I’ve worked with and for a number of web development & design businesses over the years. Some big, some small. Some good, some bad. If you fall into the ‘good’ camp, you’ll more than likely have lots of clients that provide really positive testimonials for you. Some of you might have case studies or client stories that share more detail of your work with your clients.
This is the second of my ‘Stories To Tell’ series. The aim is to give web developers, web designers and anyone involved in the creation of awesome websites some story inspiration. I’ll share 5 different client story ideas for you to help build trust, get the attention you deserve and ultimately drive more of the right sales.
In terms of business purchases, buying a website is hard. As an industry, web development is still very young. In most cases, buyers aren’t experienced or knowledgeable. In other words, they don’t know what they don’t know. Unfortunately, what that means is that the industry is rife with absolute chancers.
For legal reasons, I’ll avoid naming and shaming, but I’ve come across my fair share of web development gurus/ninjas/experts who take advantage of their buyers lack of knowledge. For me, there are two types of web development company – those that are in the business of selling sites and those that are in the business of making a difference to their clients.
If you’re the latter, read on. If you’re in it for a ‘quick buck’ go away – this post isn’t for you.
Client Story Inspiration for web professionals
One of the advantages of the old internetwebdotcom thing is that it’s measurable. Using Google Analytics or any number of tools can give you a really powerful story to tell your clients. If they’ve got an existing website, make sure you get a benchmark of their current traffic. That way, you can show a genuine ‘before and after’.
If you’re offering paid for advertising or SEO services you can apply the same logic. Show the difference in cold, hard numbers. A word of warning though, use the numbers that make sense, keep it simple and make the data as accessible as you can.
Proving the success with numbers is only part of the story. Yes, a very important part, but what the client wants isn’t traffic, they want business. That’s the metric that really matters. Being able to tell the story of the change that the website has had on their business is really powerful.
Tell the story of how many more enquiries have been generated and of how many sales have been made. If the clients willing, talk real numbers or percentages.
‘We grew our sales by £500,000 in 3 months’
is much better than –
‘Sales are up’.
But rather than talking in general terms get your client to share a specific story of a sale to their client. In other words, explain the role the site played on their buying journey.
Don’t underestimate the fact that people buy emotionally. Us humans are irrational beasts. Sometimes logic goes out the window. I’ve worked with people who have had a disastrous experience with a previous web development company. The ‘once bitten, twice shy’ mentality kicks in and makes them a more cautious buyer in the future.
Telling the story of someone who’s had a website nightmare in the past and how different their experience was with you can make all the difference. What you’re looking for is recognition from your prospective client that you’ve helped people just like them.
Trust is a massive thing, especially if, as mentioned above, your prospective client has had a bad experience in the past. Naturally, they’ll be on the cynical side of the street. Sharing your success stories will help, but illustrating the way you work can pay even greater dividends.
In other words, giving them the knowledge of HOW you achieve successful outcomes for your clients can let them know what to expect. If you’ve got your own process or workflow, tell a real story of it in action. Sharing the steps on its own is good, but you’ll make it easier to digest if you wrap it around a real story.
Getting a website live is often considered the end of the story for some web design businesses. The good ones know that it’s just the start. If your aim is to let your clients manage their site through a Content Management System (CMS), like WordPress or Squarespace, training and support is vital. The best web professionals I know spend a lot of time helping their clients become self-sufficient.
So tell the stories of the training you provide and the support services you deliver to make sure people understand you’ll not abandon them in their hour of need. Get as specific as possible.
Creating a bank of stories is a smart move. The idea is that you can serve up the right story at the right time. Don’t just have them on your site, make them part of your entire sales process. Your client stories can show how you’re different from your competitors. It can also illustrate above all else that you’re in the business of helping their business thrive. In other words – you’re not selling a website, you’re selling a real solution to a very real business problem.
And, if you’ve already got stories, great – you’ll find some ideas on how to get the most value out of them in my 5 Ways To Make Your Client Stories Fly, blog post.
If you’ve got any specific questions or examples of your own case studies or client stories leave a comment or send us a message.
I'm a storyteller, case study specialist and the founder of The Story Edge. I want more people to tell more stories. I write stories, teach people to do the same and generally encourage people to use storytelling in their business.