to make money doing something you love.
You might be willing to buy stuff from Frank Kern because he’s just so dang likable. He makes obscene amounts of money while slacking off and surfing and you want to believe that you can be like him too (after all, who wouldn’t want to live by the beach and chill out all day?).
You might be a fan of Neil “Style” Strauss (of “pick up artist” fame) because you read his story of how he transformed himself from awkward and uncomfortable “Average Frustrated Chump” around women to become one of the top men’s dating experts, and you can see yourself treading the same path. He makes a healthy living selling programs online like the Annihilation Method and the Style Life Academy.
You might be a rabid reader of Tim Ferriss’ blog because you deeply want the 4 Hour Work Week dream that he is offering. His book opened your eyes to a new world of possibilities and you just can’t go back any longer to the old way.
You might follow the Occupy Wall Street movement because you can identify as being part of the 99% and you are ready to go all French Revolution on those 1% bastards, drinking champagne and laughing at you from their Wall Street balconies. (Bring the guillotines already!)
Stories have an immensely powerful effect on our lives. They shape how we see ourselves and they inspire us to hold a vision for the person we want to become.
Stories will help your business, if done correctly, because they will echo in our visitors’ minds throughout the day and they will compel your visitors to return to your site again and again. They create what many marketers call “top of mind awareness.” And when you offer something to your visitors, they will have a level of trust in you because of the compelling story about you and about them that they have already been indoctrinated to believe (not to get too cult-like).
That will do a lot more for conversion rates that just sticking a “buy now” button in front of them as soon as you possibly can.
Does your blog / website / business tell a unique story to your visitors?
If it doesn’t, maybe it’s time you really sat down and thought about this.