written by john c ashworth
Some of the most influential stories written for you by an expert copywriter are often based on the testimonials, success stories, and endorsements from your current customers.
"You must build and continue to cultivate an on-going preponderance of social proof inside your small business." You need to build a system for it. It's that important to your marketing program; and therefore, should not be viewed as a one-time event. And you shouldn't feel shy or sheepish about asking for it either. The stories your customers can tell are often far more powerful than any story you could tell on your own.
People relate to other people like them, and when they find someone they can relate to, and hear them talking authentically about how your product or service helped them, it is difficult for the person listening to or reading these stories not to begin imagining their own success story.
Don't call them testimonials, either. You're more creative than that, and that's just not a great descriptive word. I think it also conjures the idea of a bunch of uptight marketing executives in the room, trying to gather testimonials to sell you something. Rather than a group of real people sharing their success story about how they too were struggling until they found your product or service.
Lastly, remember the four S's when it comes to the success stories that are surely happening and that you are very likely not taking advantage of right now to the fullest extent.
Keep them short.
Keep them specific.
Keep them sizzling.
And make sure they're signed and that you have permission to use as much personal information about the customer as-is appropriate, because the more you have - first and last name, city, occupation, etc, the more relatable they become from the outset.
Also remember now too that the FTC is watching and your stories need to reflect what can commonly be expected in terms of results, or you need to ensure placing a disclaimer somewhere that indicates the results from your story are 'not-typical.'
Video, audio, and written success stories are all formats you should be using. The format depends on the context and what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing piece.
Also, the 4S rules above are merely guidelines. For example, sometimes long stories are what you need. Just make sure they don't get lame or boring, or lack a clear point. Your prospects will lose interest in these stories quickly and tune-out if they're not interesting. Often, this means asking a lot of great questions and learning how to become an expert interviewer so that you can draw out the emotion that drives the story. Once again, I can help.