Every company puts out their best resources to entice customers. And so, it’s increasingly becoming more difficult for buyers to pick which vendor they should buy from every day.
In fact, according to The New York Times, “Yankelovich, a market research firm, estimates that a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with up to 5,000 today”
That’s a lot of ads for just one person, right?
One of the most credible ways to stand out in the midst of all these noises is to put out stories of your most happy customers and let prospects understand that your offerings would be their best option.
“If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story”, says Barbara Greene, children’s author
But are customer stories really that effective? Or they’re just overhyped.
According to Ascend2’s recent Content Marketing Trends Survey, 54% of marketers say articles and case studies rank as the most effective type of content in their content arsenal.
One of my first set of white paper prospects (at Premium Content Shop), who found me via my guest post on a marketing blog, said the following (because I couldn’t provide him a white paper sample):
“Undoubtedly you have a good pen, but I don’t want to confuse the writing you do to attract clients [my guest posts] and the writing you do for clients. The two are very different, involving different styles and content types.
To be a trusted supplier on white papers and other long-form content, you’re going to need to demonstrate customer proof, which you don’t currently have.
If I did trial your white paper or eBook writing services, I would be the first.” What are your thoughts on this, and how do you propose to mitigate the risk?”
Yes, he understands my proposition and it sounded really nice, and he sees my writing capabilities as well. But he wants proof. There’s a myriad of questions in his mind: Does this writer have enough experience? Has he ever completed a white paper before?
This represents the typical worry of a buyer who isn’t sure of the authenticity of the promises you’re making.
A sample (call it a proof) was all my client needed and that would just close the sale. It would tell him the entire story he needs to hear—that I’ve actually completed a white paper project for another client.
The same applies to your business, too. Your customers want to be sure your offerings can solve their problem. And your customer stories can give them that surety.
But then, what happens if all your competitors are equally pushing out their customer stories, too?
I mean, if you run a martech company (for example) and you have really good customer stories, other martech companies have great stories too.
In other words, if Dell (for instance) is putting out case studies, their competitor (say, HP) is doing the same. So, just as Dell is trying to use case studies to close a deal, HP is doing just the same.
And the same applies to most other businesses (including yours) too—your competitors have case studies just like you.
So how do you ensure that your stories are more effective than your competitors’?
They figured that if without case studies they were able to easily attract leads in the web hosting industry and convert them to customers, they can do even better when they provide their prospects in that niche with case studies that they can relate to.
So they started putting out case studies on how web hosting companies use their product. As a result, hosting companies have now become a huge part of their customer base.
You can do this for your business, too and get similar results. For example, if you notice that most of your customers come from the fashion industry or that folks from that industry have affinity with your product, you can create stories (or case studies) about your happy fashion customers.
The concept around this is that when other fashion prospects begin to see the stories, they can easily relate to them––since they’re tales of how a “fellow fashion brand” solved a problem that’s similar to theirs.
However, you need to ensure that your customer stories are widely promoted so that they get to your target customers.
In a nutshell
Using the tactic I’ve explained above, your customer stories can help you stand out in today’s media noise and put you in a position where prospects begin to respect you.
This post is part of our contributor series. It is written and published independently of TNW.
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.