As startups — unless you’re VC-funded — we don’t usually have the big marketing budgets that established companies have. We may not be able to drop thousands on a single ad campaign. But the good news is that we don’t have to. We have strengths we can tap into that can power our marketing and help us land customers.
One of those strengths is our ability to wow customers in ways that the big guys — with their bloated infrastructure and slow-moving cogs — just can’t.
Startups can use customer stories to illustrate how their products and services solve problems and make life wonderful, motivating potential customers to move forward in the buying journey.
Customer stories, or case studies, can be used throughout the marketing and sales funnels. And they’re valuable not just because of their flexibility. They also accomplish three key tasks.
If you haven’t been in business long, you need to convince potential customers that you’re credible. When you show that other people trust and like your company, you make it a lot easier for prospects to say yes.
It’s hard for people to visualize how a product or service will function when it’s presented in the abstract.
A case study that shares the story of how you’ve helped a similar customer helps prospects to picture exactly how they’ll benefit from working with you.
When you create a case study, you’re asking a customer to share the details of how they’ve grown, how they’ve saved time, how they’ve generated higher profits, etc. as a result of your help.
When a customer pauses to reflect on the benefits they’ve experienced, they’re more likely to want additional products or services from you.
While effective case studies can take many formats, including written stories, videos, and audio recordings, the ones that persuade all have a few things in common.
Once you have a convincing customer story, how are you going to get it in front of your prospects? Here are a few ideas.
Create a ‘Client Stories’ page and feature your case studies there.
As you collect them over time, it’s smart to make them sortable by industry, pain point, and other factors so people can find the ones that apply to them.
Share the story on your blog and encourage readers to download the full case study with all the details.
Once you’ve got the case study up on your blog, share a link to it on social media with a teaser that calls out the benefits your customer experienced.
When you’re invited to speak to a group, work case studies into your presentations.
Sharing concrete examples will not only make your talks more interesting, it will likely convert some of your prospects who are in the audience!
Have your salespeople share it. Salespeople are always looking for interesting and relevant content to include in follow-up emails.
Case studies are ideal to share because they offer real value to prospects, giving them ideas on how they can solve problems and describing exactly what someone else has done.
Salespeople can also include the latest case study in their email signatures and in other communications.
If the case study presents your client as the hero, they’ll want to share it. Communicate how the customer is leading their industry or using your product or service to make a real impact.
When the customer feels proud to be featured, they’ll often be happy to post it on their social media channels or even share it in a blog post on their website.
If your product or service has enabled your customer to do something newsworthy, write up a press release and/or pitch the media with your story.
While you won’t be able to use the customer story in the format of a case study, you can pitch an angle of the story to various news outlets.
Customer stories are powerful. Startups are smart to take advantage of their ability to create the truly inspiring customer experiences that are the foundation of persuasive case studies.
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