Last week at Entrepreneurship 101, Mark Evans of ME Consulting gave a talk on marketing communications and business-to-consumer sales. Sharing key lessons from his successes and failures in startup marketing, Mark broke down the essentials of marketing strategy and shared advice on how to use storytelling to transform the way you, your team and your business grow.

If you learn the following five elements to startup storytelling early on, there’s a good chance that you will build long-term trust and meaningful relationships with your customers and get people to really love what you make.

1. Be customer-centric

There are many dynamics to being a new business owner and prioritizing what is most important can be incredibly difficult. Often entrepreneurs and startup teams become so product-centric and focused on execution that they forget to develop a shared vision for the problem they’re trying to solve. Having a common understanding of your product’s story and aligning that story with your customers’ problems is worth your focus.

2. Be willing to listen

Listen and empathize with your customers. Ask questions about the problems that they need solved and take the time to understand exactly what their needs are to establish whether your business is a good fit. Armed with all of the necessary information, you will have the confidence to present your story as a solution to their problems.

3. Be flexible and agile

Recognize opportunities to tell your story. Consider different approaches and craft an interesting storyline that can drive coverage and lead to opportunities to discuss how your product solves a customer’s needs. It could be your unique set of data that tells a great story and fits in with current news or trends.

4. Have personality

Personality matters, especially for startups and small companies. It’s likely that competing companies are doing something very similar to—if not exactly the same as—what you’re doing. In your story, use your personality to attract customers and start your movement.

5. Be committed and courageous

Commit to experiment with marketing. At the core, startups are organizations that are formed to conduct experiments. Experiment with your story and identify the best way to tell it, changing the method, style or channels often. Write, ship, test and measure, and keep going. Figure out where and when to conduct marketing experiments and ask questions about how people find your product and what they tell their friends about it. Ask questions, stay open to experimentation, and continue to evolve your story.

Combining these five storytelling elements can help you build, market and sell your product. Watch Mark’s entire talk below to gain all of his insights, stories and tips about how and where to invest time and energy in marketing your startup.

Recommended reading from Mark’s talk:


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Aislinn Malszecki

Aislinn is a strategist, designer and education producer for entrepreneurs that seek practical lessons to grow their startup companies.See more…