We live in a “story culture”. We take in our entertainment through stories. People watch hours upon hours of television a week, and a good portion of it is fiction stories of comedy, drama and so forth.
Stories are the perfect vehicle to engage a reader’s emotions. People make purchase decisions based upon emotions. Often, logic plays second fiddle to emotions in the home buying process. Although it’s a cliche, facts tell, stories sell.
- Facts tell the prospect the benefits of why they should buy (logical approach).
- Stories demonstrate those benefits in action, and show the prospect how it can transform their life (emotional approach).
Finally, stories are the “hooks” to hang your other persuasion elements on. The best way to prove your claims is while you’re telling your story. The best way to put a ton of benefits into your copy is by lacing your story with personal anecdotes that point to your savvy and expertise.
Internet marketers responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in online sales use stories in their sales letters and product launch campaigns. Basic marketing principles and practices apply across industry verticals. They work for information marketers and they work for a very small group of real estate marketers who are on the cutting edge relative to their marketing outreach.
3 Types of Story Plots Marketers Use Widely
The good news is you don’t have to be a genius story teller to write great stories that sell. No. You just need to know three basic approaches to create good stories that will help sell your products. Master the basics and you will not need anything else.
The Journey Plot
The first plot is what’s called a “journey plot”. This is the simplest plot to use to improve your conversions and copywriting ability. It works like this.
You start by explaining where you (or a client) were at when you decided to go out and find a solution for your problem. Then, you explain your lowest point, where things got really bad for you. Next, you talk about how you found the path that started to make positive changes in the situation. Then you talk about how that led you to discover the solution. Finally, you explain why you’re sharing the solution for them.
Let’s do an example. Let’s say you are working with a seller whose home is in serious disrepair.
- You’d start talking about general market conditions. Sellers are underwater on their mortgages, and they do not have the financial resources necessary to execute an extreme property makeover – new flooring, update appliances, etc.
- Then, you talk about alternative solutions, ordering a pre-listing inspection to disclose all deficiencies in the home upfont, with estimates for repairs. Highlight one very specific example that demonstrates this.
- Perhaps you and the seller had heated discussions about this approach that almost fractured your business relationship.
- After talking about your lowest point, start building up on how you began making progress, and were first introduced to the solution you found.
- Explain your “path of success” on how you first started getting results, and how those results improved over time to the point they are at now, where you now have the “ultimate” solution for underwater sellers. Then explain why you have decided to share that solution with them.
It really is that simple.
Once you have fleshed your story out like that, it becomes really easy to sit down and write your copy, because you know how it’s going to flow.
In most cases, you should write with the journey plot. There is no better story that sells than this one, and it’s the first one you should always consider when sitting down to write your copy.
The Accident Plot
A second story that is also good for using in sales letters is the “Accident” plot. In this case, it’s perfect to use if, by accident, you or the person you’re writing copy for “stumbled” on the solution.
This is a good plot because it appeals to the “average Joe” in the market. The idea is to get them to think that if you, an average Joe just like them, can do it by accident, then they will be able to do it on purpose.
Plus, it’s a great way to build in proof that your stuff works.
Here’s an example. Let’s say you test a new open house advertising program on Craigslist You start the program without any expectation of results. The market in your local area has too much in inventory and bank properties are outselling most resales.
When you opened the doors to your open house, there was a flood of prospects, in a number exceeding your wildest dreams.
You were not sure if your results were a fluke, so you used the same advertising program the next week with equally great results! This time one of the prospects actually BUYS the house!
Wow! You are the local open house Superstar! What a great story. It’s engaging, it’s interesting and exciting, and it promises a huge benefit to prospective sellers who read your blog.
Us vs. Them Plot
The third killer plot to use is an “Us vs. Them” plot. This is where you position your solution as a way for the prospect to have a voice about issues of the day and people that they feel are taking advantage of them!
In this case, you first start out the story by reciting events aimed at taking advantage of them. Then, agitate the reader’s anger even more by explaining specific instances to demonstrate just how bad they are being taken advantage of.
Then talk about how you came up with a solution to turn the tables, so they are no longer being taken advantage of. Then, further explain how not only will they no longer be taken advantage of, but they will also wildly benefit from the situation by using your solution.
(This blog post is an excerpt of “Copywriting 101: A Real Estate Primer” by Frances Flynn Thorsen and Denise Lones. The ebook is a bonus resource in the No Blogger Left Behind blog coaching program.)