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How to Effectively Use Storytelling in Email Marketing

Published on:

Thursday, January 18, 2024

One of the best trends, at least in our opinion, from recent years is the rise in story-based marketing - that is, marketing that strives to tell a story. Far from leaning on direct advertising and the simple identification of problems and solutions, storytelling injects a kind of personality which makes your brand more relatable and trustworthy, and which invites users to engage as well as buy.

Storytelling lends itself to social media where engagement can be just as important as conversion. But how about in email marketing?

Email marketing is, by and large, a platform through which brands can reach out to and retain an open line of communication with both active and inactive customers. It’s a way to remind past buyers about what you sell and how you can benefit them and is a way to introduce yourself and your products / solutions to new and prospective customers.

Storytelling frames this in a way which motivates users, inspires them to learn more, and makes them feel more engaged with the brand. It’s a way of introducing what you sell, without putting them off with direct and “salesy” language.

So, how do you make it work?

Why storytelling works for email specifically?

Storytelling works as a format for email marketing, because it relies heavily on the consistency of email. The very format of an email starts with a subject line that needs to entice users to click - and with so much competition in the form of countless emails from other brands, what better way to stand out than with something compelling and personal.

How to use storytelling in email marketing

What’s more, with email marketing being used as a bridge between different platforms, and as a means of giving customers more information about both the products and the brand, your emails don’t need to work as hard to directly sell. In fact, if anything, what your emails need to do is inspire customers to want to learn more and subsequently click through to your website. And what better way to inspire them to learn more, than by humanising your brand and immersing them into your story.

3 ways to use storytelling in your next email marketing campaign

Now that we know more about the power of stories in creating an email marketing campaign or long term plan, here are five innovative ways to do it…

1. Your brand story

By far the easiest story to tell is the one behind your brand. Why? Because it’s true, and effortlessly humanises your brand to such an extent that customers get to know the motivation behind the brand as well as its business goal.

This can be stretched out into a series, told through the eyes of your founder and other team members, or shared to generate a response from those facing the same problems who are seeking a solution (specifically, your solution).

2. Customer stories and case studies

Reframed as customer stories, your reviews and case studies are a great way to put user-generated content front and centre of your email marketing. Not only does this create an extra layer of trust by relying on the words and opinions of customers, but it makes your brand relatable - especially if you strategise and use customers who stem from your target demographic.

3. Ask the team

People really do buy from people, and the more emphasis you can put on your team members and those who form the heart of your brand, the better in the eyes of modern customers. Everything from your sustainability goals to your small wins, team personalities, and more can be shared through storytelling - with email a great format which invites you to simply chat to your customer base.

The power of email marketing

Email marketing doesn’t have to directly sell, market, or convince customers to buy today. Sure, you might share the odd email with a compelling discount or limited time offer, but for the most part, successful email marketing is there to support other more direct forms of marketing by making your brand one rich with trust and value.

Storytelling allows you to build connections with your audience or customer base, inviting them to learn more about and resonate with your brand. It can, when positioned correctly, make them feel like an exclusive part of your community, and can boost the value of your brand and products exponentially.

In 2024, consider the value of stories in your email marketing - stripping away the sales language and instead inviting your customers to learn more about the brand and why it exists. You might just be surprised by the impact this has on your engagement and conversion.