How Storytelling Can Increase Audience Engagement By 5X

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  • Today I reveal how telling a simple story can grow your sales funnel engagement by 5x
  • Stories are key to engaging with your audience and keeping them interested

Hey guys. Matt Ackerson here, the founder of

Last time you heard from me, I was in Colombia. My girlfriend and I are now back in New York, getting settled and adjusting to beautiful Long Island.

Right now, we’re visiting family. We’ll eventually try to figure out our next move, but for the time being, we’re just enjoying the summer and getting some work done.

An Ah-Ha Moment

I’m actually sitting here with Mariana right now and we’re getting ready to launch the Vookies brand (which is combination of the words Venezuela and cookies).

Right now, we’re just setting up a small initial launch. Our first product for Vookies is an easy, gluten-free cookbook, and it’s going to sell for $9 a pop.

Eventually, this will be the tripwire in the Vookies funnel because it’s a low-dollar value offer we’re selling to consumers and then we’ll probably upsell them on some type of membership offer later on.

Doing all of this got me thinking about helping Mariana edit our introduction email.

It was just a little announcement to our friends and family, and some other people that we’ve met, about the launch of the brand and of our first product. But, as I was reading that email, I realized that it’s much more engaging when you start with a story.

It’s something I always do when I’m editing a landing page, a blog post, or a newsletter.

And so, this tip is all about how to make your emails’ landing pages and blog posts up to five times more engaging.

The Power Of A Story

Five times isn’t a number I’m just pulling out of thin air. I say it because it’s backed up by research done by Buffer.

Back in the day, when they were trying to increase their own engagement, they asked a simple question: “How do we get people to scroll down all the way to the bottom of the page, indicating that they read deeper into the article and they had absorbed more of the information?”

The answer was to start with a story. They found that full-page readers increased by over 296%.

And Buffer aren’t the only ones to tout the power of a story-everyone from The Guardian to Groove have written about it.

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What Makes A Great Story?

Pretty much any book from Jim Collins would be a really great example of this. If you’re not familiar with his work, I recommend you check out “Built to Last,” “Good to Great,” or his more recent book, “Great by Choice.” They’re all research-backed.

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Jim is a former professor at Stanford University, I believe, and he talks about the characteristics of successful companies that have outlasted the competition and that have consistently beat the market.

What makes them different? How do they keep growing? What helps them thrive?

If you’re like me, you’d expect most business books to be quite boring. But Jim’s are different.

Not only did they do great research, but he tells amazing stories about the individuals to highlight the lessons learned.

One story, for example, talks about the CEO of Gillette and how he worked so damn hard his entire life to make it a great company. He talks about how consistent he was, and really highlights the idea of a great sustained leader of a company.

Like him, most great leaders are ambitious-but they always put the company’s needs above their own. You could say they have an iron will.

They don’t showboat. They don’t go on interviews. They don’t brag. They’re more of a workhorse compared to a show horse, if you will.
And Jim draws you in and makes you feel like you really know these people.

Another great example is CGP Grey. CGP Grey is one of my favorite YouTube channels, and what they do is kind of break down different concepts into interesting bite-sized videos.

One of his most recent videos was actually about the concept of death. He wanted to challenge how people actually view death, which is something that is inevitable and inevitably part of human life.

Instead of actually coming out and directly making that argument, he came up with a fictitious story of a dragon that lived on a giant mountain. People had to make a sacrifice every day just to keep the dragon happy, because otherwise, he would wipe out the entire world or the entire village.

Every day, this kingdom of people would send their villagers by the boatload, by the truckload, by the trainload to satisfy the unending appetite of this dragon. And of course, the dragon, in the end, was a metaphor for death.

He put forth the idea that as human beings, perhaps, we should not accept that inevitable end. With recent advances in medical technology and understanding of how genes work, death might not be the end-all-be-all.

His story might not be related to business, like Jim’s are, but they’re still engaging. They draw the audience in and get them thinking.

Making Stories Work For You

You can apply those same concepts to your emails, landing pages, and blog posts.

Wondering how?

The answer is: start everything with a story. They’re more interesting to read and help you get your point across in a more entertaining way.

In my mind, content needs to be thought of as entertainment first and as a sales pitch second.

So, how do you actually get started?

  • Say something simple like, “In 2017, we ….”  and just fill in the blank with whatever anecdote you’d like to share.
  • Start with “last fall” or “last year” (or whatever is applicable) and share a past lesson.
  • Say, “recently, I heard” and pass on a great story someone else shared with you
  • Go full-on metaphor like CGP Grey. Use a “once upon a time” and invent your own story!

Final Thoughts

How do you think you’ll apply this to your own content, email newsletters, or landing pages?

Leave a comment below and let me know.

If you’d like me to consider answering a question that you have about how to grow your sales funnel, or anything related to digital marketing, please leave a comment or shoot us an email, and I’ll be happy to consider it.

Until next time, my name is Matt Ack, delivering you your daily dose of Matt hacks. I normally have my Matt hat on, but it’s still currently packed away in my luggage!

Keep hustlin’, stay focused. I’ll see you in the next video.

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