Magazine stories are often referred to as feature articles, and the cover story is always a make-or-break article used to sell the publication. Magazines always want to use the BEST story they have to entice people to buy it.
Television shows are either fact or fictional stories. There are dramas, comedies, reality shows, soap operas, and heck, even the Weather Channel is getting into storytelling with its popular “When Weather Changed History” series.
Even music is nothing more than telling a story with lyrics. Some of the stories found in music are quite funny (think Weird Al Yankovic), but nevertheless, they are stories.
When used in marketing, stories can be a compelling medium. Why? Because success stories merge two influential marketing techniques: testimonials and storytelling. This powerful combination builds a memorable and relatable picture for prospects.
Think about these examples:
Weight Loss: Jenny Craig’s campaign using such Hollywood notables as Valerie Bertinelli, Jason Alexander and Sarah Rue. These success stories illustrate to everyday people that even big-name stars can struggle (and successfully win) their battle with weight. Check out these success stories …
Matching People: eHarmony’s success in matching couples – who ultimately get married – is the foundation of their marketing campaign. It is much more effective for e-Harmony to let their happy customers tell their story than it is for the company to tell you they are successful. Check out these stories …
Business Inspiration: Many magazines, books and blogs are dedicated to showing triumph despite all odds. Check out Entrepreneur.com’s success story section …
Customer success stories work because they help erase skepticism. Your prospect sees himself in a story you use, and as a result, he starts to relate to a situation one of your previous customers already experienced. (Remember, no one wants to be the guinea pig and be the first.) Additionally, your prospect gains an elevated level of trust for your company because they see that you’ve helped someone else through a similar situation they are currently experiencing.
And through this process, your prospect begins to see that your company is able to find solutions for others. From there, the prospect concludes that you should also be able to find a solution that eliminates their problem.
If you have been in business for any length of time, you have happy customers. Start thinking about the solutions you’ve already provided past customers, and how you can begin telling their success stories, gaining trust and showcasing how you find solutions for your customers.