Customer success stories are “golden nuggets” of any integrated content marketing program. Prospects are curious about the experience of other customers. They add evidence and credibility for your claims. They reinforce positioning strategies and brands. And they can be used in multiple ways.
Of course the challenge with certain success stories is getting the involvement and permission of customers. Here are three types of stories you can consider, each with different levels of difficulty to obtain.
Endorsement. This involves a specific, named customer giving you a quote which supports others buying or using your product or company. The bigger the company, the more positive the influence effect. But many large companies have policies against such endorsements. Often these are only available for strategic business relationships. These are the most difficult to obtain.
Name Dropping. This involves receiving permission to use a customer and/or company name in sales or marketing materials, but it does include a specific statement of support for your company. These are easier to obtain and still add credibility for your market position.
Unnamed. In sales situations in particular, it can be quite effective to tell a story about a customer challenge, explain how you solved it, then summarize the results. By carefully choosing your words, the prospect easily identifies with the situation and sees it as relevant, even though no customer name is ever cited. This is clearly the easiest type of story to obtain—often by working directly with the sales person involved.
There is no “one” formula for success stories, but some typical ingredients include: customer name or description; application; customer challenge or need; what your company provided in the way of products and support; the end result and benefits to the customer; benefits to your company, etc.
With success stories in hand, they can be used in articles, sales materials, executive presentations, in social media, in newsletters and more. For content marketing or lead nurturing, the challenge of obtaining a good story will be rewarded with credible and interesting material that can be used again and again.