«Return to Blog List 5 Hottest Ways to Use Customer Stories in ’10


Ever walked through the living room when someone else is watching TV (on your way somewhere else), and just had to stop right there and watch?

I’d be willing to bet it was a compelling story that drew you in (if it wasn’t some sultry hamburger ad).

Humans have always told stories and it’s still the best currency for communication.

If anything, we rely on stories more than ever to be seen or heard in a sea of messages.

What’s changed are the media we use.

So what’s hot now in sharing customer success stories and case studies?

Here are my 5 predictions for the hottest ways to use your stories in ’10. Drop a comment on your top ways.

1. Blogs

An estimated 77% of active web users read blogs. They’ve proven to be powerful drivers of search engine traffic.

Even better, those following your blog are interested in your particular topic, giving you the perfect target audience.

Share your best customer stories on your blog – either in full or linked back to the full story on your website.

Focus on the customer’s experience and path to success, not just tooting your own horn.

Here’s a great example.

And finally, be sure to get the customer’s permission before you publish anything with their name on it.

2. Twitter

Enticing Twitter content gets fresh eyeballs on your blog or website. A decent percentage of my own web traffic comes from Twitter.

Customer stories are among the more interesting pieces of content you can share.

Mention a compelling customer story and link back to it on your blog or website.

Several of my clients regularly Tweet their customer stories, proving to be a source of new traffic to their sites.

Be sure to give it a compelling headline, and keep the Tweet short to encourage Retweeting.

Remember to follow what has become Twitter protocol of sharing more helpful links/Tweets than self-promotional ones.

3. Video

Video continues its hot streak.

Consider capturing short versions of your customer success stories and comments on video, or use video technology that allows viewers to navigate to chapter marks.

Some surveys indicate two-thirds still prefer written stories, but if possible, have multiple ways that your audience can consume your stories.

Then post the videos on your website, blog, YouTube (the third largest search engine) and other sites like Viddler.

Check out more video tips here.

4. Sales Conversations

Sure, you may have your video and written stories nicely displayed everywhere.

But you don’t really know whether those powerful stories have reached the right prospects.

Make sure those hot prospects know your best customer successes. Encourage sales reps to tell them in sales conversations.

To that end, communicate clearly and often to reps where your customer case studies and success stories reside on your website or intranet.

Discuss those stories in sales meetings.

Do everything you can to ensure that when a rep talks with a prospect, she knows just the perfect story to mention in conversation.

5. Awards

I’m big on awards these days – after seeing some Fortune 500 companies jump at the chance to tell their stories for awards opportunities.

Why? We all like to be recognized for our efforts. Your customers are no different.

If they’re doing cool, best practices things, and your solution helps with that, find relevant awards programs and ask their permission to submit them.

You might be surprised how on board they get for an awards submission when they might not publish their story as a case study.

If your customer wins, their story gets natural publicity through the awards process.

Also, once you have all the juicy details, ask if you can make that public on your website.

What are your predictions for the hottest ways to use customer case studies and success stories right now?

2 Responses to 5 Hottest Ways to Use Customer Stories in ’10

  1. Hi Casey,

    Good stuff! I’ve never thought about submitting clients for awards. I’ve done stories where customers received awards for implementing said solution, i.e. supplier awards, etc., but never thought about actually submitting anything on a client’s behalf. Interesting.

    I just had a phone meeting with a client this morning where our final discussion included using customer stories on the his blog. We plan to develop stories that are condensed and focused with particular information that will be valuable to the reader in bullet points block-type summaries. The emphasis you mentioned on the customer’s experience and path to success will be insightful given my client’s specific consulting disciplines. We nixed “horn-tooting.”

    My 2010 pick for use of case studies is somewhere between “hot” and “tried and true.” I think newsletters are still a great vehicle for distributing a succss story, either one that is unique to the newsletter, or one that is located somewhere else – on a client customer’s site, a client site, your own site, another publication, or all of the above. A newsletter can distribute a release and then link to the actual story, or can distribute the entire story. While a newsletter cheats the “on demand” model slightly because it does interrupt, it still gives the reader the opportunity to open it at his or her convenience. Also, many use e-newsletters they know and trust as a digest / springboard to take them to credible news in the specific industry, business area, of interest. slr

  2. Casey Hibbard says:

    Hi Steve,

    Your comments are so true! I believe newsletters are still very effective in communicating with a targeted audience. People have opted in and are receptive to your message. I think the biggest challenge there is getting the right compelling subject line so that folks open it.

    Great news too about the plan to blog customer stories! I love to hear that companies are telling these stories in social media.

    Thanks so much for weighing in Steve.

    Happy 2010,