Look, let’s be upfront. Any CEO running a small business or startup can attest to the fact that big marketing budgets are difficult to come by. When you’re spending most of your funds pushing out a minimally viable product, marketing just isn’t top of mind.
The bad news is you’ll eventually need to market your product to grow the business. The good news is, you might not have to drop the top dollar to achieve top dollar results.
Enter the power of customer advocacy.
The power of customer advocacy lies in a particular strength that only small businesses tend to have. When it comes to being small and nimble, whether your marketing budgets are large or small, you can communicate with customers in a much more personalized way that bigger players simply cannot.
By communicating with your customers regularly, not only can you collect user feedback to improve your product, but also build customer success stories.
The fact of the matter is, customer success stories are the best validation to potential customers that your product can solve their problem. The best part is, customer advocacy is free marketing.
Ways customer success stories can elevate your marketing
Customer success stories, or customer case studies as many marketers fondly call them, can be used at multiple stages of the customer journey. From a sales discovery call to email marketing—the possibilities are endless.
Here are the key ways customer success stories can elevate your marketing…
- They build up your company brand
If you’re a startup, customer success stories will play a tremendous role in building up your brand. That’s because this form of customer advocacy proves to potential customers that you otherwise unknown brand is trustworthy.
So tell me, how often do you purchase a product online without great reviews? Or shop with a new brand for a product you already buy from another?
If the answer is not often, or no, you have your answer. Building a trustworthy brand cannot be bought with a marketing budget. So customer success stories are just the way to do it right.
- They demonstrate how your product has successfully served similar customers
Chances are, visitors that happen to come across your website won’t want to commit to contacting your sales team just yet. So how can you communicate with them how your product will work in a reality?
A strong customer success story can demonstrate how a similar customer persona has addressed their problem by discovering, implementing and using your product. It puts into perspective the types of functionalities potential customers can expect your product and further convinces them to try out your product.
- They support you in up-selling to growing customers
While the last two points spoke to you attempting to grow your customer base, we don’t want to neglect to mention your current customers. It’s easy to forget that your current customers too, can support you in achieving greater revenue goals with up-selling.
Customer success stories that showcase how your product has been able to adapt to growing customers shows other customers they can rely on your product for the long-haul. In this way, you can feel confident to introduce new products and/or services to your growing customers as you see fit.
How to use your customer success stories to reach potential customers
Once you’ve collected a couple of strong customer success stories, how can you leverage them to reach more potential customers? Today, I’m going to share with your some of my proven strategies to do this…
- Create a designated “customer stories” page
…or a “case studies” page; whatever floats your boat. The point is, if you haven’t already, do create a designated page on your website to feature your awesome customer success stories. Especially if you’re just starting to build out a marketing strategy, free product validation should always be welcome.
Over time, you’ll be able to build out quite a sizable collection of these stories that can be used to target different customer personas. This way, your sales team can also make use of them to sell your product to various potential customers.
- Reference your customer in a blog article
If your company website has a blog, as many do nowadays, you can include a reference to your latest customer success story in the article. That’s one way to start building links to an otherwise unnoticed page.
To take that one step further, consider submitting the blog article to external sites for syndication. By doing that, you’ll be able to reach new audiences beyond those that would normally visit your website.
- Share your customer stories all over social media
This one is a no-brainer of course. Share your customer success stories on every possible social media platform and forums that you know your potential customers use. It’s easy to do and not to mention—free to use!
- Reference customer stories during keynote presentations
Local meetups, networking events and conferences are great places to meet like-minded people and customers. They’re always looking for subject matter experts to speak to niche audiences, so make sure to find out what events are coming up.
Once you’ve landed a speaking opportunity at an event, it’s time to craft the perfect presentation. This will be another opportunity for you to make use of customer success stories you’ve collected to convince your audience your product offers real value.
After your presentation, you’ll want to have your sales team follow-up by emailing all attendees with the full version of your customer story. It’s a fantastic starting place for a conversation.
- Remember to encourage your customer to share it with their network
You know, your customers probably have similar businesses in their network. So after you’ve worked long and hard to craft and share their customer success story, don’t forget to share it with your customer themselves and encourage them to share it with their network.
The easiest way to do this is by reaching out directly to your customer’s marketing team. Marketing teams are always looking for new content to share and the story that sheds a positive light on their brand is always a win.
So, with that in mind, share the customer success stories with each of your respective customers’ marketing teams and provide them with appropriate prompts to share it with their network.
Now that’s customer advocacy.
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