Do you have a great product or service that you want to promote? Are you looking for a powerful marketing tool that can help you close more sales? If so, then customer stories may be just what you need.
Customer stories are an engaging way to promote your business and show potential customers why they need your company. Integrating testimonial quotes from happy clients or customers gives potential customers an idea of why they should do business with you and help build trust and credibility with potential customers.
By incorporating customer stories into your marketing strategy, you'll be able to showcase your track record of satisfied customers who are willing to vouch for your work. This is a powerful public relations, media relations, sales and marketing tool all rolled into one.
Questions to Ask
Once you have the go-ahead from the customer, make sure to get as much information as possible. Details about what prompted them to seek out your company and what benefits they’ve seen are essential. Quotes from the customer are also very valuable and can help boost conversions.
Standard questions to ask for a customer story include:
1) What was your problem before finding our company?
This question helps to show how you solved a customer’s specific need or problem. It also emphasizes your edge over competitors.
2) What selection criteria did you use?
This question helps to show that the customer did their due diligence before selecting your company.
3) What words would you use to describe us?
Positive adjectives help to build trust and credibility with potential customers.
4) What savings were made by installing this product?
This question helps to quantify the benefits of using your product or service.
5) How long did deployment take?
This question helps to show that you are a fast and efficient company.
6) What products did you order?
This question helps to show that you offer a comprehensive suite of products or services.
7) Name the top three benefits.
This question helps to show the most important benefits of using your company.
8) What is the name and title of the person to be quoted in the story?
This question helps to ensure that the customer is happy to be quoted in your story.
Once you have all of this information and answers to other questions, it’s time to start drafting your customer story.
What makes a good customer story?
There are a few key elements that you should keep in mind when writing a customer story.
1) The story should be relevant to your target audience
Make sure that the story is relevant to your target audience. For example, if you're a company that sells home security systems, then a customer story about how the system saved their family from a burglary would be very relevant and interesting.
2) Be positive
Make sure that the story you choose is positive. No one wants to hear about a customer who had a terrible experience with your product or service. On the other hand, positive customer stories are more likely to persuade potential customers to do business with you. Remember, people are more likely to buy from companies they trust. A good customer story can help build that trust.
3) Real quotes from the customer
It's always a good idea to use real quotes from the customer in your story. This helps to add authenticity and credibility to the story. Potential customers are more likely to believe what a customer has to say about your product or service than what you have to say. So make sure you get permission from the customer before using their quote in your story.
4) The story should be brief
Keep your customer stories brief. You don't want to overload potential customers with too much information. A good way to do this is to use a headline and then add a brief summary of the story underneath. This will help grab potential customers' attention and make them want to read more.
5) Be creative
Get out of cookie-cutter mode where replacing the customer name with another makes the story appear to be written to a formula. For example, you could create a story about a customer who had an interesting experience with your product or service.
Or you could tell the story in a unique way that will capture potential customers' attention. The key is to make sure that your customer stories are engaging and will compel potential customers to learn more about what you have to offer.
6) Be Unique
When writing customer stories, it's important to make sure that they are unique and engaging. This will help to capture potential customers' attention and compel them to learn more about what you have to offer.
7) Use images
When possible, use images to accompany your customer stories. This will help to add visual interest and make the story more engaging. There are a variety of ways to use images with your customer stories. You could include a photo of the customer, the product or service, or an event related to the story.
What to leave out of a customer story
When telling a customer story, it's important to focus on the positive aspects of the experience. You want to make sure that you're highlighting how your company was able to help the customer, not what went wrong. There are a few things you should avoid including in your customer stories:
- Complaining about other companies
- Negative reviews
- Personal information such as addresses or phone numbers
If you include any of this type of information in your story, it can reflect poorly on your company and may even damage your reputation. Stick to the positive aspects of the customer's experience and you'll be sure to make a good impression.
A customer story must be approved by the customer quoted in the story. This may sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often customer approval doesn't happen. The last thing you want is a customer misquoted or the facts wrong in the story.
Make sure to get written permission from the customer before using their story in any way, shape or form. This includes using their name, photograph or other identifying information, how the product/service is used, etc.
Where to use a Customer Story
Customer stories are often used on company websites, in marketing materials, in social media posts, used to pitch/secure media engagements, and turned into blogs or short videos for sharing online. They can be distributed at trade shows or networking events, used as a leave-behind by sales, and more.
Remember, people are more likely to buy from companies they trust and a customer story is proof that you are an expert in your field, with satisfied customers. This is important if your product / service is used in different ways.
For example, if your business sells learning management systems, customer stories from different sectors demonstrate product versatility with uses outside the education sector. When customers share their story with a company it is gold dust, as it authenticates the company and helps to sell the product, and a great way to connect on a personal level.
A customer story allows you to generate primary and secondary coverage thus amplifying the story. When a journalist is looking for a human-interest story angle, customer stories are often the hook they need to write about your company.
From the customer story, a press release, interviews, social media posts, and blog articles can be generated, all of which serve to extend the story's reach to a wider audience.
As you can see, customer stories are a powerful way to promote your business and show potential customers why they need your company. Integrating testimonial quotes from happy clients gives potential customers an idea of why they should do business with you and help build trust and credibility with potential customers.
Have you tried using customer stories in your marketing? If not, consider giving it a try – we think you’ll be surprised at just how effective it can be.
Eight Public Relations is a PR consultancy based in Hong Kong that can help you enhance your profile and become more visible in the media through media relations, branded content, corporate reputation, thought leadership programmes, and digital communications.