Three Characteristics of Great Marketing Horror Stories

In a recent post, I briefly laid out the case for using horror stories in your marketing. That post can be found here. 

In this post, I am going to jump into three characteristics you need to put together a great marketing horror story. 

And they go as follows…

1. Believable But Not Boring

For any type of marketing to work, the claims and details have to be believable. The same goes for horror stories.

Again, consider the point of your story. You want your prospects to be chilled to the bone about what you’re describing. You are trying to put a rock in their shoe, an itch on their nose, a speck in their eye that annoyingly and repeatedly says, “I need insurance!” 

If this is the goal of a horror story, the prospect needs to believe that this happened and that this could happen to them.

If you write a story in which someone’s house caught fire in the middle of a tornado during a snowstorm while a bear destroyed their car…chances are someone will call you bluff (as they should). This story is certainly not boring, but it is not believable.

That brings me to the other part. Your story cannot be boring. A boring story will not cause your prospect to put themselves in the horror. A boring story won’t stay on anyone’s mind, which is what we are aiming for. 

“Joe Schmo lost his house but we put him up in a cozy condo while it got rebuilt” is boring. It doesn’t strike fear in anyone, it sounds kind of nice actually.

The best way to get unboring, believable stories is to not make them up. Call up your customers with recent claims and ask them about the issue. Think back to some of the worst disasters and use some of the craziest stories. 

2. Relevant

Stories need to not only be believable and unboring. They need to be relevant.

A story can be believable and not boring, but still ineffective. Your prospects need to be able to climb into your story and visualize themselves in the situation. You are creating a vision of all the terrible, no-good experiences they could have if a disaster hits and they don’t have insurance or they have the wrong insurance.

The only way prospects will be able to do this is if your story is relevant. If they can see themselves in the story. If they can see theirs kids in the story, or their spouse, or their pets.

The easiest way to make a horror story relevant is if you find stories that involve similar people, in similar places, with similar families, in similar circumstances.

One quick example…if you are writing to a Midwest audience who lives in tornado alley, don’t write about California wildfires. Write about tornados. And if you can, write about the tornado that happened just last week, just last month, or just last year.

3. Align With What You Offer

This point is the advanced, under the radar secret that will help you sell insurance like crazy. 

Sure, a horror story that is believable, unboring, and relevant will get people thinking about their risk, worry, and fear. But won’t they just go find the cheapest insurance? Why would they come by from me? 

You need to find and distribute stories that showcase how you are the solution to your prospect’s risks, worries, and fears about insurance. 

Find stories where the service you offer could fix all the character’s problems and make everything better. 

I think the best way to explain this is an example…

I know a guy who lost his house in a tornado. His insurance company goofed. They sent out a traveling adjuster who wasn’t prepared to do her job and was fired or quit a couple weeks after. She didn’t document everything correctly and caused my friend a lot of extra headache. 

The way I see it, every insurance agent in a 25 mile radius has a perfect opportunity to get this guy to switch. 

All they have to do is present themselves as the hometown solution that knows your name and makes sure your entire claims process is running smoothly…all from right down the street. And of course, they have to genuinely be that. 

When you align your horror story and your offer, you will make prospects see the solution that is sitting right in their lap.

Looking to send out a direct mail or email campaign that will attract commission-increasing prospects? Need the kind of strategic writing that will magically turn cold prospects into warm leads? Give me a shout at konradholdenwriting@gmail.com.

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