Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

Here's my webpage.  Click here to see what I am doing.  Don't click the link yet, let me communicate with you a bit first.  Some things...

This topic is so squeamish for some that they won't be able to read any further once they click the link and see that this conference is the 5th International Christian "Storytelling-in-Ministry" Conference.  For the sake of this discussion, I am talking "Identifying your target market."

So how did I choose it?  I didn't.

  • I didn't just "decide" to hold a conference.
    • This June 16 - 18, 2011 will be the 5th annual gathering of these people, it started as an unofficial "retreat" among 12 storytelling friends who all happened to be Christian, not one attended the same flavor of church.  Today, this still remains true, not an issue then, isn't an issue now.
    • I came into this group on the 3rd year that they met together, having passed up two previous moments of awareness about the gathering.  No one seemed to know what it was, so I passed.  Only after Mike Lockett invited me personally, did I accept.
    • Most of the people who have come to this gathering are not storytellers
    • Last year, the 4th year, 12 storytellers were outnumbered 16:1, our agenda was almost the same as the first year which was, bring a story, we will work on it together, coach each other and perhaps we'll have time for a conversation about "how to use storytelling in the church."  That first year the pro-storyteller to non-storyteller ratio, without advertisements was 4:1, the second year with an email notice, 8:1, third year, snail mail (1000) and email resulted in a ratio of 12:1.  So in a discussion afterwards, some comments among others that seemed remarkably like "What do you think is going on?" and "I don't know." and "Do you think we ought to try to do this on purpose?"  "Perhaps, G_d would like us to help His church communicate in a way that is personal and effective... like storytelling."
  • I was asked, along with my wife and Pam Holcomb to organize this year's conference in Georgetown, KY.  After careful thought, that lasted a week or so, we said yes.  
  • There are some historical drawbacks.
    • Even the teaching storytellers pay to go to this conference.  No Budget, zero.
    • The sponsoring organization is very small, The National Christian Storytelling Network.  To get a little history, watch the video on my webpage when you get to click the link.
    • The focus audience for this "market" is extremely narrow in the world... and very wide at the same time, there is a church on every other corner.  That's a lot of suspects.  Christian Ministry Leaders, Sunday School Teachers, Missionaries, Home School Parents, Rescue Shelter Operators, Church Administration Staff.  Think about it; who needs to communicate better with purpose than those in service to others?  Who has perhaps the most stigmatized & prejudged message?  Who has the biggest walls separating themselves from others in their similar communities?  I know the answers to those questions because I am a Christian.  I am not a saint nor sinless and I have only the very faintest of hopes to ever becoming a "good man."  I am not a pretty good man nor Moses returning from the burning bush.  I am not "self-righteous" actually I think my life is going to continue to require a lot of "GRACE."

Now would a great time to talk about the difference between

  • "Suspects," a list of people who fit your target description
  • "Prospects," the list of people who have responded to an offer for more information
  • "Clients," the list of people who have tried your product or service
  • "Repeat Clients," the list of people who have upgraded or purchased more
  • "Champions," the list of people who tell others and sell for you
I have evolved through all of these stages in regards to this gathering of people to talk about storytelling in the context of the Christian experience.  Yes, now I think I am a Champion, a promoter of the storytelling in church cause.  But who, if I may, has a more positive "actual message" than the hope offered not by the "church" but by the "Church."  The difference between the small "c" and the large "C" being only passion.  Please notice I didn't say anything about doctrines, traditions or theologies.  If you have been reading my newsletter, you know very well, I am really a guy who is very comfortable with himself and being outdoors.  If you've met me, I hope you can at least say "he ain't snooty."


Let's get something else straight.  One, I am not an expert on Marketing.  I started this group hoping to learn from others and I am learning just like everyone else in the world.  


TIME OUT; I just got up and went to my library and counted the books I own on Marketing, 26.  I have all of them but two, one of the two came in my mail today.  The other was so stupid in it's introduction that I set it down and haven't picked it up since.  I also get some pretty neat stuff online from Jeff Walker and Bob Baker, one an internet sale guru and the other a music business guru.  I do know some things about marketing, more now than before and I do have a suggestion for everyone to go out and spend some money on two things.  One, a paperback book called "Duct Tape Marketing" by John Jantsch.  Yes, I have mentioned it in the marketing group before today.  Let me tell you the other thing you need to spend your money on; software.  Not just any software, you need to buy, "Marketing Plan Pro ver. 11."   REALLY...  I'M NOT KIDDING.  JUST GO BUY IT.  


These two things brought everything that I have been reading about marketing into sharp focus.  Just to make my point clear, here is a definition from Robert D Hisrich's book entitled, "Marketing."  The actual definition takes up six, count them six pages.  Pithy sentences like; "Marketing is the performance of business to consumer to user."  Or try this one;  "Marketing is the process by which decisions are made in a totally interrelated changing business environment on all the activities that facilitate exchange in order that the targeted group of customers are satisfied and the defined objectives accomplished."  Well, why didn't you just say so?! Then, now that he is really warmed up, he launches into a four part definition, which covers the afore mentioned six page definition.

How does our boy John Jantsch handle the definition?  I am glad you asked.

"Marketing is getting people who  have a specific need or problem to know, like, and trust you."


So what's the plan?  First it is not built on Hope, even though I hear myself saying that all the time.  "I hope someone signs up, I hope I can get this right, I hope I am skilled enough to get the right attention from my "Suspects" enough to at least get them to become a "Prospect" and perhaps a "Client."  And who knows, maybe, those who come to the conference might become "Repeat Clients" at least that is what I hope.  No, I think I needed a plan.


So here it is in a nutshell.

  1. Identify your ideal client.
  2. Discover your core marketing message.  Think "The Real Thing," "Quality is Job One."  Ours?  "It's Communication, Not Performance"
  3. Wake up the senses to match your message.  Check out the website, view it from your senses and tell me what you think of the colors, sounds, videos, etc.
  4. Create products and services for every stage of Client Development.
  5. Produce marketing materials that educate.  (even this discussion forum counts)
  6. Build a website that works night and day.  Online subscriptions, information downloads, etc
  7. Get the entire team involved in marketing, use the same words, logo, cards, look, feel, you get what I mean
  8. Write ad copy that gets results.  (much harder than it looks)
  9. Turn your sales letter sideways.  Most sales letters are way too long.  What if you spread it out sideways and reveal a little more of it each day over a period of time?  Use direct marketing, snail mail, email, brochures strategically placed where you target goes.  Think of a hunter, putting out feed (value added information) in order to draw the prospect in...  Okay may that analogy breaks down a little.  But I think I made the point.  Don't count on one thing, use all of them, but have all of them pointed in the same direction at the same target.  Videos, emails, newsletters, postcards, posters (for bookstores), brochures, snail mail, flyers and radio ads and Facebook ads and Yahoo and AOL and don't forget Google.
  10. Earn Media attraction and "expert status." by continuing to be giving and offering value added information that people can actually use in their work.
  11. Deliberately, build a systematic referral machine.  Much more about this later.  But could you do me a favor, could you tell your Christian friends about this conference?  Could you send a note to anyone that might be interested in attending and just let them know what I am up to nowadays?
  12. Automate your marketing with technology tools.  Take a lesson from Dianne Del Las Casas. Back in the beginning, I was twelfth person to join Professional Storyteller, I am still blown away by how this community has grown.
  13. Turn Prospects into Clients and Clients into Partners with an advanced education system.  Here's some good books about that, "How to become a Rainmaker" Jeffery J Fox, also "Guerrilla Selling" by Orvel Ray Wilson, and "The Ask" by Laura Fredericks, and a cool book too... "The little red book of selling, 12.5 principles of Sales Greatness" by Jeffery Gittimer
  14. Commit to your marketing with a Plan, Budget, and a CALENDAR.
  15. One last thing for tonight, Check this really cool group of people on the web.   David Allen and his book "Getting Things Done."  Just Google it... he almost has a cult following.  But it is pretty good stuff.
Okay if you aren't dead or bored to clutching tissue paper, now click the link a the top of the page and see how I am doing using these 15 principles that John Jantsch has shared with me.

Tags: Buck, Conference, Creacy, Hope, Marketing, P, Storytelling

Views: 107


Replies to This Discussion

The "Yarn Bard" phrase was really tripping people up.Plus, the hyphens cause people a parsing issue.

"Storyteller" & "Keeper of Tales" seems to get exactly what I'm going for... "fairy-tales or old-fashioned, olden-days kinds of things... with more religious-magic implications vs. Storyteller's more mundane and folk-magic implications."

"StorySpider" is well-received as well, especially since it brings to mind weaving & Anansi & Native American folktales.

So, these are things to consider...




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