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Five Hottest Ways to Use Customer Stories in ’10

Humans have always told stories and it’s still the best currency for communication

Ever walked through the living room when someone else is watching TV (on your way somewhere else), and just had to stop right there and watch?

I’d be willing to bet it was a compelling story that drew you in (if it wasn’t some sultry hamburger ad).

Humans have always told stories and it’s still the best currency for communication.

If anything, we rely on stories more than ever to be seen or heard in a sea of messages.

What’s changed are the media we use.

So what’s hot now in sharing customer success stories and case studies?

Here are my 5 predictions for the hottest ways to use your stories in ‘10. Drop a comment on your top ways.

1. Blogs
An estimated 77% of active web users read blogs. They’ve proven to be powerful drivers of search engine traffic.

Even better, those following your blog are interested in your particular topic, giving you the perfect target audience.

Share your best customer stories on your blog – either in full or linked back to the full story on your website.

Focus on the customer’s experience and path to success, not just tooting your own horn.

Here’s a great example.

And finally, be sure to get the customer’s permission before you publish anything with their name on it.

2. Twitter
Enticing Twitter content gets fresh eyeballs on your blog or website. A decent percentage of my own web traffic comes from Twitter.

Customer stories are among the more interesting pieces of content you can share.

Mention a compelling customer story and link back to it on your blog or website.

Several of my clients regularly Tweet their customer stories, proving to be a source of new traffic to their sites.

Be sure to give it a compelling headline, and keep the Tweet short to encourage Retweeting.

Remember to follow what has become Twitter protocol of sharing more helpful links/Tweets than self-promotional ones.

3. Video
Video continues its hot streak.

Consider capturing short versions of your customer success stories and comments on video, or use video technology that allows viewers to navigate to chapter marks.

Some surveys indicate two-thirds still prefer written stories, but if possible, have multiple ways that your audience can consume your stories.

Then post the videos on your website, blog, YouTube (the third largest search engine) and other sites like Viddler.

Check out more video tips here.

4. Sales Conversations
Sure, you may have your video and written stories nicely displayed everywhere.

But you don’t really know whether those powerful stories have reached the right prospects.

Make sure those hot prospects know your best customer successes. Encourage sales reps to tell them in sales conversations.

To that end, communicate clearly and often to reps where your customer case studies and success stories reside on your website or intranet.

Discuss those stories in sales meetings.

Do everything you can to ensure that when a rep talks with a prospect, she knows just the perfect story to mention in conversation.

5. Awards
I’m big on awards these days – after seeing some Fortune 500 companies jump at the chance to tell their stories for awards opportunities.

Why? We all like to be recognized for our efforts. Your customers are no different.

If they’re doing cool, best practices things, and your solution helps with that, find relevant awards programs and ask their permission to submit them.

You might be surprised how on board they get for an awards submission when they might not publish their story as a case study.

If your customer wins, their story gets natural publicity through the awards process.

Also, once you have all the juicy details, ask if you can make that public on your website.

What are your predictions for the hottest ways to use customer case studies and success stories right now?

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard is the founder and president of Compelling Cases, Inc. and author of "Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset." She has helped dozens of companies create and manage nearly 500 customer case studies and success stories over the past decade. Casey is featured in numerous books, articles, and teleclasses. She consults with organizations one-on-one and conducts online customer-story classes.

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