The Power of Customer Success Stories in Digital Marketing
By Cara Sloman, executive vice president, Nadel Phelan
Why are testimonials, success stories and customer references so powerful? Hearing from someone who’s experienced the value of your product or service is much more credible than your most carefully crafted marketing message. Prospects get a sneak peek at how what you offer solves real-world problems. This promotes trust, an essential element of business these days.
Customer Success: Six Opportunities
There are a variety of formats that enable your customers to tell their success stories. Taking or creating these opportunities increases visibility as well as credibility. An effective customer reference program can lead to media coverage and generate marketing content, too. Which opportunities should you pursue? Don’t try all of them at once; that will surely wear out your customer! Instead, choose one or more activities based on the interests of customer advocates and on your prospect personas.
- Media briefings – There is significant visibility and credibility possible for your brand when you arrange journalist interviews where your customer provides real-world anecdotes for articles. Your customer champions also get the opportunity to demonstrate their industry thought leadership and get coverage for their company.
- Press releases – Tell your customer’s story of success, including the new abilities they’ve gained with your offering and the results they’re seeing. This story is a useful content piece for your marketing and sales teams, too.
- Online reviews – Feedback from customers is valuable for two reasons. First, it causes customers to remember why they like working with you, which encourages retention. Second, positive customer feedback offers social proof that inspires prospects to choose you.
- Case studies – Case studies generate demand and foster engagement with leads. They are often helpful to buyers who are in the consideration phase because they contain statistics and other metrics that show the value of your product or service. Case studies provide that all-important social proof, as well.
- Joint speaking opportunities – A way to build a sense of connection and trust is to let your customers tell their stories in speaking panels, webinars, virtual speaking sessions and fireside chats.
- Awards – More third-party validation is available through awards. Many award competitions require a customer case study, so a win can help drive business for both your company and the customer who participated. Award recognition generates publicity and can serve as the differentiator that tips the scales in your favor when prospects are making their purchasing decisions.
Solicit Customer References Wisely
Your customers lead busy lives; promoting you is probably not at the top of their to-do list. That means, you must be intentional about gathering customer references. Identify and pursue those whose success stories will inspire others to buy your products or services.
The best approach for securing customer participation is to approach them with specific opportunities that will improve both your profile and theirs. Maybe a customer wants to make inroads in a certain market. You would approach them with opportunities, perhaps a speaking opportunity at a virtual conference, in alignment with the relevant industry. This aligns with their goals as well as yours and increases the odds of their participation.
Going for the Win-Win
Our digitally driven world serves up thousands of ads per day to consumers. To stand out, you need to establish trust. The primary way to do that is to let other people – in this case, your customers – tell their success stories. With examples from the horses’ mouth, so to speak, buyers move from marketing copy to real-life examples of problems solved and transition further down the sales funnel.
Not sure how to find your champions or find the opportunities that will benefit you both? Connect with us to find out how we can help.