We asked our friends at Flank, an agency that specializes in startup marketing, to share some of their knowledge about leveraging customer success stories in digital marketing.
Unlike interviewing your colleague at the next desk over, there’s more at stake when filming your best customers to tell their stories. You have to be delicate, super friendly, and perhaps most importantly, you have one chance to get the information you need.
That’s probably what’s led you here: you need to put in some groundwork, do your research, then your chances of creating amazing customer stories will be greatly increased. Fortunately for you, we’ve been geeking out on customer stories for years and we’ve collected and dissected them. Don’t tell anyone—this is your secret weapon.
Customer Stories – here’s what we found.
Customer stories are more than worth while. Lots of marketing best practices focus on top of the funnel activity—building awareness. But building trust is crucial to converting those visits into actual paying customers. Why?
- Metrics – Hubspot found that 54% of customer prefer to see videos over other marketing tactics.
- Build trust. Writing text on a web page is easy. Satisfying a person enough to pay for your software and tell the world about it is hard.
- Brand building. They align you with other companies or individuals in the same space that are using your product to simplify their workflow.
- Increase retention / reduce churn. Bringing your favourite customers to light is a good way of promoting their own offering, while also enabling you to build longer lasting and more meaningful relationships with your buyer.
- Value add in the real world. Success stories are also a great way to bring to life how your value proposition translates into real world examples.
While there’s undeniably a brilliant marketing team behind your website, nothing can really compete with your actual customers telling the stories of how they’re using (and loving) your product. It’s these tactics that build trust, and bring messages to light in a different way than traditional advertising copy.
But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s what the internet thinks:
B2B Marketing’s new Content Marketing Benchmarking Report has shown that 66% of the 112 B2B marketers surveyed said case studies were ‘very effective’.
“BrightTALK’s B2B Content Marketing Report surveyed 600 B2B operators. They said that 55% of respondents consider case studies to be the best way to nudge prospects down the sales pipeline.” Further, “In addition to being the most effective content subject, 44% said case studies are the most effective content marketing tactic.”
A hawkeye study found that between 71% and 77% of B2B buyers cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content.
Wikijob found that by moving their testimonials to a higher position in the site their sales increased by 34%.
How to tell a Customer Story
Here’s the lessons we’ve learned, in telling compelling customer stories for various tech startups.
Hook us in the first 15 seconds.
If you think about web page best practice, then this is a very similar principal. Lead with your most striking pullout. Don’t worry about context—worry about piquing an interest.
Who are they? Where do they work? What’s their job?
Give us some context. Who are we listening to, and why should we care? The cooler the company and the more senior the person speaking are important here.
What do they use the product for in their company?
Why did they initially search for a tool like yours? What were they looking to solve, and why couldn’t they find a good solution elsewhere? Showcase the app/website in action.
A good idea here is to gather some footage of the person (who we’re starting to like by now) working with the tool. If it’s a collaborative effort, perhaps get them chatting with others, too.
Highlight the features that the product is helping them with.
After they found you, what’s keeping them hooked? Why did they start paying, and what are they continuing to love about your product. The sweet spot here is specificity. Getting them to talk in enough detail for it to sound like we’re uncovering something, but not too specific that it could only be relevant for that exact business.
It’s the difference between, “We really fell in love with how adaptable the API is, and how amazing the docs are maintained and structured” and, “We loved that we could use pull data and trigger an alert based on instances created.”
Stress pain points to emphasize
The situation, the problem, the solution, the outcome. This can be edited heavily in post production, and usually uncovers some really interesting content, like ‘Before we got Y we had to do all of our X’s manually, but now thanks to Y we can do all of this in record time.’
What your client learned during the process.
This is really interesting. Put your paying customer in the shoes of the person evaluating your software. What were the top things your client considered before purchasing a solution?
What would they recommend others know before starting the process? This can really help turn leads into sales.
Whether you create video content on your own or hire a production agency, following these guidelines will give your business the extra boost it needs.
Want to get more tips and view templates to create quality customer success stories for your business? Check out Flank’s full piece on their blog here.
FLANK is a fast paced, ‘get to work’ marketing agency that actions ideas for startups.