Storytellers Are the Best New Marketers


The art of storytelling is getting a modern makeover as a powerful integrated marketing tool.

From crowd-funding sites that provide a forum for sharing investor-enticing narratives, to companies that demonstrate their value by exploring how people use their products in everyday life and work, storytelling has morphed from bedtime to boardroom — just ask Raven + Lily’s integrated marketing team.

As MarketingSherpa reporter Erin Hogg detailed, this social enterprise shifted to a storytelling content style in its ecommerce strategy, achieving a four-fold lift in year-over-year sales.

Through this metamorphosis, Raven + Lily took several steps to engage customers better. You can modify these easy-to-conduct steps to bump up the power of your own company’s storytelling and delivery, too.

Analyze Site Elements through the Eyes of the Customer. The team looked at its revamped ecommerce site as a customer for the first time, instead of staff members familiar with the inventory already. To help their customers see the value in the products offered, the team updated product descriptions, offered sizing charts and increased the size of product images.

Incorporate Stories of Artisans. The core element of Raven + Lily is its focus on the women who are producing the products. In the product descriptions, Raven + Lily includes stories about the artisans, including their pictures. Click here to see the full version of this creative sample. Hogg reports that the company incorporates other integrated marketing elements as well, such as a card with the artisan’s photo and story in each shipment. Click here to see the full version of this creative sample.

Improve the Checkout Process. During the revamp of the site, Raven + Lily improved several elements to provide a smoother purchasing experience by:

  • Adding product images of items in the cart to help shoppers see exactly what they are purchasing and ensure they have the right items
  • Reducing the number of pages into one accordion-style checkout page with sections that expand and collapse as a user goes through the purchase
  • Building more clarity into the process, such as displaying accepted credit cards
  • Including the option to purchase with PayPal

Upgrade Search Functionality. The team also optimized the on-site search bar by implementing a search app so users could search products with ease. The return results show categories instead of single product, allowing users to see a full range of matching items.

Now for the Happy Ending

Since implementing the revamped ecommerce site, Raven + Lily has experienced a four-fold, year-over-year in sales, with online sales between 2012 and 2014 increasing 150 percent. According to Hogg’s case study, Raven + Lily attributes this success to thinking like their customers and bringing a storytelling element to their products.

For other ideas on how to use storytelling in your own marketing efforts, go to our library, which includes:

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