How to storify every customer success in 5-mins without costing you a penny ?

Do you “storify” each and every of your customer successes ? Why ? Why Not ?

Lets see why it is important to write a customer success story for every customer. And what is the #1 challenge and how to address it ?

How to write a customer success story for every customer, do it in 5-mins and without costing a penny !  Sounds unreal ? Read on…

 

A. Why is a customer success story important ?

Because it is A-1 Marketing content. The research by Marketing Sherpa lists customer success stories among the top 3 in terms of effectiveness.

customer_success_stories_are_high_on_effectiveness

Also read my earlier detailed article on Why Customer Success Story is a #1 Kickass Marketing Content ?


 

B. What is the #1 challenge that is stopping you ?

Lets accept it. It is lot of work !

No wonder the research done by Marketing Sherpa ranks case studies (aka customer success stories) way below in the ease of creating content index.

 

customer_success_stories_are_high_on_effort

 

Yes. Creating a customer success story needs a lot of effort, takes time and costs a lot of money !!

It easily takes a few weeks to many months to get a publishable story ready.

Cost-wise it costs anywhere from $1,000-5,000 depending on how long is the story. Videos are much more expensive costing $5,000-$10,000.

 


 

C. How to make it easy on ourselves ?

Now that we know the value of a customer success story. How can we make it easy to do a story without having to wait for weeks/months and do it without breaking the bank.

Now without disappointing my writer and agency friends –

The idea is not to say that you don’t need a writer agency to create a professional story, but to show how easy it is to write a basic story. Of-course, having an expert writer on-board definitely has its plus in terms of professionalism.

So the idea is to do the basic story with all customers. And you can always do a step-up on some of those stories to add more meat and professionalism to the story depending on the availability of time, resources and on-need basis.

 


 

D. Use this simple template

We spent a lot of time going through many many different examples of well written stories, and if we had to come up with a blue-print of a story – It would be the one you see below –

blueprint of a customer success story

We bucketed the different components into 3 buckets – low hanging , must-haves and nice-to-haves.


 

1. Add logo, images and introduction (low hanging)

Start with the low hanging fruits. It is easy to find the company’s logo, and a brief introduction about the company from their website. It is also easy to find the appropriate photo from among the existing public photos of the company by just using google image search.

It is also easy to plug-in the solution part.

 


 

2. Add challenges and benefits (must haves)

Any story should have these 3 must-have sections.

i. Benefits

and

ii. Challenges

and

iii. Title of the story

You need to work this backwards. Start with benefits first.

The core of the benefits should be in-line with the benefits of the product or service you are trying to sell. You could add additional benefits as per the customer’s scenario.

The challenges would be opposite of the benefits. Think of the challenges and benefits as a BEFORE and AFTER scenario, with the solution being that magic wand.

The title of the story would be 1 line summary of the story. “How xxx company accomplished yyy with help from zzz company’s expertise”.

Of-course, the best person to provide inputs here would be the Sales or Customer Success person.

Tip:

1. I  would suggest would be to have a standard list of benefits and challenges, and then pick the ones that are relevant to this customer case. Now rephrase it by adding the customer specifics  to personalize it to this specific customer situation.

2. Use the rule of three. 3-benefits + 3-challenges.

 


 

3. Add testimonials and metrics  (nice to haves)

If you can manage to get a testimonial or quote from the customer, it is awesome because it adds more credibility to the story. If you manage to get the quote, then including a photo of the person would be super awesome. Typically people do not hesitate if you say that you want to include their photo along with the testimonial.

Metrics are much more tricky.

But if you are in a SaaS business then you have access to the operations data and metrics, and it makes it a lot easier to state the facts. And you already have it with you is a Big win !

 


 

4. Make it engaging, not boring.

How ?

After reading through 1000’s of stories – one thing i can say for sure is that i hate to read through texty stories. It is so damn boring !! Now imagine the same if not a worse feeling by your to-be-customer who is supposed to get “convinced” after reading these stories  🙂

You can make it more engaging by a simple trick – By having more images than text.

There are numerous studies that show how we engage more with images versus text. Apparently human brain processes visuals 60,000 X faster than text. (source: The power of visual storytelling – Ekaterina Walter)

A recent study by SHIFT shows how tweets with images are 5X more engaging than the ones with just text. This is very relevant here because twitter is a platform for instant gratification. You get it or not. There is no second chance. No-one searches for old tweets.

Engagement_of_images_versus_text

(Source: Jan 2014 Twitter Engagement Study: Photo vs. Text – by SHIFT)

From the customer success story perspective – this means cut down on the text and have more visuals. Even if you want to provide the details break it down to bullet points.

Someone will read through 4 pages of boring text is a myth. Does not happen in today’s world. If you need more than 1 page to convey the story then something is missing ?

Moreover it is relatively easier to get images than content for text.

You can use any of the following – customer head shots, workplace/factory/product photos shared publicly by customers, screenshots of your product-in-use, charts, and more – you can get very creative here 😉


 

5. Quicker email approvals

Once you have the story drafted pop it into an email and send it to your customer for approval.

Try to keep it simple, and minimal on legal jargon so that there is less scope for delays and rejections.

Below is a standard email text for the approval.


Dear Jane Doe,

Thank you for being an amazing customer. We have put together a short write-up about your success. Please review and let us know if you would want to add anything more ? 

We would like to use this in our marketing communications and it would be nice if you could read through the below text and provide your consent.

ABC would like to distribute these materials. This includes posting them on and making them available for download through the ABC Web site and social media sites. In addition, ABC would like to use portions of these materials, including your corporate logo and quotes attributed to your employees, in ABC marketing materials.

Please confirm that XYZ approves by responding to this email saying that you approve.

Thanks & rgds

John Doe, XXX Company


(disclaimer – I am not a legal expert. In case of any doubt please consult your legal person for the right verbiage as per your industry, country and company risk profile. But the idea is to keep it simple such that people don’t have to run to their legal department to decipher what the hell you want them to sign on)

Tip: It would work best if the sales or customer success person sends it out, and follows it up with a phone call. Of-course. 


 

You are done !

Now that you have customer success story – there begins the most exciting part – promoting them !

Always remember customer success stories are #1 as a marketing content – do a favor to yourself and your customer by NOT piling them somewhere in the corner.

Paint the town red by promoting them everywhere.

Check out this earlier post by me on 25 Ways to use your Stories in Marketing

Now over to you. What has been your experience ?

Do you have other tips to make story writing easy, yet powerful ?


 

Rivet.ly (http://rivet.ly)  is an “intelligent marketing hub” for your customer success stories and social proof content. In addition to helping you automatically manage your ‘our-customers’ tab, It also helps you to put together a story using any kind of customer proof point, using cool templates. Rivet.ly helps you to spend more time with your customers, while helping create and promote their stories. 

If you are interested in an “exclusive” private beta – contact Anupam


 

How to Transform Your (Boring) Video Testimonials & Customer Success Stories into a Marketing Opportunity ?

In this article, I will not-be talking about 1. “Why you should have Video Testimonials ?” AND I will not be talking about 2. “How to shoot Good Videos ?”

Because It is a given that Customer Videos are one of the very powerful Social Proofs, and a very credible one it is because for the obvious reasons associated with anything video. And I am not the competent person to comment about the nuances of shooting a good video.

Instead, I will be talking about how to make your video testimonials a very effective marketing tool – effective in getting you more conversions and more leads, which should be the end objective of any customer success asset or social proof in the 1st place.


 

Bonus Tip #1 :

There are many different kinds of Social Proof – Testimonials, Photos, Case Studies/Success Stories, Videos, Reviews, Social Mentions, etc etc. See the complete list of Social Proofs here – 21-Kinds of Social Proof that you can use in your Marketing

Also see what type of social proof is better for you –  user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content – which social proof works better ?

 


 

The 6 Rules to Evaluate Your Video Testimonials & Success Stories

Lets look at video testimonials from various popular companies for best practices. We will do it based on the following 6 parameters. In the end – we will also look at 2 of my favorite video testimonials.

1. Preview – Why Should I See It ?

Unlike text, videos are not suitable for skimming. Providing a preview in the form of an executive summary is a good way of attracting visitors to see the video. It would also be a great idea to provide a text transcript, if possible.

2. Duration – Design for Low Attention Span !

Short is sweet. The attention span of a typical viewer is in seconds. Therefore the duration of the video should not be more than 1-2 mins at the max. Shorter the duration, the higher the chances of the viewer seeing what you want them to see. It is also the main reason for the popularity of video formats like Vine, which are 6sec videos ! In addition, it is quicker to load a short video.

3. Engaging – Make it Interesting.

It is boring to see just talking heads in a video. Make it interesting by covering the context as visually as possible, and making it interactive where possible.

4. Compelling – Does it Convince to Buy ?

Remember the convincing power of a testimonial video  is not directly proportional to the cost of the production. Having a professional crew shoot the video, and lots of editing can make the video look good, but that need not mean that it will really impress your prospects. In this respect, User generated videos will be way cheaper, and might do a better job almost all times.

5. CTA (Calls-To-Action) – Make Sure it does not become a Dead End.

What is the desired next step for the viewer after seeing the video, and is that obvious even without seeing the full video ? remember most people don’t see the full video, no matter the duration. Therefore you need to have your CTAs very clear and prominent.

6. Promotion – How are you Promoting the Videos ?

Any piece of social proof is a valuable marketing resource. Are you actively using them in your content and inbound marketing ? If not, it is a lost opportunity if you are under utilizing a valuable resource. This is where using a popular 3rd party platforms like YouTube helps. It allows users to discover your video as part of the search features of Youtube and Google.


 

Bonus Tip #2 :

You can promote your social proof in many many ways. see my recent article on how to use your customer testimonials (including videos) to boost your marketing –  Customer Testimonial Examples: 25-Ways to Boost your Marketing (w/ best practices)


 

Now lets see how to apply this to some popular Customer Video Testimonials.

Author’s disclaimer – I am in no way associated with any of these companies. I allowed Google Search to give me the top Video Testimonials  which is a fair way of going about this. The intention of the analysis is purely for educational and best practices purpose. 

Example 1 – Qualys


 

qualys_videos_index

qualys_videos_Novartis

Preview – 2/5

There is no way to know which video i should watch, and why. The only indicator is the company name/logo and the profile of the speaker.

Duration – 2/5

The duration is ~5-mins. It is more than the recommended 1-2 mins.

Engaging – 2/5

Talking heads is not a very engaging format. Not a good use of the time when the speaker is spending most of the time in listing out all the benefits verbatim.

Compelling – 2/5

It would have been more effective to list the benefits as a text versus someone reading it out in a video.

CTA (Calls-To-Action) – 1/5

There is no CTA buttons. Not in the Video. Not even in the pages where the videos are listed.

Promotion  – 1/5

No promotion of the videos anywhere. The videos themselves are not from a 3rd party platform like YouTube, which further limits the chances of finding these videos.

Final Score – 1.67


 

 

Example 2 – Salesforce Pardot


 

pardot_videos_index

pardot_videos_EzeCastle

Preview – 3/5

The quote helps guess what the video might be about. 

Duration – 4/5

The duration of ~1.2 mins is awesome. It addresses the attention span issue perfectly. 

Engaging –  3/5

The demo of the application screens during the video gives some ideas of the product itself. Though it is not sufficient to understand the functionality, it does help break the monotonicity of the talking head. 

Compelling – 2/5

Though the screen sharing of the application makes the video interesting, it does not make it that compelling. Of-course, it does make it look more genuine. 

CTA (Calls-To-Action) – 1/5

There is no CTA buttons. Not in the Video. Not even in the pages where the videos are listed.

Promotion – 1/5

No promotion of the videos anywhere. The videos themselves are not from a 3rd party platform like YouTube, which further limits the chances of finding these videos.

Final Score – 2.34


 

 Example 3 – Courion


 

courion_videos_harvard_pilgrim

Preview – 1/5

There is no preview. The only indicator is the company name/logo and the profile of the speaker.

Duration – 3/5

The duration of ~2.2 mins, which is decent.

Engaging – 3/5

Th video covers the facility and multiple speakers, which makes it more interesting to watch.

Compelling – 3/5

It is compelling.

CTA – 2/5

There is a small link to ‘Contact Sales by Email/Phone’ in the index page. Definitely better than no CTA.

Promotion – 1/5

No promotion.

Final Score – 2.17


 

Example 4 – Yodle


 

Yodle_videos_index

 

Yodle_videos_example

Preview – 3/5

The quotes and profile of the customer gives a decent idea of what each video is about.

Duration – 3/5

The duration is ~2-mins, which is excellent.

Engagement – 3/5

The video shows the speaker in his/her workplace, doing their day-day job, hence making it engaging.

Compelling – 3/5

The story-line of how the company helped sounds compelling.

CTA – 1/5

There is no CTA of any kind.

Promotion – 1/5

No promotion of the videos beyond the videos page.

Final Score – 2.34


 

Example 5 – Nagarro


 

Nagarro_videos_index

Nagarro_videos_sample

 

Preview – 3/5

The preview gives an idea of what would be covered in the video, thus helping decide if/if not to watch it.

Duration – 3/5

The videos are of ~2.2-min duration making them a decent duration.

Engaging – 3/5

Showing the details about the customer’s business makes the video engaging.

Compelling – 3/5

The story-line is compelling to try/buy the services of the company.

CTA (Calls-To-Action) – 4/5

Yes. As you can see above there is a contact form in the same page as the video listings.

Promotion – 3/5

Simple thing like posting it on Youtube provides an additional way to promote the videos.

Final Score – 3.17

 


 

Example 6 – OfficeVibe


 

officevibe_videos_index

officevibe_videos_example

Preview – 5/5

The CultureTalks videos by OfficeVibe has one of the best previews. It actually gives the full transcript of the video. Very Useful.

Duration – 1/5

It is really long running into ~20-mins each.

Engagement – 4/5

It is in an interactive interview format where someone from OfficeVibe is interviewing HR experts in the customer side over Google Hangout, thus making it very interesting and engaging.

Compelling – 1/5

The video is very engaging from the subject point of view – the “culture” within the customer company. But it is not clear how the customer is using the product/service of OfficeVibe in doing whatever it is doing. That connection between the success of the customer and the solution provided by the company is missing somewhere, thus making it less compelling. Actually it is not even clear if the speaker company is one of OfficeVibe’s customers !

CTA – 3/5

If the desired next step is to share the video as a content, then there are the standard sharing/embed buttons, which is great.

Promotion – 5/5

The videos are on TouTube. They are also promoted extensively in social media by OffcieVibe.

Final Score – 3.17

Correction : I got a clarification from Jacob Shriar, Growth Manager at OfficeVibe – the cool dude doing the interviews,  saying that the CultureTalks video interview series is not necessarily with their customers, and hence they are not intended as testimonials for OfficeVibe.

Now it all makes sense. I would still like to retain it here because i think this is still a best practice, and a valuable social proof as such.


 

Bonus Tip #3 :

I would recommend  doing very similar interviews, but with your customers. You can do this with those customers who are not comfortable to publicly endorse you as the vendor/service provider for their own corporate/legal reasons. But I am sure they will be more open to do a best practices session on a subject matter that you care about. Still a big win for you 🙂


 

Example 7 – GoPro 


 

GoPro_videos

GoPro_videos_sample

Preview – 4/5

There is no preview, but the cover photo and the short description does give a fair idea of what the video is all about.

Duration – 5/5

The duration varies from 1-20 mins, but the key thing here is that the duration does not impact the end objective – highlighting the capabilities of the GoPro camera.  Irrespective of where you stop, you still get the message. Thus making the duration irrelevant.

Engagement – 5/5

It is very engaging. One of the best videos.

Compelling – 5/5

Very compelling. I am sure you feel like getting one of those cameras even if you are a couch potato whose life does not involve any such outdoor adventures ! 😉

CTA – 3/5

There are many CTA’s like Sharing, submitting your own videos, subscribing to the channel, etc

Promotion – 5/5

It is on YouTube. It is also well promoted on platforms like Mashable. GoPro videos have a cult following among outdoor enthusiasts.

Final Score – 4.5

 


 

Summary:

You saw 7 different examples of Video Testimonials, and the good/bad in each of them based on the 6 parameters. They were just examples for the sake of demonstration, but you can apply the rules to pretty much every video testimonial. 

Overall, you need to pay attention to the following 2 important areas (since it is not always obvious)

1. CTA (Calls-T-Action)

It is a big lost opportunity if you are not using your video testimonials for conversion, especially when they are meant for selling (lead generation) as their primary objective.

2. Promotion

You need to be promoting your video testimonials everywhere. Assuming that your prospects will come searching for them is again a lost opportunity. Keep in mind that 60-80% of the buying decision is already taken before your sales teams get to talk to your prospects. And this is the exact phase where  your social proof in the form of customer videos can tilt the scales in your favor. It would be really smart to bring your success stories in-front of your audience.


If you have other good examples please share via commenting.

If you feel this is useful, please SHARE it with your friends. appreciate it. thanks. anupam

anupam_bonanthaya_customer_rivet_founder_ceo

Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts

Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn

 


Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content – which social proof works ?

How do you ensure that the social proof you are collecting will help you in your inbound marketing ? Company Generated Content  or User Generated Content (UGC) – which proof works better – in terms of getting you better results – in the form of more traffic, more conversions, and more leads !  (see my recent article on 25 Ways to Boost your marketing with customer testimonials and social proof )

Keep in mind social proof can be any/all of these –  customer names, logos, testimonials, photos, social share/follow counts, success stories, case studies, videos, user reviews, ROI studies, snapshots, spotlights, business benefits, metrics achieved, stats about customer base, product/service usage, tweets, social mentions, media mentions, celebrity endorsement, etc etc (see my recent post to see all the 21 types of social proofs that you can use in your marketing)

In general, we can classify Social Proof into 3 Categories based on how it is created.

A. User Generated Content (UGC)

This is created by the end users on their own, typically on 3rd party platforms. Less or no control by the company.

Examples could be the following

1.  Social mentions and posts in platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, etc

2. User Reviews in platforms like TripAdvisor, Yelp, BazaarVoice, TrustRadius, G2 Crowd, TrustPilot, etc

3. User Videos in platforms like youtube, vimeo, vine, etc

 (also see here for the various different kinds of UGC )

B. Company Generated Content (with endorsement from Users/Customers/3rd Party)

This is produced by the company, but with close collaboration with the end users and customers, or even 3rd parties of repute. More control by the company, but still endorsed by the users.

Examples could be the following –

1. Testimonials, Case Studies, Stories, Videos, etc

2. Social Sharing, Followers, Subscribers, etc

3. Celebrity and Influencer Endorsements, media mentions, etc

C. Company Generated Proof (unverified or not easy to verify)

These are “facts” claimed by the company, with less scope for verification. Fully controlled by the company.

Examples could be the following –

1. Customer Base  Statistics eg. 10,000+ customers.

2. Product and Service usage statistics eg. 40 Million Emails sent out.

 Now which of these categories makes sense ? 

Though the question seems simple enough, the answer is not very straightforward. To answer this question lets look at it more pragmatically – not from the seller point of view, but from the  buyer point of view. Putting myself in the shoes – If i am a buyer in the market, what are the questions i would ask when evaluating any vendor ?

6 Questions that i would ask any vendor

1. Social Proof – Do you have it ?

Could you demonstrate to me that there are other people who have used your product and services before ?

Lets look at the results of a survey that Dianna Huff and KoMarketing Associates did asking what B2B Buyers today want from vendor websites.

 

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content : social-proof must-have credibility indicators for websites

It is very clear that social proof is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have in order to establish credibility in the eyes of the buyer. This is very significant given the fact that 60-80% of the buying decision is taken even before a prospect tries to contact your sales teams.

 

2. Credibility – How much can i trust this ?

There is no question about faking social proof what-so-ever. That would be a stupid suicide. (see more in my recent post on Best Practices : How to keep testimonials real, and reasons why not to fake them)

The question is how convinced the buyer would be on seeing your proof points ? How credible does your proof look ?

We can classify the 3 categories based on the level of inherent credibility of the type of social proof. This has nothing to do with the proof point in itself, and it is a relative ranking.

I. User Generated Content – HIGH

User Generated Content does stand high in the credibility ladder. The reason being obvious – it is the end user making the point. He/She has no reason to say something good (or bad for that matter), unless there is a strong first hand reason. It also gives a fair representation of both good and bad sides. In real-life nothing is 100% good, so it always make it more credible to see the not-good side as well.

Example – Yelp Reviews – Lazy Bear

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content

II. Company Generated Content (with endorsement from Users/Customers/3rd Party) – MEDIUM

Company Generated Content like testimonials, case studies, and videos will always be lower in credibility compared to the earlier User Generated Content types. But you can always make it get closer (if not equal) by taking measures to keep it as real as possible. for the same reasons – it is a good idea to cover areas that might not be your week points, by answering questions that might be a concern by your typical customer. Of-course it has to be delivered and acknowledged by the end user in your content.

Example – Campaign Monitor’s Testimonials

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content - Example of Company (+User) Created Content

III. Company Generated Content (unverified) – LOW

Pure company claimed “facts” that have no easy way to verify would naturally be received with an element of skepticism. Therefore it always helps  to link it to publicly available facts where possible.

Example – MailChimp’s 5 Million Users

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content - Example of Pure Company Generated Content

 

3. Consistency – is everyone saying the same thing ?

Am i hearing these from just 1 channel from 1 particular audience ? or is it across the board irrespective of channels, across the audiences ?

As a buyer. As a prospect – If there is just 1 kind of social proof, then i am skeptical about it. Whereas if there are different kinds of social proof, it gives me an opportunity to see if the experience is consistent across the board.

Are your case studies, videos, reviews and tweets saying the same things ?

Lets look at an example – Social Proofs by Hubspot

A. Hubspot Case Studies

In this example Geoff Tucker from Alere Wellbeing says how good his experience has been with Hubspot’s customer service.

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content  hubspot_casestudy_example

 

B. Hubspot Twitter Posts

This Tweet by Stephen says how good his experience with Hubspot has been w.r.t customer service.

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content  hubspot_tweet_example1

 

C. Hubspot TrustRadius Reviews

This review in TrustRadius by Kevin says the same thing about Hubspot’s customer service.

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content  hubspot_review_example

All 3 different types of social proof are saying the same thing about Hubspot’s customer service, which is awesome. Therefore more varieties of proof points are very welcome from a buyer perspective because it provides the buyer an opportunity to verify if the claims are consistent across the board. Which leads to a  stronger assurance to believe the vendor.

 

4. Natural – does it look too scripted ?

Scripted content is less convincing compared to natural sounding ones. This is where user generated content scores over company generated ones. If they sound non-scripted and spontaneous, it makes them more believable.

Example – Manpacks Testimonials

 

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content  manpacks_tweets

Therefore it also makes sense to keep the company generated content less scripted. The imperfections actually make them sound more genuine. Don’t edit anything just for the sake of it, unless it makes a significant difference to the messaging.

 

5. Clear Benefits – are the features-benefits convincing ?

Is it clear that using the features provided would lead to the benefits claimed  ? Features in itself does not mean anything, unless the customer can see the benefits associated.

Example – Optimizely’s Case Studies

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content  optimizely_case_studies

This is especially important if your product or service has a lot of features. As a buyer, i would like to hear from users how using a particular feature has led to a claimed benefit.

This is where the company produced assets like case studies, stories, ROI studies, videos, etc are better placed compared to user generated ones where there is less control on the structure and flow of the content. (see more in my recent article  Case Study Tips: 5 Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices)

As a buyer i am more compelled to believe your social proof when you have the depth and clarity.

 

 6. Buyer Persona – does it look like “me” ?

The crux of the social proof argument is that it is “what people LIKE ME are doing”. Therefore for it to be effective as a marketing tool, it will have to match the desired profile of the  buyer – what we call as the buyer persona. It sounds easier said than done because your current customer base need not be the same as your ideal or desired customer base. This is because your target customer profile is always a moving target.

 

 

Social Proof Marketing: user-generated-content vs. company-generated-content Buyer Persona

User generated content has less control on the profile of the people who create and contribute to the content. Whereas company generated ones have more control on the people you want to collaborate with. Also it is easier to fill the gaps.

 

Conclusion – the good news is that you need everything !

As you can see there is no 1 kind of social proof that can satisfy all the needs of the buyers. Therefore it is good to have as many types as possible because showcasing them together helps cover all the needs of the buyer. It is way more smarter than betting on 1 type of social proof. Therefore, Company Generated Content is as important as the User Generated ones, or vice-versa.

If you feel this is valuable, please LIKE and SHARE it with your friends. Appreciate it.

thanks & regards, anupam


anupam_bonanthaya_customer_rivet_founder_ceo

Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts

Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn

 

Content Marketing & Social Proof – Get More Conversions, Traffic and Leads from your Content Marketing

It is a proven fact that showing Social Proof helps increase reader engagement and sharing. But that’s old news! In this article i want to talk about how you can actually  increase conversions from your content marketing using social proof !

 

social_sharing_stats

 

You say it out loud or not – The end goal of Content Marketing has always been to get more conversions – either in the form of more traffic to your website, and/or more leads to your marketing funnel.

This is also evident in the recent survey done by the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs as seen below.

 

Content Marketing: Testimonials help blogs get more website traffic and more leads. Best Practices with Example. - 2014 trends

(Source: 2014 B2B/B2C Content Marketing Trends—North America: Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs. see full report here – B2B, B2C)

It is interesting to see the commonality between both the B2B and the B2C companies in this respect.

Now the biggest challenge today with content marketing is not about the question of value in content marketing (luckily, we have passed that stage). It is also not about how to engage the audience. It is about the ability to produce enough quantity of content, and the lack of time to produce quality content .

In this context, it is very important to see how to GET MORE from what you already have. This is where looking for ways to get better conversions from your existing content marketing efforts makes a lot of smart sense.

OK. Now how to do this ?

Well .. Adding snippets of Social Proof along with the CTA (Calls-To-Action) provides that additional level of credibility and assurance to the visitors to convert – to take the next desired step – like visiting a landing page or visiting the website, or signing up for a newsletter or any other call-to-action. Thus acting like a lead capture magnet inside your content.

When I say Social Proof, I am referring to testimonials, photos, reviews, videos, quotes, social mentions, benefit metrics, etc, etc that are not related to your content, but related to that next step that you want your reader to take. I shall show you what this means in the next part

(Read more about the different kinds of social proof here – 21 different kinds of social proof for your marketing )

Now, Lets look at how to use social proof for conversion in content marketing by considering each of the different tactics within content marketing  – Blogs, Newsletters, Email Campaigns, Case Studies, etc.

In each case, we will look at some examples as best practices.


 

1. Blog

I shall be covering Blogs in this article.

Blogs are one of the most popular tactics in content marketing.

(76% of B2B marketers and 72% of B2C marketers use Blogs as part of their content strategy)

Your blog would typically cover topics “related” to your business. The idea is to get eye-balls and traffic via search engines and social media, which you would hope will convert to traffic and leads to your business.

Adding snippets of social proof like testimonials  in your blog will help significantly in converting this traffic from your blog, over to your business. Acting like a lead capture “magnet” !

Lets look at this awesome example –  The Quicksprout Blog.

Content Marketing & Social Proof - Get More Conversions, Traffic and Leads from your Content Marketing. Blog Example - Quicksprout

Content Marketing & Social Proof - Get More Conversions, Traffic and Leads from your Content Marketing. Blog Example - Quicksprout Neil Patel Blog

 

Across the blog, you will see how Quicksprout is very smartly using some very powerful and compelling testimonials to act as a lead capture magnet.  Very nice !

 

This is very significant because Quicksprout is Neil Patel’s blog. For those of you who don’t know who Neil is – He is considered  “the guru” of website traffic optimization, and he the founder of some super successful companies like Crazyegg and Kissmetrics ! Google him.

 

Content Marketing & Social Proof - Get More Conversions, Traffic and Leads from your Content Marketing. Blog Example - Quicksprout Neil Patel Blog

Not the kind of guy who would do things without testing out something – not once, but probably a zillion times !!

This is social proof in action for you

 

Bonus Tip:

The Quicksprout blog runs into 100’s of pages and Neil has been blogging since 2007. So there is a ton of very very useful content out there. I would recommend everyone to have a look, in-case you have not done already.


 

2. Newsletters

Please see my article – Increasing Click Through and Conversions in Newsletters by Adding Social Proof


 

3. Email Campaigns

Please see my article – Increasing Click Through and Conversions in Emails by Adding Social Proof


 

4. Case Studies

Please see my article – Increasing Conversions in Case Studies and Stories by Adding Social Proof


 

Summary

The end goal of any Content Marketing tactic is conversions. Adding Social Proof as lead capture magnet helps do just that – get more traffic and more leads from your content – over to – your business. 

Would love to hear your opinions and experience via comments.

If you like this please do SHARE it with your friends and contacts. appreciate it. thanks. Anupam

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anupam_bonanthaya_customer_rivet_founder_ceo

Anupam Bonanthaya is an experienced Customer Success Marketer and the Founder of CustomerRivet – The Social Proof Marketing Experts

Rivet.ly – Hosted Our-Customers Page

Get More Leads and More Conversions by Optimizing the use of Testimonials, Success Stories, Case Studies, Videos, Reviews, Customer Photos, Tweets, or any other Social Proof, in your Marketing.

Ask for a Demo today to see how it can help “Transform Your Customer Success Marketing”. OR Contact Anupam Bonanthaya via LinkedIn

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see also

1. 15 Call to Action Samples for Rocking Blog Posts that Convert