“Facts Tell, Stories Sell” – How To Grab Your Prospects’ Attention

How Do Stories Relate to Marketing?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “facts tell, stories sell”.   But have you stopped to think about what it means for your marketing?  I recently came across a Native American proverb that goes into a bit more detail…

“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.”

facts tell, stories sell

Of course this is true – you haven’t forgotten the stories you had read to you as a child, have you?   Stories like those of Beatrix Potter, A A Milne, Lewis Carroll are timeless, appealing to children and adults alike.   Another point to consider is that most of these “classic” stories also contain wonderful images.  It’s well known that the eye processes images faster than text – up to 80,000 times faster, in fact.   So when you can tell stories using images as well as text, you’re on to a winner.

What does this have to do with marketing, you may ask?  Never mind the fancy definitions of marketing –  just consider that it’s about persuading people to take the action that you want them to take.  This may not always be buying something in the strict sense of the word, it could be signing up to your email list, downloading an eBook, watching a video and so on.  But all of these actions could be considered as “buying” in the broadest sense.

Emotional Selling

OK, if we want people to take a “buying” action, we clearly need to sell the thing they’re going to buy.  Now the idea of selling strikes fear into the hearts of many business owners (myself included!) Selling doesn’t have a great image – we tend to think of cold calls from double glazing companies,  door-knocking by cleaning product distributors and…. you get the idea.   (On the flip side of this I have colleagues who swear by cold calling and get great results –  as with everything, it’s horses for courses).  But fair to say most small business owners prefer an easier route to gaining customers.

The big lightbulb moment for me this year has been the realisation that buying is always an emotional decision.  This realisation initially came about when I read an article on “Words That Convert”, from the Buffer blog. This article outlined how certain words trigger certain sections of the brain, resulting in us taking action. I’d recommend anyone with an interest in the psychology of marketing to read it.  A couple of months later I was fortunate enough to join a training course in video marketing run by Doodle Ads. The whole premise behind the success of their business is the Emotional Selling Proposition (ESP).  When we can trigger an emotional reaction in our prospects, convincing them that they NEED our products or services, that is the key to marketing success.   I’m using this principle in my video marketing business Purrfectly Animated.

The Power of Video

As I’ve said, we all buy emotionally (and justify that decision logically afterwards). But it can often be challenging to elicit the right emotion in our clients (current and / or potential), via our marketing messages.  We already know that images make stories more memorable, but what if those images also portray the emotion we want to trigger in our prospects?  And what if those images could be incorporated into an eye-catching whiteboard animation video with a voiceover that reinforces the message?

Research has shown that one minute of video has a value equivalent to 1.8 million words.  It’s been estimated that within the next 2 years, 69% of internet traffic will be mobile video.  Facebook has already outstripped YouTube for daily video views (currently a staggering 4 billion+ per day).

In 2012, psychologist Dr Richard Wiseman did an experiment.  He showed viewers either a video of himself talking, or a whiteboard animation using exactly the same audio. He then tested the viewers by asking a question based on the content of the videos. Those who had viewed the whiteboard animation had on average, a 15% higher rate of correct response to the question.  (92% vs 70% in one case).

When we appeal to our prospects’ emotions by using powerful images combined with an audio message, they’ll be far more likely to take the desired action.    If you were thinking of selling your house and you saw this video on an estate agent’s website, would you be likely to hire him/her?


If you were looking to hire a domestic cleaner, would you be persuaded by this company?

 Notice how most of the images in these videos aren’t specific to the business? They’re simply portraying the emotions felt by potential clients. Perhaps a better catch phrase would be “facts tell, emotions sell”?

How do you tell your business stories?  I’d love to know – share your thoughts below.


I love helping businesses to get the best from their online marketing. Please contact me if you need further advice on emotion-based video marketing for your business. Why not say hello on my Facebook page and visit my video marketing website



  1. Those mentioned above are very good tips! If you want to sell your property, you should make sure to read this post. It will help you so much!

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