Sharing your authentic story as a rural business owner helps you to stand out in a competitive global market and gives customers the confidence to buy from you.
As a wordsmith I am constantly sharing stories. Stories that educate, inform, inspire and challenge deserve to be shared. In my youth we relied on oral and print mediums. Today in a digital world the opportunities are much greater.
But why should a business allocate time and resources to articulating its story?
It all comes back to why should I purchase a good or service from your business? Is it because it is so good? But what if that same product or service is available from multiple businesses? Why should I buy it from you?
Customers are becoming increasingly savvy to marketing ploys and, sadly, there is a growing perception with younger generations that business people are profit hungry and unethical.
Sharing your story can help explain who you are and what you stand for. In a competitive and global market, effectively articulating your story can help customers decide who they want to do business with.
As I wrote in my last blog, when Elise Brown of Fair Dinkum Dog Coats changed her wholesale business to an online one, she was faced with a huge challenge. How could she help customers find her new website? And then how could she convince them to buy her product instead of all the other choices on the market?
Telling her personal story has been an important strategy.
Through her website and social media Elise has been able to articulate how her business allows her to work and live in a rural community that she loves. Her followers have watched her two daughters grow up in the workshop and carrying their orders to the post office. Through her posts they know her personal values on family, rural living, and caring for animals. She also explains how her product is made and the benefits of using oil skin.
Notice how the product came second?
Sharing your authentic story and presenting a human face can also help change negative perceptions about the business sector in general.
Not only are we members of a community, we are parents and volunteers. As business owners we provide a valuable service, create employment and contribute taxes to support the essential government services depended on by many.
As we have recently evidenced, the public can be fickle and perceptions can rapidly change. One minute they are applauding our sporting heroes and the next minute they are tearing them down. Then, after hearing their personal remorse, they are once again defending them.
We need more people defending the business sector when it is wrongly portrayed in a negative light. The public needs more information to be able to carefully consider and weigh the evidence instead of making snap decisions.
Simple and genuine stories are extremely powerful. They should be embedded on your website, in your marketing materials, and when speaking in public.
Not everyone is a skilled communicator so, if required, seek professional assistance to help articulate your story in the most effective way. A skilled communicator will not put words in your mouth or try and spin something into bigger than it should be. They will understand that less is best and authenticity is your main advantage. They will also remind you to think from a customer's perspective.
Then, just be yourself and let it shine through.
KERRY ANDERSON: Author of ‘Entrepreneurship: It’s Everybody’s Business,’ Kerry works with small businesses and rural communities to help them embrace new opportunities. READ MORE