By Published On: November 7, 2013

The inbox is the only place your company competes against your standard competition, offers from other industries, and messages from family and friends. Everyone vying for the all-important click through.

How do you rise to the top of the inbox? Tell a good story.

Stories delight and entertain. And, most importantly, stories engage our brains. Researchers found reading stories stimulated the same areas of the brain as actually preforming the action. Reading an email about climbing a tower stimulates the brain as if actually climbing the tower.

That’s a fancy way of saying a story puts your readers in the mood.

But how do you craft that story? We’ve got three tips that will have your readers clamoring for more.


1) Find a hero

Every good story needs a hero. So who’s the hero in your story? Here’s a hint. It’s not your brand. It’s your reader. The reader is the hero because he is on a journey to solve a problem. The journey can change—be it a need to accomplish a sale or stay safe in a hazardous environment—but there is always a problem encountered.

Your brand mentors the hero to face his problem and accomplish his journey. For example a financial services company showing a reader how to transfer money via mobile to make a key purchase.

As the mentor, you help the reader reach his goal, and you accomplish your goal of turning that reader into a customer.

Positive feelings all around.


2)   Focus on the possibilities

Many companies focus on the details of a new product or service. How much better or faster or more amazing it is than the competition. Your customers are bombarded with these messages so often they have become meaningless.

Use story to talk about the possibilities of your new product or services. Apple is brilliant at doing this. They never tell you about how much faster their processor is or how many megapixels are crammed in. It’s all people interacting with their products, showing what new and amazing things they can accomplish.

For your next email campaign, don’t tout a 1.2% increase in rewards— show the reader how the miles earned on their credit card translates into a family vacation. This allows your readers to see what’s possible, picture themselves in that situation, and see how their problems will be solved.

That’s a conversion waiting to happen.


3)   Make it new.

Your industry is fast-paced and changes quickly. Do your emails reflect that pace? If you’re recreating the same stories, you can guarantee your email will be lost in a sea of newer, more interesting content.

Craft your story around anticipated customer needs. Quality stories address and solve problems before the reader even knows the problem exists. Examples of this are building a story around how a home equity line of credit can help make a house a home, or the good feelings that happen when someone you love gets what they’ve been wishing for. Your email stories shouldn’t be lengthy, just emotionally compelling.


Take these three steps to stick to the story and you will be well ahead of your inbox competition. Be that an email from an industry rival or an email from grandma.

Contact us for more information and help crafting stories that sell.

About the Author: cat-tonic

Born of curiosity and enthusiasm, we’re a scrappy group of smart, passionate marketers who work hard and play hard. We show up every day and fight for our clients who are making the world a better place. We listen with curiosity, explore deeply, ask hard questions, and sometimes put forth ideas that might make you squirm. Because we believe the status quo is good for growing mold but not much else. The way we see it, change is the way forward and the magic happens when curiosity, math, science, instinct, and talent intersect.
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