23 ways to use your customer stories
If you’re reading this, you’d probably agree customer stories are worth their weight in gold. Your prospects can more easily connect with a customer’s journey (than a sales pitch). It’s a story they can relate to.
But I don’t want to focus on their worth, I want to highlight how to get more return from your investment. How you can use (and repurpose) customer stories in countless ways to support your sales and marketing team. And your wider business team too.
So, stop dumping customer stories on your website and hoping for the best. Discover how they can work harder and make more impact.
If you’re feeling impatient, here are my 23 ways in a concise list. Should you want more inspiration, I've briefly tackled each idea in turn.
23 ways to use your customer stories
- On your website
- Create a branded PDF
- Create a branded one-page summary PDF
- Use them to follow up sales calls
- Incorporate them into presentations
- Include them in your proposals
- Create a Q&A blog
- Use them to support award nominations
- Use them to support investment proposals
- Pitch them to trade press
- Create social media posts
- Create a LinkedIn carousel
- Create audio snippets
- Create an audio summary
- Circulate internally to boost morale
- Show them to other customers
- Use them to check in with dormant customers
- Use them to up-sell (and cross-sell)
- Use them within your email marketing
- Create a book of stories
- Use brief quotes across your marketing material
- Create printed handouts
- Use them within your staff training
#1 On your website
Obvious, yes, but still worth a comment.
Ideally, create a separate section to highlight your customer stories. And think about how you want to structure and design those pages. Aim for consistency. You might include a headshot of the customer and highlight a key comment. Make it a pleasure to read the page.
Once created, think how you could link your stories to other website sections. The home page? Relevant products? Make them as visible as you can.
#2 Create a branded PDF
I’ve seen several clients do this well. By taking the time to create a branded PDF, you have an asset to use in many ways. Some businesses use them to create gated lead magnets. This can work well for certain business types.
You might also prefer to have branded PDFs on your website instead of web pages. And as you’ll discover (when you read on), branded PDFs have further uses across your business.
#3 Create a branded one-page summary PDF
A customer story can be up to 1,500 words. In some instances, that can feel like too much. So, why not create a 300-word summary? You can brand it as a one-pager PDF too. These are especially useful for sale pitch decks. They're handy for many other activities too.
#4 Use them to follow up sales calls
When created well, customer stories offer value and insight without directly selling. So, why not include one or two in your follow-up sales emails?
You could add links to web pages or attach those branded PDFs for a consistent, professional touch.
#5 Incorporate them into presentations
Bring your presentations to life with snippets from customer stories. Depending on your format you could include your one-page summary. Alternatively, you could embed key points and comments from one – or several – stories. In this way, your customers help communicate what matters to your presentation audience.
#6 Include them in your proposals
When you’re trying to move closer to a sale, adding customer reinforcement can really shift the dial. Just add a link or two in the proposal. Or send over some branded PDFs to accompany it.
#7 Create a Q&A blog
You can often focus on sections of a customer story to create an interesting blog. Perhaps they talked about your amazing onboarding process or a surprising piece of value from your offer. Weaving your words around their comments could create a refreshing read.
Alternatively, try collating comments from several stories to create a new blog. Again, you could focus on a particular issue or a common question. A Q&A style works well here.
#8 Use them to support award nominations
Who doesn’t love an award or two? Nomination forms can often require evidence of your greatness, so why not incorporate your customer stories?
#9 Use them to support investment proposals
On the theme of providing evidence, when you’re pitching for funding, customer stories are powerful. In their own words, let your customers demonstrate how effective your thing is.
#10 Pitch them to trade press
Trade magazines have pages to fill with interesting content. There’s nothing better than a relevant story. Many editors welcome tales about a business that's overcome a challenge or transformed part of its operations.
Because customer stories aren’t about you selling your services, editorial teams are often interested. I have clients who’ve had many published in this way. All it takes is a conversation to establish the potential in your sector.
#11 Create social media posts
You’ll want to highlight every new customer story wherever you’re socially present. But don’t just do this once. Trying creating three different posts, coming at it from a different angle each time. Then weave these posts into your schedule.
#12 Create a LinkedIn carousel
As I’m a B2B copywriter I focus on LinkedIn. You might too. A carousel (PDF document that displays as slides) makes a superb visual post to showcase your customer story. Keep the copy punchy though. Focus on milestones and key comments, then link to the full story.
#13 Create audio snippets
These depend on you recording your customer interview in the right way. Just imagine if you could pull out a couple of their verbal comments and play them to your audience. That’s exactly what an audio snippet does.
Perfect for social media, you can embed them on your website too. You can even use them in presentations and pitches.
#14 Create an audio summary
Another asset to develop from your recording is an audio summary. Whilst a snippet is generally under a minute, a summary might be 20 minutes long. Imagine having a collection of audio summaries on your website. You could even create your own podcast with them.
#15 Circulate internally to boost morale
Have you considered the internal value of customer stories? Everyone loves a pat on the back and circulating a positive story works wonders for morale. Make sure this is part of your process as it costs nothing to do.
#16 Show them to other customers
One of my clients did this. Their other customer said: “We want to do what they’ve done!” Sharing 'best practice' can rub off. And that means more business for you.
#17 Use them to check in with dormant customers
Got a list of old customers that have gone quiet? Email them a customer story. No sales push, just say you thought they might find it interesting.
Of course, you’ve then got reason to follow up and perhaps arrange a long-overdue chat.
#18 Use them to up-sell (or cross-sell)
It’s common for customers to only know you for the product they’re buying from you. Customer stories provide an easy opportunity to highlight new product areas to other customers. Or to highlight the impact of upgrading their service with you.
#19 Use them within your email marketing
When you have long sales funnels, you might nurture warm prospects with regular emails. Aiming to provide value at this point, highlighting a new customer story is perfect. Plus, you gain an opportunity to follow up and ask what they thought.
You could create an entire email series based on your customer stories. Add some automation and it works hard for you 24/7.
#20 Create a book of stories
You've got a handful of customer stories? Great. Pull them together in a book. It could be digital or printed – whatever works for you. A storybook is great to hand out at events or after a significant sales pitch.
#21 Use brief quotes across your marketing material
Every customer story helps fill your customer quote bank. Aim to extract at least three short quotes from every story. Then mix these up and use them across your marketing materials – website, brochure, event graphics, proposals, social media – you name it.
#22 Create printed handouts
I’ve already alluded to this. Those branded PDFs don’t have to remain digital. Get some printed to accompany your literature. Or to leave in reception. Or to hand out at an event. Or to post (yes post) to key contacts.
That last point is a good one. Posting a printed copy can mean more people read your customer story (as it hangs about on the desk).
#23 Use them within your staff training
Customer stories explain what matters to your customers - in their own words. They tell of the problems they were experiencing and the outcomes making them happier. They provide fantastic insight to get new employees up to speed. So, make your customer stories part of your training process.
That's the end of my 23. This is what I recommend you now do: select three things you could do more of. Then do them.
Customer stories really are an incredible content marketing investment. They serve you for years and help your business in at least 23 different ways (I’m sure I’ve missed some).