Creating a reason for customers to share their story

As any fisherman worth his salt knows, in order to catch some fish, you need to know how to bait the hook.

With customer storytelling, it’s no different. Sure, there are some customers who will share their stories for free. In fact, when it comes to sharing stories for free, customers respond as follows:

  • 67% will give a star rating (or 1 through 5 rating) for free
  • 27% will provide a written review for free
  • 22% will provide a photo for free
  • 8% will provide a video for free

The largest reasons for this drop off is the time required for the customer to participate, as well as the personal exposure for sharing their story (with video involving the most personal identity and exposure).

If you are planning on doing an un-incentivized program, then definitely check out our thoughts on Planning + Building customer storytelling automation.

Otherwise, here’s some useful tidbits about finding the right incentives for your community.

First, it’s important to know that some customers won’t share their story no matter how much of an incentive you provide.

Customers would responded that “there is not enough money in the world that would cause me to share my story” by:

  • 4% Star Rating
  • 4% Written Review
  • 11% Photo
  • 17% video

However, for everyone else, there’s some bait you can put on the hook to reward them for their time, and drive more participation for your program.

Although this data will vary by community, in general when it comes to sharing a story, the average customer would expect the following for their story:

  • $22.78 for a star rating
  • $49.85 for a written review
  • $60.85 for a photo
  • $126.13 for a video

It’s also worth noting that, on average, men expect 17% more than women do (which is intuitive for anyone who’s ever coaxed a man to give his opinion J ).

It’s important to know, though, that there are plenty of ways to incentivize stories.

  • Free product ($25, guaranteed) – this has the highest appeal, with between 53-61% of people responding (based on story type).
  • Product Discount (15% or more) – this is the next highest, with responses varying from 28-50%
  • Sweepstakes ($5,000 or more) – sweepstakes work best for photo and video campaigns, but also work for other story types, with responses varying 38-44%

There are a whole host of other options to consider. To spark your brainstorm, here’s a bit more data for average communities:

  • Free Shipping ranks 4th on the list, with the added bonus of adding an extra incentive for an additional purchase
  • Free T-shirt – it’s a great way to get some more swag out there, and it ranked 5th on our list
  • Featured on .com – promoting your content prominently on your website can also motivate more people to share, coming up 6th on our list
  • Featured on TV – although this ranks 7th on our list across the board, for photo and video it came up #4, which makes sense for that segment of your community wanting their ten seconds of fame

So be creative in the way your reward your community, but make sure you give them a reason to take action, and take action now!

Interested in learning more? Check out our webinar on The Science of Storytelling to learn more about how you can get started, or check out our Customer Storytelling Campaign Checklist to learn more about what you can do to get started today.