- How to find the best customers to feature so that your customer stories have maximum impact
- The exact questions to ask your customers, as well as how to reach out to them
- The best practices to write, publish, and repurpose each customer success story
How to Write Customer Success Stories That Sell (Template)Click To Tweet
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What is a Customer Success Story?A customer success story paints a vivid picture of the benefits of working with your company. It takes the simple benefits of your product or service to the next level because it places them in a real-life setting. It shows how your customer was able to solve a tangible problem and the exact way they did it. Right now, you might be thinking of customer success stories the same way you think about testimonials. However, testimonials typically serve as a bite-sized trust indicator on your website (for example, homepage or product page). On another hand, customer success stories act as a bigger, standalone piece of content that takes your prospect on a journey with your existing customer. In it, they can learn about the challenges, solutions, and outcomes your customer has experienced. This helps them imagine themselves having those same outcomes if they’re going through the same challenges. When you consider that the leading reason B2B buyers are hesitant to engage with vendors is because marketers are sending them irrelevant content, customer success stories are about as relevant as it gets—especially towards the bottom of the funnel.
Why Should You Create Customer Success Stories?Wondering if customer success stories are right for your industry or company size? The answer is always yes. Check out these benefits of customer success stories to learn why.
Help Your Prospect Visualize the SolutionListing your product’s features is good. Listing the benefits that come from those features is better.
Listing your product's features is good. Listing the benefits that come from those features is better.Click To Tweet
Empower Your Sales and Marketing TeamsThe more customer success stories you build, the more powerful tool they become for your prospect-facing teams. The reason? You can write success stories about the types of customers you want to attract more. For example, CoSchedule can be used by in-house marketing teams of different sizes, as well as by marketing agencies. CoSchedule’s customer stories reflect that, and they make it easy to nurture many types of potential customers. This benefit ripples out even further, because customer success stories can become:
- Evergreen resources that attract relevant traffic from search engines
- Reusable content across different formats and platforms
- An asset for your prospect to get other stakeholders on board
Your Customer Stories Become Your Company StoriesMany companies try to craft a clever, creative, unique statement of company’s purpose. As a result, it often ends up sounding vague, generic, and anything but unique. In her Harvard Business Review essay, writer and consultant Erica Keswin shared the way around this: highlighting specific stories from customers. Here’s why:
“Stories are free, always available, and are such a core part of our human DNA that they automatically make us feel good. Especially when they’re true. And best of all, when a company brings true stories to light, the culture becomes one of paying attention. Leaders and managers learn to keep their eyes and ears on what’s most important — the real experiences of real people.”She continues by sharing examples of companies like Lyft and JetBlue, who have made customer stories the core of their communications, both internally and externally. Erica wraps up with a reminder to “start paying attention to the stories unfolding in your organization, and figure out how to help the best ones spread. Because people have a lot to say, and if we’re smart, we’ll start listening.”
Find Your Ideal Customers For Great Stories of SuccessHow can you identify customers that would make the best success stories? Here are two main strategies you can use.
Follow the Indicators of Happy CustomersThere are some universal happy customer traits. For example, these customers:
- Have been your customer for a long time
- Spend more money with you than most of your customers
- Buy from you frequently
- Refer others to you
- Are easy to support from a customer service perspective
Look For Power UsersTo take it to the next level, look for customers that use your product frequently and regularly. Of all your customers, they’re the ones most likely to experience measurable results that wouldn’t have happened otherwise. If you’re a software company, digging into your product analytics might be all it takes to find these customers. If you sell products or services other than software, dive into places like your:
- Ecommerce reports
- Customer service tool (notes, chat logs, call transcripts, emails, etc.)
- Loyalty program software
- Project management system (especially if you sell services rather than products)
How to Reach Out to Customers For Your Customer Success StoryYou have a list of potential customers to feature as success stories. Your next step is to reach out to them.
You have a list of potential customers to feature as success stories. Your next step is to reach out to them.Click To Tweet
- You’ve already verified that these customers are successful thanks to you — they’ll be happy to hear from you!
- By featuring them as a success story, you’ll give them more visibility — it’s a win-win situation
Email title: [Customer’s first name], we’d love to feature you as [your company’s name] success story Hi [customer’s first name], First things first: thank you for your business! We feel lucky to work with you on [solving a specific challenge], and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future brings next. We’re building a library of customer success stories. You and your team immediately came to mind—we’ve noticed how [much/frequently/in-depth] you’re using [product/service name] and we’d love to hear what you’ve achieved with it. Are you open to being featured? The process should be simple. We’ll set up a [X-minute long phone/video call] where I’ll ask you around [number] questions about your challenges, experience, and results. What do you think? Either way, thank you again—looking forward to hearing from you! Best, [Your name]
20 Questions to Ask in Your Customer Success Story InterviewYour customer can have the most impressive success story imaginable, but if you don’t ask them the right questions, you won’t get the information you need to make their story resonate with your potential customers. You’ll want to cover some important bases with your questions, including:
- Customer background
- The challenge the customer faced, i.e. their environment before the decision to purchase
- Their process for finding a solution
- Their chosen solution
- Outcomes and benefits they achieved
- Future plans
How to Turn That Information Into a Piece of Website ContentYou’ve interviewed your customer. Now let's turn what you’ve learned into a powerful piece of content that will live on your website.
Building Blocks of a Customer Success StoryYour customer success story needs the following parts:
- A strong, click-enticing headline
- Company information: industry, company size, revenue, and other facts pertinent to your product
- Brief overview: an introductory paragraph that calls out most impressive outcomes and metrics
- The story itself: a narrative that includes your customer’s challenge, solution they’ve implemented, and the outcome they’ve experienced
Aim to keep customer success stories under 500 words.Click To Tweet
Optimize Each Part of Your Customer Success StoryLet’s dive into each of the building blocks so you can make them the best they can be.
1. HeadlineTo make sure your customer success story gets opened by the right people, your headline must be up to scratch. Make sure your headline states:
- Your customer’s company name, or another relevant identifier (for example, “a global fitness brand”)
- A compelling benefit or outcome
- Bonus: a data point
- Optional: your company name or product name
2. Company Information and SetupIf your reader decided to read your customer success story thanks to its headline, this is the section that will convince them they’re in the right place. One piece of information per row works best, formatted for easy scanning. Check out CoSchedule’s Amp My Brand example: One thing’s for sure: if you’re a 5-person marketing agency with 10-20 franchisee clients, you’ll immediately be drawn to this story. That’s the idea behind this section. Depending on your offering specifics, you could also add:
- Geographic location
- Job position of your interviewee
- Market share
- Their target audience
- Products/services used
3. Introductory Paragraph (Overview)Use this simple strategy to ensure your introductory section is appealing: inverted pyramid.
Use the inverted pyramid as a simple writing strategy to ensure your introductory section is appealing.Click To Tweet
“Blue Medora has experienced incredible company growth of 80% year over year. But their 6-person marketing team struggled to adjust to that growth and complete an increasing number of projects on time. After a year of using CoSchedule, the team went from completing 5 projects to 66 projects on time per month. That’s 13x more projects delivered on time.”
4. The NarrativeAll great stories have one thing in common: a well thought out structure. They take us through an obstacle that the protagonist is facing, and they end with a resolution. Image source In customer success stories, that includes:
- The challenge
- The solution
- The results
5 Ideas to Share and Repurpose Your Customer Success StoriesWhy would your customer success story stop at your website? By repurposing it on other channels, you’ll give each story the extra mileage. Here are some ideas.
Send Your Customer Story to Your Email ListYour email newsletter is an ideal way to share a customer success story. Why? Because it delivers a personal story in a personal way.
An email newsletter is an ideal way to share a customer success story because it delivers a personal story in a personal way.Click To Tweet
Turn Quotes and Visuals Into Social Media GraphicsSocial media posts with images spark more engagement and shares than those without images. To make the most out of this, use the data you already have (your customer shared it with you!) and make it visual. You can create a simple graphic that quickly shows your customer’s results, like the one below, and share it along with relevant copy: Alternatively, you can turn your customer’s statements into images with direct quotes on them (bonus tip: a single customer story can generate a whole range of quotes!). Here’s how Intercom uses this strategy on their socials:
Add Customer Quotes to Press ReleasesIf you’re raising new funding, launching a new product, or opening new jobs, you’re likely reaching out to journalists. To appeal to them, same rules apply as with any other audience: they need proof and reassurance that what you’re saying has deserved their attention. So use your customer stories in your press releases to give it to them!
Strengthen Your Ads With TestimonialsUse the main outcomes from your customer success stories as testimonials in your ad campaigns. According to Marketing Experiments, using a real person associated with your product instead of a stock photo increases conversion by 35%. Here’s a great example from Infolinks:
Turn Your Written Customer Success Story Into a VideoVideo marketing and its benefits have been around for a while, so this is just a reminder: if you can, leverage video for your customer stories. Video will put a human face on it; it will help your potential customers resonate with a human being that experienced the challenges described in the written version of the story. A great example comes from a Marketing 360 story of Liftech (side note: pay attention to the first two sentences, which immediately paint a vivid picture of the challenge Liftech had to overcome):
Your Customer Success Story ChecklistWant to start creating high-performing customer stories? Here’s a checklist for you to follow (and remember to grab our template for writing customer success story content!).
- Identify happy customers
- Review CRM data
- Talk to your sales and support teams
- Identify power users
- Review product analytics
- Review ecommerce/sales reports
- Scan through your customer service tool (notes, chat logs, call transcripts, emails)
- Analyze data from your loyalty program software, project management system, or any other place that has data on customer behavior
- Email the customers you identified
- Set up your customer interview
- Review and tailor the list of 20 questions to your company, industry, and customer
- Decide which company information (e.g. industry, company size, revenue) needs to be prominent to your reader at the top of the story
- Create the company information section
- Build three parts of your customer story
- The challenge
- The solution
- The results
- Write the introductory paragraph (remember the inverted pyramid approach)
- Write a strong headline
- Publish your customer success story as a standalone piece of content on your website
- List other channels and formats for your customer story (e.g. email, social media graphics, ads, video)
Start Winning Your Ideal Customers With Success StoriesYou know all the steps. You have all the tools — a template, customer questions, and a checklist — to start creating high-performing customer success stories. Don’t delay taking action. The sooner you start writing and publishing your customer success stories, the faster you’ll convert your website visitors into leads and customers.
The sooner you start writing and publishing your customer success stories, the faster you'll convert your website visitors into leads and customers.Click To Tweet