The Tomatoes Made Me Buy Them

By Jessica Albon

Photo of tomatoes
Image by woodsy

This weekend, I finally started my tomato seeds–a little behind schedule, but fortunately we have a long growing season here in North Carolina. Before buying my seeds, I knew the types of tomatoes I’d plant, but there was one that was a surprise… Though I’d never heard of it before, the story on the back of the package intrigued me and before I knew it, seeds for tomatoes I’d never heard of were in my cart.

On the other hand, I also spent a half hour this weekend searching for a great coffee mug on Etsy, and came away empty handed. The mugs that I liked all suffered from one (or both) of two fatal flaws–no story, or no details. For me, one of the most important things to know about a coffee mug is … how much coffee it’ll hold, and yet click after click, there were no ounce measurements. Then, other listings were nothing but facts–and uninteresting facts at that. (Sure, it’s probably good to know the mug is food and dishwasher safe, but as the only details in a listing they won’t exactly get the mug sold.)

I’m sure you’ve had this same experience–there’s something you want to buy, but the buying process is so boring that instead of buying, you drift off to sleep (or to the next task on your to-do list). Or, there’s something you weren’t planning on buying that’s made completely irresistible through the use of a great story.

It’s not that you can sell anything with the right story, but when you’re engaging with your tribe, telling them great stories is a really fantastic way to keep them interested and to give them something to talk about with others. So, if you’ve been feeling like your story telling skills could use some work, now’s the time to improve them.

In fact, the very best sales letters are often made up of a series of stories and it’s those stories that keep you reading straight through to the end. So, storytelling absolutely has a place in your marketing, and learning to do it brilliantly is all but non-negotiable if you write an ezine or blog.

If you struggle with telling stories (and, especially with figuring out which details are most compelling), I share my process in a handy little ebook I wrote a few years back. I’d love for you to pick up a copy and start spinning yarns your readers will love.

Getting back to those tomatoes, the ones that found themselves in my cart despite not being on my list were called the “Mortgage Lifter” and the back of the package told a charming tale of a farmer who was behind on his payments and decided to find a really prolific tomato plant that he could start a whole mess of plants and sell them for a buck a piece. In just a few years, he’d managed to pay off his entire $6000 mortgage. Or, so goes one version of the story, anyway ;-).

Got any great stories to share that inspired you to buy? Share ’em!