The Success of Success Stories

A case study or success story not only raises the appeal of a website but also opens up other ways of promoting your business. Too many business owners rely, in vain, on their customers (or clients) to provide testimonials, when most would be delighted to tell their stories if only they were asked.

As your business returns to partial or full operation, now is the time to remind your customers, your employees, and yourself of your past successes.

The best case studies or success stories always:

  • Present the customer’s perspective on the problem. The problem you believe you solved may not be the problem that drove the customer to you and may not be the reason why the customer most appreciated your efforts. But that is the problem your future customers will relate to–and the one you should focus upon.
  • Show both you and the customer to advantage. After all, the customer had the intelligence and initiative to call you–and specifically you–to solve a problem.
  • Explain what you did from your point of view as well. Many testimonials fail to give a complete picture; a case study or success story fills in the missing pieces.
  • Has a plot. After all, if nothing went wrong and you did nothing to fix it, where is the story? Simply stating that you did “this thing” for “that person” isn’t a story. A story includes the who, what, why, when, and where–and most of all, the who cares?
  • Includes quotes. Direct quotes lend immediacy to the story and help you build a direct relationship to the reader.

Putting together several short case studies creates a white paper or an informational article that you can publish on your website and in industry or local magazines and newspapers. Testimonials drawn from the customer interview are usually more specific and more interesting than one-off testimonials because the customer has been transported back to the original situation, rather than focused solely on the results.

In earlier posts, I detailed the three steps to a great case study and explained how to conduct great client interviews. But if interviewing, contributing to, and writing success stories or case studies appears like an overwhelming task, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to send you samples that show the excitement you can generate with successful success stories.

From our base in Peterborough, NH, TWP Marketing & Technical Communications writes marketing copy that engages your customers and delivers your message with accuracy, clarity, and passion.

Interviews: the Right Questions Equal the Best Stories

Recently, a client asked me to list questions that could be asked during interviews of the client’s customers as a basis for success stories. I am a great advocate of success stories. They combine customer quotes with the company’s marketing message to create a targeted, interesting, before-and-after success story: here’s what we did for someone like you; here’s what we can do for you.

Before any interview, you should gather information about the interviewee and his or her company. Make sure you know as much as possible about the project from the company’s point of view, never forgetting that the customer’s point of view may be quite different. During the interview, these five questions are among the most important:

  • What drove you (the customer) to seek out this product or service?
  • What did you hope to gain? OR What problem did you hope to solve?
  • What results did you actually get?
  • What benefit surprised you–a result you weren’t expecting?
  • If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? OR What advice would give someone else with a similar problem?

The question about results should introduce a discussion about actual metrics. Results may be measured by, for example, numbers (a percentage increase in profits) or actions (a change in services or products) or attitudes (customers better understand the company’s mission). Sometimes the result is a negative: for example, a company trying to motivate employees realizes why their past efforts did not work or a company debating whether to expand to a new market decides against it. Negative results can also be successes.

If you have been waiting for your customers to sing your praises, wait no longer! Contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications for success stories that excite your marketplace. We ask the right questions for the best stories.