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Tried-and-True Tactics to Encourage Customers to Tell their Stories

From startups to global enterprises, every company struggles at times with getting customers to go on record. Here are some ideas in practice at companies today for encouraging customers to be featured:

  • Access and involvement – Surprisingly, the #1 thing customers want is access and involvement–access to your execs and involvement in your product/service roadmap. Generate ways for your top customers to interact with your organization on a deeper level.
  • Co-marketing campaigns – Create a few co-marketing campaigns for the customers you most want to feature. The focus: How successful the customer is, and one of its steps to success has been using your solutions.
  • Joint-benefit story angles – If possible, find a way to tell your story and the story that your customer wants to tell the public. Win-win!
  • An evolving relationship – Move customers through a series of activities. For example, begin with featuring a customer on a webinar or as a speaker at an event. From there, include them in user groups, advisory boards, or tech councils. When the relationship has matured, ask if you can capture their experiences in a case study.

Some of the world’s largest companies spend years building customer relationships, gradually involving the customer more in joint marketing activities.

  • Make customers famous – Make contacts famous by highlighting the company’s and contact’s best practices. If your solution saved a department money, increased sales, or improved customer service, for example, approach the department head. A story could be very valuable in demonstrating the success of that individual and helping him justify having made the investment, or help him land his next job.
  • Free publicity – Who doesn’t want free, positive PR? Sometimes companies just don’t see this upside. Have your PR people talk to your customer’s PR people about the opportunities that may arise.
  • Awards opportunities – Everyone wants to be recognized for success. Take every opportunity to submit customers for awards and PR opportunities, or tell them you’d like to submit them for an industry award, and they may be more willing to participate.

Each customer may require a unique approach. Know what you can and can’t offer.

Stay persistent, but when you’ve tried everything, move on to more viable candidates.