James and Timbo are back with another excursion into Freedom Ocean. In this engaging episode, they focus on a powerful and often overlooked tool of the marketer’s trade – storytelling.
In the podcast:
01:01 – A new addiction
01:40 – What’s in a name?
03:26 – The pros and cons of forums
07:33 – Let’s talk story
09:22 – Pants around ankles
15:11 – Paying for soul
19:13 – The power of analogy
20:41 – What’s your “why” story?
25:40 – Reassessing your why
29:42 – James’ new podcast
33:32 – How to pull an effective story
Best subject line ever. [Click To Tweet]
Jab, jab jab, right hook. [Click To Tweet]
Identify your Why. [Click To Tweet]
Find the emotion. [Click To Tweet]
Practice your stories. [Click To Tweet]
Internet Marketing Products & Resources
Here you’ll find Tim and James have some things to help your business become more powerful.
Tim: Welcome back listeners to Episode 72 of your favorite online/Internet marketing show called Freedom Ocean. I’m Timbo Reid, I’m right over on the hammock. Just come off the surfboard is Jimmy the James Schramko.
James: That’s a true story, Timbo.
Tim: I know. Well, maybe not the hammock part.
James: And that’s just for the first time today. I’ll definitely be out again later.
Tim: You’ve got a new hobby mate.
James: I have. Yeah. I say it’s bordering on…
James: Addiction. Yeah. But, it’s good. It’s one of those sports where you come out cleaner than you start. So, that’s positive. It’s very low cost to get involved. You know, apart from the actual surfboard, there’s not a lot of expense. Surfboard and a wetsuit, you’re good to go and wax is cheap. It’s fit and healthy and fun and challenging. I look at it as actually one of the hardest sports to pick up as an adult and I’m really enjoying it.
Tim: Do you use Mrs. Palmer and her 5 daughters, James?
Tim: No. What wax do you use?
James: They’ve got the strangest brand names. They’re all very… there’s Far King wax. There’s a..
Tim: Like F-A-R K-I-N-G.
James: Of course. There’s Zogs Sex Wax. There’s a couple of others. I’ve got a few others. There’s Big Stick.
Tim: I’m particular. I love names. I don’t know about you but one of the, inside the Small Business, Big Marketing forum, I do love it when someone poses a naming question. I don’t know what it is but I actually, a hidden talent of mine is naming businesses. I really enjoy it. Sometimes I think the name people can get kind of, like they can do their head in trying to come up with a big name but when you do get a good name for your business that you absolutely love, it does bring a different energy to the business. But I always use the example you know, like Apple was a piece of fruit once, you know? Jobs just quickly needed to name something and it wasn’t that he spent a whole lot of time coming up with this so that’s what you put into that name that counts.
James: I reckon that’s a little bit criminal, Timbo.
Tim: What do you mean?
James: Well, you’re cruising around the world, you’re getting 5 figures of keynote and someone can access your branding brain for a paltry, you know, whatever it is per month.
Tim: Well, right now, it’s 49 bucks a month.
James: That’s ridiculous.
Tim: It’s a dollar for the first 7 days. So if you want something named, get in there.
James: Yeah. Freedom Ocean listeners should definitely belong to that community.
Tim: Oh thank you mate. It’s a… As you said, it’s like having a young child. In fact, I think you used the word baby and it’s wonderful. It’s just…
Tim: I reckon forums and you’ve got a big one, too.
James: Back to the forums, Timbo.
Tim: And I’ve run a large forum membership on top of that, but boy oh boy, I reckon they’re underdone. I don’t think there’s enough of them. You know, I do speak to small business owners, like bricks-and-mortar small business owners and I think forums are a great opportunity for them. It feels very complicated when I speak to them you know, about them… they kind of go cross-eyed. But, I’ll give you an example I was a…
James: It’s not a difficult concept, really. It’s like you can go into business by yourself or you could surround yourself with a peer group of other motivated people who talk your language, who are there to actually impress you with how clever they are and to help you further your journey. Almost all of the cool stuff that I’m learning lately is coming from my own community. Basically you have all these agents out in the field, gathering information and then coming back to base and sharing it in one place.
Tim: Yeah. As the forum owner, it provides the most wonderful, it creates wonderful community, provides amazing insights into what your customers and prospects are thinking. As a forum member, you know, clearly, it’s just a great way to hang out with like-minded individuals no matter what the category. I also think as a business owner, it’s just an interesting channel to add to… it could be to your marketing arsenal if you were to pay, if you didn’t charge for membership or it’s a great additional revenue channel you could add.
So, you know, I’ll give an example. We moved into a house, new house a few months ago. It’s got a pool. The pool needs some work and the first thing I did was went and started Googling things about you know, different surfaces of pools, and how to manage the water chemistry and all that type of stuff. First thing that came up was this forum in America that is managed by like a pool franchise, you know, where you can get your water tested. Basically, they had a category for every aspect of pools and it was just fantastic. Not that I’m going to be able to buy from them because they’re over there but it was just a… I just thought what a great marketing plan that they have, being just incredibly helpful.
James: Yeah. I think the, the thing you have to be careful with, though is it’s got to be moderated if it’s free or liable to lunatics, there’s all sorts of spamming software and stuff. Everyone has their own agenda, so it’s good to have a controlled environment in terms of the rules. And make sure it’s a safe place for people. They’re not going to get ripped off for bad information. I’ve seen some very funny forums like conspiracy theory forums. I was doing a little bit of research lately because on the airplane recently, I watched the documentary about the smoking gun of JFK and an Australian detective who solved who shot JFK and used all the material that’s now available, that’s been released from secrecy and has worked on the back of someone else’s ballistic reports, etc. And it’s very clear to me and to anyone watching the documentary that his situation is the most likely scenario. But to see, when I was looking at it, it’s funny to see, it’s like, some pet owners or parents, you know, you almost shouldhave a permit to be able to participate in some of these places because there’s, you know, some very random people out there.
Tim: Absolutely. Well, they are good. Listeners, if you want to join, here’s a plug, you want to join Jimmy’s forum. Jimmy, it’s SuperFastBusiness.com?
James: Yes. SuperFastBusiness.com/membership is where it’s all happening there and where’s your one, Timbo?
Tim: SmallBusinessBigMarketing.com and you just hit the forum button and you can watch me on video getting up to all sorts of ridiculous tricks. No, that’s not true, I just explain what the forum is all about.
James: Do you juggle?
Tim: What’s that?
James: Do you juggle or something?
Tim: I wouldn’t mind juggling. I reckon it’s good for your brain.
James: It is.
Tim: Hey Jimmy, let’s talk story. That’s what today’s episode is all about and I do love this topic. The idea of any business owner out there, online or offline, getting clear about your story. I know you’ve done some work in recent months, getting clear on your story. What does that mean to you?
James: Well, I think… to me, I think it’s just the way that people like to communicate and it’s engaging and interesting and we’re prewired to listen to stories even around the campfire. If you went out into the middle of Australia, you’d see that the indigenous people will be teaching the next generations through story, through traditions and rituals and you know, combined with dancing and painting and stuff. This can, you know, transcend an iPad for for longevity. So, it’s a really interesting way to share business information in a non-salesy, non-hypey way.
So what I’ve especially been working lately is making sure I stay in touch with my audience with emails and I’m trying to make them a lot more interesting and kind of fun to open and read and increase that relationship that I’m having with my audience and to share more about myself. And this sort of ties in with being vulnerable. It’s OK to be vulnerable. You’ll get rewarded for that because people realize you’re human and they bond with you. They don’t want someone that’s all too perfect and shiny. They would like people for their real true self. So, a lot of the emails I send, I’ve been putting a personal story and relating it back to whatever I’m sharing with them in the email. And it’s fun to come up with the way. It also kind of happened by accident.
The other week, something happened, a real intervention that was powerful and that was when I went surfing with my friend Walter, I was relaying to him what happened to me that day. When I got home, this email came through from Walter and it was my story relayed back to me in the form of an email. The subject line was “8:33 AM, I was sitting there with my pants around my ankles.” I’m like, “What?” And then the story said, you know, I was, I was down at the surf club on the public toilet going through my morning rituals. Yeah. Just kind of annoyed that I had to be in the situation because my son had put paper towel into the toilet instead of toilet paper because he thought we’d run out. Although, we had stuff, but I hadn’t left a spare roll. So it blocked up of course. And as inconvenient as it was… and then it segued into my live event and said, it just reminded me that, you know, I’m such in a better position than many business owners and all business owners really need to do is access people who know what they’re talking about and they can do that by coming into my live event and so it was a segue through that. And he goes, “I know you won’t send it but I just thought it was hilarious.” Because I literally paddled out to the surf, I went, “Oh Walter, you won’t believe this, 8:33 this morning, I’m sitting on that toilet over there, pants around my ankles, thinking bloody hell, wish I’d put that toilet paper in you know.” He’s a copywriter so he took that and yeah, he finessed it a little bit and it’s a 100% true story and I got such a reaction. Of course, I sent it. I’m like, “Of course, I’m sending it, I’ll do it.”
And what happened was apart from making sales to the event I had literally more than 200 people reply back to me saying, “Best subject line ever” and “Fantastic story” and all the copywriters on my list are like, “Awesome one.” So, I was on my way to New Orleans to present a story about Underground, my forum from Underground 4 to Underground 10 and to fill in the gaps of how I utilized that event, and I actually changed my first slide, I illustrated by hand on an iPad me sitting there on a public toilet with pants around my ankles. And I made that my first slide and I started with that and the whole audience would sort of lean forward with this, “Is he really saying what I think he is saying or…?”
Tim: So where was the relevance of showing that slide, telling that story at Underground?
James: It’s the exact same point.
Tim: Ah, OK.
James: It’s like, as bad as you might think things are, there’s plenty of people out there who are having a worse time and thank goodness you’re sitting here at Underground because all the experts over the next two days or three days are about to share with you the stuff that’s working for them and you can access this right now. The whole point of my presentation was how you can really use the information at a live event and put it into play and have a better business. So, it was perfect. It was really just substitute my event for the next event and I got the same point across. But I also wanted to get attention, I wanted to break through the clutter, and you do that with story.
Tim: Yeah, you do. And boy, you know, this is not new. I think we’ve forgotten, many business owners have forgotten about this because we’re so keen to get our… Like really, I mean Gary Vaynerchuk’s most recent book, it just keeps coming up and up and up, in so many different ways in regards to the marketing of a business for me. Like jab, jab, jab, right hook – the jab’s the story. The jab is the giving. And every now and then, you’ve got a right hook, which is the ask.
James: Well, you got to have the right hook, right Timbo?
Tim: Well, you do, Jimmy.
James: Like, that’s the trap, things like our podcast. There are a lot of jabs, but it’s good to put the right hook in there. I have no qualms about suggesting people join our forums because they’re going to get access to us and all the wonderful, lovely people who’ve decided to come on that mission with us, the community and they’re investing in themselves. That’s the thing. You never have to feel bad about that. But the real point here is that you’re right, stories are not new but too few people are actually utilizing them. You get very dry, boring, crappy emails from companies and I know you’re always posting fantastic marketing case studies from everywhere you go. People who are breaking that, breaking that paradigm and doing some cool stuff.
Tim: Well, the problem – no, it’s not actually a problem – the reason we get so much dry marketing sent to us is because it’s easy. It’s easy to write rational stuff. It’s easy to list the features of a product. It’s actually harder to turn those features into benefits, and it’s even harder to promote those benefits via story because it requires creativity. And if you got out on the street and asked 10 people whether they think they’re creative or not, you might get one or two say yes. But in actual fact, as human beings, A) we’re emotional, in nature, like first and foremost, we are emotional. Emotions help us remember. And secondly, we absorb information… we buy on emotion. We don’t buy a Mac because it’s got the most beautiful gray, metal casing. We buy because it makes us feel better. You know? You look at any purchase decision you make, there will be emotional words that you use in the language, and…
James: Well I just did that the other day. I was buying a new surfboard and the reason I needed a smaller surfboard for when the waves are very big and I’ve improved so that’s fine. But when I was there, I did see a very nice large surfboard but I already had a large surfboard. So, of course, naturally I went home and I sold my large surfboard within about 20 minutes. I went back to the store the next day and said, “I’m here for that big surfboard,” and it’s exactly the same length, 8 foot 6, same length. And then the guy that supplied my first board, he sent me an email, he says, “Is everything OK?” I’m like, it was, I said, “It’s fantastic.” This first surfboard was amazing. It served me beautifully. For my first few months surfing, I’ve ridden it everyday. It was faultless. I’m very happy with the purchase. I’ve sold it because I wanted to get a board with soul. I wanted a board that was shaped by someone who surfs. An Aussie shaper with an American-Hawaiian traditional brand. And, you know, for just a little bit more, relatively speaking, to have a board with soul that’s shaped by an Aussie and built by an Hawaiian thing versus a Chinese board that’s sort of made by a machine that’s a copy of something else… Like, I’m not driving a Hyundai and I’m not wearing a $2 watch. I want a…
Tim: But you’re still dressed by Rivers, aren’t you?
James: Don’t say such things. Rivers.
Tim: Overseas listeners, you’ve got to Google “Rivers.”
James: No offense to any Rivers wearers. I’m generally barefoot and I do wear Havaianas so it’s not about the amount. It’s about the feeling, and it’s about the emotion. But there’s a story behind this surfboard, you see. This guy was absolutely a legend. He really pioneered and developed all these longboard stuff. And then after he passed away, one of the only guys in the whole world who worked for him is now in Byron Bay and shapes the boards and can still do it under that brand name and…
Tim: So you wanted to be part of that story? You bought into that story?
James: I bought into the story and I took it out for its first run and as soon as I caught the first wave, it just felt magical. It could be placebo effect but the good surfer lady, she said to me that a lot of surfing is mental. It’s mostly mindset about fear, about how you feel about your board and your gear and your ability and stuff but it just felt 10 times better. I felt it had soul and it was a slightly different design. It was just amazing to take it up a notch so that emotional purchase, it makes me feel good. That’s why I make the purchase. It’s not even about the money. I didn’t even ask how much it was until we had, until I had to go. It was like the last thing. We already waxed it, put the fins on, everything, and the amount of emotion that this guy who was helping with the wax, he was almost in tears when we’re waxing this board because he’s… I said, “Could you show me how to do this? I feel like a kid stealing your Christmas present.” “You should wax the board but I’ll show you how.” And, you know, he showed me how lightly he waxed it. I’ll tell you something funny about it later on, by the way…
Tim: You have lost the… Surfing has got you. Which is kind of funny, because you spent years surfing the Web, but now you’re surfing waves, finally.
James: Let me just finish this off. So, my old board, the guy who bought it lends it to Ezra. Ezra comes around to pick it up and I said, “I have some waxy for you.” Ezra grabs the waxy, he just like scribbles across the board. The guy down the shop would have had a heart attack but it’s funny. It’s funny how everyone has different emotions around stuff.
Tim: Yeah, yeah. Correct. We’ll just finish that conversation around creativity too, because I mean if you are, what we are suggesting is, as business owners, you should be off creating stories around your business. And there’s a number of different stories that you could be creating, but one is, really finding analogies in order to sell what you’ve got. Pulling analogies, like things that have happened recently.
James: And that worked well for Jesus.
Tim: It worked really well for Jesus. Yeah.
James: Really worked. And that’s like, it’s one of the bestselling messages really. If you can pull a crowd of 2 billion people, you know, then you’ve got a strong technique. That’s why I studied all of the different religious texts when I started selling from 1995. I went and ordered all the different books and I even got Dianetics and they still send me direct response mail now. Can you believe it? It’s like nearly 20 years? It’s phenomenal.
Tim: They deserve an interview.
James: No, you check out the documentary about the Scientologists. Fascinating.
Tim: Oh, yeah. Check out the YouTube video of Tom Cruise speaking at the Scientology convention. You want to see wacky…
James: Well, there’s actually a better Youtube video of the son of L. Ron, who does a routine and a singing performance.
James: I’ll see if I can find it and we can put it near this episode or maybe we’ve already done that, I can’t remember.
Tim: Hey Jimmy, just on it, there’s numbers of stories to be told, one of the first stories… if this is freaking you out, listeners, is your “Why” story. Like why do you do what you do. And I find that really useful as a pitching tool.
James: Yeah. There’s a whole book about the stories, right? Valerie Khoo?
Tim: I bet you Valerie Khoo wrote a book called “Power Stories.” Great book.
James: Yeah. It’s like the eight stories you need to have in your business.
Tim: Yep, yep. And Simon Sinek kind of packaged up the whole “why” thing really well with his TED talk where he talked about the golden circle and in the middle, it’s a bullseye. In the middle is “why,” then outside the why is “what,” and then outside that is the “how,” which is the least important. But the “why,” you know, I was in Singapore a couple of days ago, I caught up with… I went to a business meeting, I gave a one hour keynote and then I went to this business meeting afterwards. And it was with this guy who brought in a bunch of entrepreneurs to sit around a table at this restaurant. He wanted to pitch them the idea… he was basically looking for their support to bring together this live event that he was running in Singapore. And he went around the table, he introduced himself, and then he wanted everyone to go around the table and introduce themselves. At which point, you know that’s… And these were pretty switched-on people, by the way. There were 12 of us sitting around the table and there weren’t that many dummies there, but there was a bit of dribble. But some of the stories that people told, quite succinctly, were cool. You know, they were really cool. Like one guy was a coach, and he called himself the honey bee guy. Now the honey bee guy, I thought he was like in the honey and stuff, but he then drew this analogy, told this story about how many insects want to be like the honey bee, because the honey bee can create honey. Right? This sweet nectar. And there’s some bees that can’t, and flies can’t, but flies want to be like bees and he’s telling this story, and I’m like, I’m into that. Like I understand, exactly. You work with people to show them how to be the honey bee. Cool. So there’s a story there. And one of the stories I like is the why. You know, just hearing people… And one of the things I’m actually doing in my forum next week is one of my members is struggling with getting his why, so we’re going to record a live session with him and just pull it out of him. Because some people don’t think they have a why, but of course we’ve all got a why.
James: Yeah. Whether we’re aware of it or not. I was speaking with Simon Sinek in the Dominican Republic and we were both at an event speaking and he really has latched on to an old idea but made himself super famous around it. Very clever.
Tim: Well, he’s packaged it. All he’s done is packaged it.
James: His presentation was too polished. It was the weirdest thing ever. Speaking to him the night before, just having a drink at the bar, chatting away, the next day I see this guy on stage, I could swear it was a different guy.
Tim: Oh, it’s a pity.
James: It is a shame but I’m like, “Woah, that’s just bizarre.” It’s when people put on their stage face. The irony though. The irony was something else. Wasn’t it? I would have expected him to be the most authentic person.
James: But I’d say he was probably on the run-up. Was that TED talk just very recent?
Tim: No, it was years ago.
James: Oh, he’s just done another one because he posted about it recently.
Tim: Oh, that’s unusual to get invited back a second time. He’s done something right. He knows someone.
James: Yeah. Yeah.
Tim: He might be sleeping with TED.
James: Very cool.
Tim: Just on the why, I’ll give you an example. I’ve been working with a lady who wants to get a podcast. And she’s in the area of work, health and safety. Workplace safety.
Tim: And she’s passionate about it. And she talks at length about her passion for it and how much she loves it. And I thought, OK, well this is really interesting. And the first episode, I thought, in that first episode, it would be really interesting to share her passion, her “why,” right? So when I asked her about her why, the first time, it was “Because I love it.” Her answer was, “Because I love it. I really love it. I love helping businesses get their workplaces safe, so people don’t get hurt.” I was like, “Really?” Really? Like, I’ve heard that before, in many different industries, so that’s not the why. You know, what’s the real truth? I’m looking for the truth. And anyway, after a bit of a discussion, we got it to the point that her dad had actually been injured, lost some toes, in a workplace health and safety incident. She had another friend, who had broken his back, in the workplace. And she had another couple of stories about people she knew being badly injured at work. I was like, now we’re talking. Now we are talking.
James: And it’s also worth checking on your why as well. Because I had such a strong why, like when I was 24 and about to have our first kid. I basically just got stuck in the work drone mode for the next 20 years and… or maybe 15, 15 years. I have reassessed my why’s lately that’s why I’m, that’s why I’m more interested in getting fit, in having fun, in living and only working on passion projects. So a lot of, I don’t have all the same situation that I had 20 years ago. I now no longer have babies to worry about. I’ve got a lot more flexibility and freedom. And, so it’s good to just recalibrate and say, OK, now, what’s my why? Because this is like the next 20 years or the next 40 years really. Technically, I’ve probably put in another 40 years so it’s good to just recalibrate from time to time.
Tim: Yeah. So that’s a good story to tell.
James: If you get caught in the machine it’s hard. So stories are a really good way to stand out. I remember some guy, I went to do an accounting course, of all things, in 1989 and yeah. This guy got up, we had to introduce ourselves, he goes, “My name’s Andrew and I restored a car by hand over the last 18 months piece by piece. I also collect pieces from the Berlin wall.” He made it all up but I still remember it now. It was just so unusual. You don’t hear stuff like that very often.
Tim: Yeah, well exactly right. I mean, make it up… fake it till you make it, isn’t that what they say?
James: I’ve heard some very different things. I was interviewing a guest yesterday and he pretty much told me that the reason he’s successful is because the Lord envisioned it for him and informed him through someone else and it just… that’s why. And he’s even an engineer. So, wow. I would not have expected that to come out at the call but it was really interesting. Such a rich tapestry out there that you might think your story is boring to everyone else but probably it’s different because we do tend to take different paths and turns.
Tim: Yeah, and practice your story. Like get your story right around why you have a particular service or why you have started that business, or why you’re doing something particular in your business or why you stock that product. Find that emotional story. There’ll be one. It’s very unusual for there not to be one. So tell it. And then try it on people.
James: And it’s so easy to test, especially like when you go to the hairdresser during the week, like on a Friday.
Tim: You wouldn’t be there too often.
James: Oh thanks, mate. I actually go fairly often. I go there every two weeks and I actually just get one. I just like to keep it trim. So, but, if you go on a Friday, they’ll say, “thank goodness it’s Friday.” I’m like, “why do you say that?” They go, “because the weekend is coming.” Oh right. And then they’re like, “Do you work?” But if you go on a Monday morning or like 10 o’clock, they’re like, “Oh, have you got a day off?” You know, that’s just an inroad for any, you could say, “Technically I got the rest of my life off.” Or you could say, “I don’t really have a traditional sort of 9-5 job.” And you can always lead with a little bread crumb and they want more and then more and then more. You can end up selling them social media services for their salon or whatever, like a website. It’s so easy to do if you have a good, intriguing story. Put lots of surprise and interest in there and make it, make it change a little bit here and there. That’s what I’m enjoying learning from the comedian is how you can lead somewhere and then change direction all of a sudden. It surprises people and they’re really intrigued and it’s fun and exciting and they want to keep on the journey.
Tim: Well, comedians are masters at storytelling.
James: But that’s what… our whole new podcast is just stories, there’s no premise at all other than it’s heartfelt and there’s no hype. That’s our premise. But it’s just stories. It’s really that general and it’s in the comedy section so we have, I’m really learning from a master. Someone who actually prepares routines, and performs and has done straight performance and we do a little framework before the call of topics we want to talk about and we may hit them but we generally don’t. It’s probably a podcast with the most unfinished open loops ever in the history of man because once we get on a rabbit hole, we just keep going because there is no required ending and then we just stop. But so far, it’s been a very enjoyable experience but what he is able to do is keep looping us back to our core thread throughout the whole thing. We find out our funny point and then we keep hitting it.
Tim: What’s it called, Jimmy?
James: And when I say “we” – “he,” because he’s the funny one. It’s called Kicking Back.
Tim: Kickin’ Back.
James: Yeah. With the ‘G’. Kicking.
Tim: And the comedian’s name is?
James: His name is Joel Ozborn.
Tim: Jolly Ozborn.
James: Yeah. Joel Ozborn.
Tim: Call him Ozzy.
James: He’s performing at my event and I sent him an email the other because I’m speaking to the staging, you know about lights and microphone and I sent him, I CC’d him and said, “Hey Joel, is there anything you need for my event? He goes, “Yeah. New material.” So, he’s quite surprising at all turns. So this, the story thing is good to try. It’d be really interesting to hear if listeners have tried anything, maybe not as brazen as my pants around my ankles thing…
Tim: But why not?
James: But why not, exactly? There was no doubt. I don’t think I had a single complaint. I didn’t make sales but I reconnected with a lot of, I learned who’s reading my emails but never pops up because they all hit reply this time. And it’s great when you get an applause for your email. Like this is a marketing email and you know, hundreds of people saying, “Great email.” Like, yeah. I feel good that I’m connecting well with my audience and I’m serving them with stuff that they actually look forward to reading.
Tim: Well, just to wrap up the whole storytelling, there’s literally a day’s course we could do on this, but the reality is that in the world of marketing we’re all listening to this show because we own businesses and we all want to be heard, we want our product or service to stand above the rest. I always use this phrase, sticking your head above the trench. Just remind yourself as a consumer how much marketing you’re hit with every day. You know, how many sales messages you are confronted with. Buy now. Closing soon. Offer ends. You wake up in the morning to commercial radio. You go on to the breakfast table, there’s the newspaper. You drive to work, you got the radio on, there’s billboards. You stop at the supermarket, there’s 60,000 products screaming for your attention. It goes on. And hardly any of them, 0.1 percent of any of that I listed involves storytelling. Because they all want the sale. They all want to just get in there for the right hook. But if you tell a story, you’re going to be noticed. You’re going to carve out a little bit of space where people are going to sit up and pay attention. So it’s worth maybe going in and saying “I am creative. I didn’t think I used to be but the next month I am going to be creative and start crafting out some stories around the business.”
James: What’s your most memorable story, Timbo?
Tim: What, like in life?
Tim: Related to my business?
James: Just pick. I’ll give you open slather here. Something that strikes out.
Tim: That’s a massive question.
James: That’s a huge one. It’s a whopper.
Tim: Yeah, it’s a whopper, man. There’s no context to it.
James: OK. Let me do this. I’ll rephrase this, right? What was the newest episode you’ve recorded for Small Business, Big Marketing podcast that you may have just published today or you’re going to publish soon?
Tim: The one that goes out next week is with a fellow called Glenn, and he owns Brisbane Tree Services, and he had some real trials and tribulations buying the business from his dad…
James: OK. So…
Tim: …which was really interesting.
James: How will you frame the email that you send out to your audience because you’re going to send out an email for this podcast.
Tim: Right, which I haven’t been doing.
James: What, yeah, that you must be doing. So, this is the thing. If you start making this a story, people will be really engaged with it even if they get it on their iTunes feed which is probably about half of them but it’s still a nice reminder to go and listen to it. What story could you pull from that interview that ties back to the interview?
Tim: Yeah. Well without trying to craft it, because I’ll need to see it. To me, what piqued my interest and the reason I got him on was because this guy, it was a 30-year-old business that his old man had started, and the whole reason his old man started the business was like many business owners, to feed mouths, to feed the family, but he never wanted to grow it beyond that which was beyond money and growing the business to feed the family. But what Glenn, the son, saw was something much greater. He saw an under-marketed business and he had to kind of somehow sit down with his old man and tell him that the business wasn’t as good as it could be and that he wanted to take it over. And his old man was a pretty harsh bloke, and that wasn’t going to be an easy conversation.
James: So, something that might be a good connector story would be something about the father-son conversation.
James: You know, it was one of those father-son conversations that you never want to have.
James: Something like that.
James: And you could say, and then you could put a personal Timbo story there. You know, I remember when I was 7 and I wanted to go down the shop to buy some fish and chips, my dad gave me a dollar and the chips were a dollar twenty and I had to go back home without the chips and explained to Dad. And, you know, that was pretty tough but nothing like as tough as Glenn and “wait till you hear what he had to tell his dad, click here to find out” sort of thing.
Tim: Correct. So always a story. Always a story. Everyone’s got one. It’s one of the things I love about doing Small Business Big Marketing is that whilst the show’s there for people to learn about marketing, in some way, shape or form there’s always a story that my listener has and it’s generally that that I like to pull out before I get to the more kind of rational questions about “So tell me…” You know, like Glenn, one of the things Glenn did was he made a simple change to his website that increased traffic 860 percent. That’s interesting, but you know, we got to that. We did get to that once we got through his more personal story about family businesses. So that in itself kind of raises the question of which story do you pick, because often in a podcast episode like this one, we’ve covered two or three topics. We’ve focused on storytelling, but again it’s like maybe if you split test it…
James: Oh you can certainly split test an email broadcast but here’s the thing, the one that got me 200-plus replies, that’s the one I’m sticking into my presentation. It’s been already split tested. It’s already been tested and proven as engaging and overwhelmingly positive feedback.
Tim: I’ll give you another example. With my one particular keynote around content marketing that I present, and it’s probably my most popular, is that in the gut of it, I have generally anywhere between five and 10 case studies of businesses cranking out some really interesting content marketing, and the results they’re getting from it. And I generally have put that in the middle, and I’ve preceded it with a discussion around identifying the problem. You know, why businesses aren’t getting noticed and offering up the solution of content marketing and how you go about it. And then I give the case studies. I’ve started to bring the case studies forward, and it’s the very first thing. It’s like, let me show you some businesses that are creating some really amazing marketing. And I go straight into that. And that’s the storytelling part. That’s where I can tell the story about, because I know half the businesses anyway, so I can tell that story.
James: That would be a good webinar topic as a lead into your business forum community. Like, “7 case studies you can learn a lot about business from” and run it as an educational thing and explain to people they can go and get another four inside the community and your help, your personal help.
Tim: Yep. Yeah, nice. Story, story, story, Jimmy.
Tim: Well, mate, I reckon that would be a wrap. You have an event to run, you’ve got FastWebFormula 5 in two weeks’ time? You’ve got a wave to catch. You have got your pants to pull back up around your waist, where they should be.
James: They’re certainly up, mate. Don’t for a second think I’m running this podcast with my pants down.
Tim: Aww, mate, I thought these were no-pants podcasts. Just hang on. Oh, they’re no shoes.
James: They’re no-shoes podcasts. Yeah. Yeah.
Tim: Sorry listeners, I’ll put some pants on next time. Because I was completely under the impression…
Tim: You must have tricked me. Because you remember, early days, you said, like, we’ll do these no pants, because it will give us a different, funny vibe.
James: What did I do with what you’re talking about? You’re a strange man, Timbo. But I love your work.
Tim: I love your work, Jimmy. Hey, listeners, thanks for tuning in, I hope there was something there to help grow your business online. That was Jimmy James Schramko, from SuperFastBusiness.com, and I am Timbo Reid from SmallBusinessBigMarketing.com. This has been Freedom Ocean and it comes out every now and then, unlike the swell, which is consistently on the 12-hour mark.
James: See you mate.
Tim: Is that right?
James: I have no idea. It’s either big or small.
Tim: Yeah, yeah, whatever. See you, Jimmy.
James: See ya.