Customer stories are powerful. They provide social proof that your solutions live up to the hype. They are much more impactful than anything you can say about your brand. Emphasizing their importance in your content strategy is critical to creating emotional responses.
But sharing customer stories isn’t always easy. It’s definitely a collaborative effort. In this post, we’re sharing some key insights on creating and leveraging them in your content marketing efforts.
Why Do Customer Stories Matter?
You probably already know that your audience is receptive to and influenced by their peers. According to Nielsen’s research, 89 percent of people trust recommendations from people they know.
Trust is often hard to earn from buyers. It takes time to build, no matter how tenured your company is. Hearing words from your customers creates those bonds quicker.
These stories also support the goals of being authentic and genuine. Your audience doesn’t want a sales pitch. They want to experience what their world would be like with your solution. Seeing themselves in customer stories offers them an unbiased perspective.
How Do You Get Customers to Participate?
It starts with a simple ask. Before you decide to ask everyone on your customer list to participate, you should do some segmenting.
You certainly want to make sure that anyone you ask is a happy, engaged customer. Not every customer is going to say wonderful things about you. Many will, however, especially if everything has gone smoothly.
Start with Recent Customers
Begin your reach out with new customers. Their experience is fresh, and they can speak to the entire process of working with your teams on onboarding. While they don’t have years of history with your company, they did just decide to choose you.
Engage these new customers with an email campaign about sharing their stories. Let them know they can in any format—case studies, written testimonials, blogs, or video interviews.
Find Your Champions
You likely have champions of your brand. They are probably long-time customers, and you’ll know they are a champion because of their behaviors. They could be the people that engage with you on social media, always visit you at trade shows, or have a great rapport with sales.
Seek input from sales or other customer-facing groups to find these champions. Then ask for your colleague to introduce you. Approach them on a one-to-one basis, so they know how valuable sharing their story is to your company.
Engage with Survey Takers or Reviewers
Most companies send out satisfaction surveys when a project is complete. These are typically scaled ratings or NPS (net promoter scores). You may also direct customers to rate you on Google or Facebook.
Look through surveys or third-party review sites to see who is rating you well. Then engage with them and see if they’d like to chat more and tell their story.
Ask the Right Questions
To craft a great customer story, you need to ask the right questions. Your queries need to be specific and not open-ended. Tell me about your experience with our company isn’t going to deliver the effect you’d like.
You want these stories to be emotional and compelling. Here are some questions to consider:
- What were your challenges or problems you needed to solve?
- How did those issues make you feel?
- What were you skeptical about before making a decision?
- What changed once you began to use our solution/product?
- How has our solution/product improved your daily activities?
- What specifically was the reason you chose our solution/product?
These are more in-depth questions that will help you craft stories from your customer’s words. If, during the conversation, you pick up on an important detail, ask them to elaborate. The more specific the story, the more it will resonate with your audience.
How Will You Know if Stories Have an Impact?
The best way to learn if any content marketing tactic works is to measure it. Look at your content analytics to determine the popularity of the stories. Do your case studies, testimonials page, or other customer-focused content have high views and engagement?
Looking deeper into the data, you can also discern what formats audiences find the most engaging. Based on that, focus on trying to get more stories like those.
Brands Telling Great Customer Stories
For a little inspiration, consider these brands that are excelling at customer stories in their content marketing.
Zendesk Customer Page
The Zendesk customer page is a perfect example of a brand leveraging customer stories. They use the text “see how businesses like yours found solutions with Zendesk.” In those few words, it’s easy to see their content strategy’s objective.
The page features specific stories and has a way for visitors to filter stories by business challenge or industry. They also invite customers to join their community as Luminaries, a program to amplify stories and drive thought leadership.
Patagonia: Stories We Wear
Patagonia is known to have devoted fans. On their Worn Wear microsite, they capture candid photos and stories of how their products have impacted their lives. It’s a great collection that demonstrates the quality and versatility of their products.
Booker Customer Stories
Booker’s customer page offers visitors a variety of stories. Video stories, testimonials, and case studies drive engagement. The content is authentic and offers prospective buyers real-world examples. They can see how the software helps businesses grow and streamlines scheduling.
Bluebeam Case Studies
Bluebeam’s customer page shows how you can use customer stories in any industry, even when audiences are more logical than emotional. Their case studies focus on things that matter to their audience like efficiency, cost savings, and revenue increases. They also include filters for industry and keyword so that buyers can find the most relevant content.
Tell Great Stories
These insights, ideas, and examples build a great foundation for your customer story strategy. Now it’s time to put it all into action and tell great stories to connect with your audience and showcase your amazing customers. Need any help planning all this? Start a FREE, 14-day trial today!