In the quest to captivate and connect with their audiences, we gathered insights from eighteen small business marketing experts, including e-commerce business owners and marketing directors. They delve into techniques ranging from sharing personal stories to build trust to revealing behind-the-scenes business dynamics. Discover these compelling storytelling strategies that have truly resonated with customers. Here’s why the art of storytelling is important in small business marketing:

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  • Share Personal Stories to Build Trust
  • Inspire with Customer Success Stories
  • Connect Through Shared Family Values
  • Highlight Customer Challenges and Solutions
  • Engage with Interactive Storytelling
  • Create Relatable Characters in Narratives
  • Demonstrate Expertise with Insightful Stories
  • Employ Short-Form Video Storytelling
  • Embrace Vulnerability in Marketing
  • Celebrate Happy Customer Micro-Moments
  • Personalize Brand with Company Culture
  • Use Second-Person Narratives for Engagement
  • Tell a Resonant Founding Story
  • Focus on Mission, Uniqueness, and Impact
  • Inject Humor into Industry Narratives
  • Evoke Emotions with Nostalgic Stories
  • Enhance Stories with Visual Elements
  • Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Business Dynamics

Share Personal Stories to Build Trust

Tell your own stories, both good and bad. People are hard-wired to pay attention to stories, so we automatically want to enjoy them. I recommend this to my email marketing students, and I do it myself regularly.

For example, a few years ago, my cat died suddenly. I was beyond distraught, and yet, I had an email I needed to write to my list. So, I wrote about losing my cat and how hard it was to deal with because I still had a business to run. I received many sympathetic responses from my subscribers, which was gratifying, but not necessarily why I wrote the email. What I wanted to do was show the human side of running a small business and dealing with the weird and hard stuff life throws your way.

People want to buy from people they know and like. When you share aspects of your “real life” with your customers and potential customers, it strengthens that relationship and shows that you’re human, not just another “faceless business.” It builds trust and understanding, which will result in more sales and more loyal customers, as well as some good friends.

Tanya Brody, Direct Response Copywriter and Email Marketing Consultant, Tanya Brody 

Inspire with Customer Success Stories

Show the before and after to inspire your prospect. When you show the problems your successful customers solved with your solution, then you can inspire others that it can work for them, too. For example, pretend you sell business-automation software for dog groomers to digitize their scheduling and automate welcome emails and reminders. 

You can talk to some successful customers and share examples of how it has streamlined their business and boosted revenue. When potential customers see how implementing this software can reduce no-shows by 90% for a revenue increase of $45,000 per groomer over the year, they’re going to want your product.

Jennifer Phillips April, Copywriter and Content Strategist, Write Words Marketing 

Connect Through Shared Family Values

Being a small, family-owned business, family is very important to us, and most of our customers have families. In a recent marketing campaign, we talked about our business trip to Africa. 

Instead of solely focusing on the business side of it, we also talked about how this was the first trip that my father, brother, and I took together. Much of it was about how we worked together, the experiences we had, and how lucky we were to be able to do something like this together, especially with my father now in his 70s. 

Most of the feedback we received wasn’t about the items we brought back, but about how they wish they could do the same thing with their family and how they love working with a company that values this sort of thing. It was very eye-opening.

Jeff Michael, Ecommerce Business Owner, Moriarty’s Gem Art

Highlight Customer Challenges and Solutions

Telling the story of our customers has been an incredibly powerful tool that brings us closer to our audience. Our stories focus on a struggle or challenge, because there always is one that drives customers to find our product in the first place. Those stories create a sense of camaraderie among readers who can relate and serve as a great jumping-off point to share how we worked through those challenges together.

The business world can be tough and lonely at times, and our stories show our potential business clients that they’re not alone.

James Delapa, Director of Digital Marketing, Wrike

Engage with Interactive Storytelling

Instead of just stating my stories, I leverage interactive story points as an approach to marketing our small enterprise online. This could be simple polls, quizzes, or even choose-your-own-adventure-style social media posts based on the brand. 

This interaction not only tightens the relationship between my brand and the audience but also makes our narratives very engaging and enjoyable. It turns passive listeners into active participants and nurtures a sense of co-creation with the audience. This strategy has not only been appealing to my audience but also created a distinctive and memorable space for small businesses in consumers’ minds.

Sanket Shah, Founder, The Opal

Create Relatable Characters in Narratives

In my experience, one storytelling technique that has consistently resonated with my audience in small-business marketing is the use of relatable characters. By creating characters that embody the challenges, aspirations, and emotions of our target audience, we are able to forge a deeper connection with them. These characters serve as the protagonists in our brand’s narrative, allowing our audience to see themselves in the story and feel emotionally invested in our message. 

Whether it’s a struggling entrepreneur overcoming obstacles or a customer finding success with our product, these relatable characters help us humanize our brand and make it more relatable. This storytelling technique not only captures the attention of our audience but also inspires them to take action, as they see themselves as the hero of their own story and our brand as the catalyst for their success.

Dave Kerr, Advertising Specialist, Merged Dental Marketing

Demonstrate Expertise with Insightful Stories

I established my brand as a thought leader in my industry by sharing stories that demonstrate expertise and insights. I offered valuable perspectives on industry trends, challenges, and solutions. 

This technique positions my brand as a trusted source of information and builds authority within my niche. By consistently providing thought-provoking content, I attracted an audience looking for valuable insights and guidance in my industry.

Roman Zrazhevskiy, Founder and CEO, MIRA Safety

Employ Short-Form Video Storytelling

We’ve been using short-form video storytelling in our marketing. As a tech startup, we’ve found video marketing to be really effective for this purpose. It shows we’re keeping up with the latest trends, which helps us connect with our target audience, mainly millennials and Gen Zs.

In my experience, using videos for storytelling is a modern way to promote a business. Young people like brands that stay current with cultural trends because it shows the brand is relevant and adaptable. The world of video content is always changing, with new features like live videos, stories, and filters. This allows us to move past old ways of telling stories. 

For a tech company like ours, video marketing is crucial. It lets us showcase our tech knowledge and new ideas in a way that’s exciting and easy to watch.

Precious Abacan, Marketing Director, Softlist

Embrace Vulnerability in Marketing

Apply vulnerability within the story. Businesses often have unnecessary pressure to project a perfect picture in their marketing. However, accepting vulnerability and applying it to your marketing strategy can be a powerful technique. It does not mean airing your dirty laundry or opening a door for competitive exploitation. Instead, it shows your audience the human behind the brand—the struggles that shaped your journey and commitment to the values that drive the company. 

We worked with a local coffee shop, and instead of only sharing their delicious varieties of coffee and cozy seats, we also shared the owner’s story. How she quit her well-paying corporate job to focus on her dream, videos of her at late hours perfecting her roasts, etc. The results were a surge in positive online reviews and a 17% increase in foot traffic. The market is full of polished marketing, and with people desiring genuineness, using vulnerability in storytelling can be the magnet that draws your audience in.

Valerie Lavska, CMO, Promodo

Celebrate Happy Customer Micro-Moments

Besides selling products, we try to capture the small, short, but memorable experiences our customers get from our products. We share stories about the thrill and excitement our customers feel when they hold their first air rifle alongside an experienced firearm holder, or when a seasoned hunter experiences a successful and responsible hunt. 

These happy micro-moments are not tell-tale stories. They are genuine moments of happiness, satisfaction, and joy from the lives of our customers, derived from’s products that help us connect with our audience emotionally. At the end of these moments, we share a positive message to leave a lasting impression. 

These happy moments humanize our brand by showing Ammo is more than a business. It shows we are their fellow firearms enthusiasts who cherish their happy moments as much as they do.

Alex Horsman, Head of Marketing,

Personalize Brand with Company Culture

Showcasing company culture is one powerful storytelling technique that has resonated with our small-business marketing efforts. This is because it goes beyond product offerings and personalizes your brand, helping customers connect to the real people behind the products they’re buying. 

Frame compelling stories that champion your company culture by sharing your employees’ stories, passions, and how their work contributes to the company’s mission. Also, develop content that demonstrates your commitment to shared values like work-life balance, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. Then, focus on more than just product feedback by also asking customers about their interactions with your team. Did they experience exceptional customer service? Was there a specific employee who went above and beyond?

By doing these things and sharing them with the world, you give customers a more personal connection to your brand that fosters greater loyalty than boring corporate-speak.

Nicole Gabrail, Marketing Coordinator, Achievable

Use Second-Person Narratives for Engagement

We mainly use the second-person point of view in our web writing. This is an intentional, strategic storytelling decision on our end because our goal is to make it easy for users to envision themselves using our services. We paint real-world scenarios on how they can apply our services in their business, and we zero in on our target audience so that our message will resonate perfectly with our audience avatar.

Another storytelling approach we use is to position ourselves as the authority in what we do. We emphasize our size and reach as Denmark’s biggest online marketing and web agency. By staking ourselves as the best in the industry, we create a sense of sophistication and mastery so that clients come to us instead of vice versa.

Luciano Bellacci, Head of Marketing, Group Online

Tell a Resonant Founding Story

As a professional journalist turned entrepreneur, I know that before your story can be read, your audience must present themselves. The story of anyone’s business needs to resonate with your audience. Unfortunately, we all share the story of COVID, from the surprise and pain to the challenges and even some eventual positive outcomes. Telling our story of how and why we founded the company has had a solid impact on our marketing efforts. 

Our story begins during COVID, when our family was among the millions saddened by the forced isolation of our elderly. This world was our grandmother’s family and, at that time, her growing family. Her grandchildren were having babies, and there was nothing more precious to her, ever. This isolation was further affected by her very limited tech skills. She could not use a smartphone, computer, or basically any such tools to bring us into her safe room. We needed to fix this. 

Our skills, and especially our determination, created the prototype of the product we proudly promote today. We cobbled one together, loading this new video book with the sights and delightful sounds of her grand- and great-grandchildren. Her receipt of and messages back confirmed what we knew from the start: that she and thousands of others would benefit from our Heirloom Video Book. 

Our story is front and center on our product’s webpage and shared directly with customers daily. They bond immediately to this message of a family business created from a family-centered mission.

Ashley Kenny, Co-Founder, Heirloom Video Books

Focus on Mission, Uniqueness, and Impact

In my small business, storytelling focuses on three core elements. First, it conveys the mission of the business, providing a clear understanding of its purpose. Second, it highlights unique aspects that differentiate it from competitors. Finally, it illustrates the impact of customer support on the business, clarifying what they’ll be supporting if they end up working with me.

Taylor Scher, SEO Consultant, TaylorScherSEO

Inject Humor into Industry Narratives

We try to have some fun with the topics we work on and the industry we’re involved in, which can be overly complicated and—admittedly—rather boring. So, through the use of GIFs, fun animated videos, and more, we’re trying to stand out a bit more as a company.

Humor, animation, and fun are specific ways we can tell a story or prove a point. We’re attempting to do it where we can in our marketing techniques.

James Parker, Co-Founder, LEONID

Evoke Emotions with Nostalgic Stories

Tap into nostalgia by sharing stories that evoke cherished memories or experiences from the past. I connected my brand with feelings of nostalgia, making it relatable and emotionally resonant. 

This technique can be particularly effective when targeting audiences who have a strong emotional connection to certain eras or trends. By triggering nostalgic emotions, I created a sense of familiarity and emotional attachment to my brand.

David Gaglione, Founding Partner, PS212

Enhance Stories with Visual Elements

I’ve found that one of the most effective storytelling techniques is to incorporate visual elements into my marketing efforts. 

People are naturally drawn to images and videos, making them an incredibly powerful way to communicate your message. Whether it’s through social media posts, website design, or even physical flyers and posters, using visually appealing graphics and videos can help tell your brand’s story in a way that words alone can’t. 

This technique has been particularly successful for my business, as it allows me to showcase the personality and values behind my brand, making it more relatable and engaging for my audience.

Keith Sant, CMO, Eazy House Sale

Reveal Behind-the-Scenes Business Dynamics

We like to share what’s going on behind the scenes to help our clients visualize what it would be like to work with us. Our best-performing content shows the dynamic between the two co-founders, the roles we play within the business, and how that translates to the client. 

Interior design work can sometimes take months to complete, so it’s important for us to show our audience the key touch points along the way, whether they are fun, stressful, or somewhere in between.

Kayla Knox, Founder, Organizer and Designer, Design Organize Gather Co.