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


 

8 Reasons Why Customer Success Story is #1 Kickass Marketing Content

Customer Success Stories are a “special” kind of content, and it is unlike any other kind of content. I can think of 8 reasons for it being kickass special and why it is (and should be) the #1 marketing content.

When i say customer success story –  i am referring to all kinds of customer/social proof content – case studies, stories, videos, testimonials, customer names, logos, reviews, ROI studies, audio/podcast, and everything in between.

8 Reasons Why Customer Success Stories are number 1 marketing content

8 Reasons that make Customer Success Stories #1.

Lets start with the most obvious

1. It is 10X more expensive than other content.

It is not just the cost of interviewing and writing, but the overall cost involved in acquiring the customer and making them happy in the 1st place. Add to it the cost of writing the story and finally publishing the end product.

It costs much much more than any other piece of content in terms of the effort, resources, money, time and people involved.

measure-ROI-customer-testimonials

If we go with the market dynamics which says cost is directly proportional to the value of a product/service, then customer success stories ought to be at #1.

50-80 % of a typical customer reference/advocacy program budget is spent on content creation alone (source: Customer Reference Forum)


Doesn’t just this say it all ?

Not convinced yet ? 🙂

Lets see if the other 7 reasons can convince you …


2. It is the 2nd most effective tactic in content marketing.

65% of B2B users feel that case studies are very effective as a content marketing tactic. Whereas 70% felt that the same for in-person events. This is huge to know – how users see customer success stories as comparable to in-person physical events in terms of being an effective tool.

effectiveness_of_customer_success_stories_in_content_marketing

(Source: 2014 B2B Content Marketing Trends—Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs)


3. It is among the top ‘must-haves’ for any B2B website.

Case-Studies (at #3) and testimonials/client list (at #5) are on top of the top-10 things that users feel are a must-have in any B2B website. It is right below important things like pricing (at #1) and technical support (at#2).

customer_success_stories_is_must-have_in_B2B_website

(Source: 2014 B2B Web Usability Report | Huff/KoMarketing)

In-fact, the same survey says that case-studies are #1 when it comes to what users feel as “lacking” or needs improvement today., which is something to think hard about.

customer_success_stories_testimonials_lacking_in_B2B_website

(Source: 2014 B2B Web Usability Report | Huff/KoMarketing)


4.  It helps influence the buyer decision early-on, and that is “super important” today.

By now we all know enough about how buyer decisions are being taken early-on in the buying cycle . More than 57% of buying decision is taken even before talking to the company sales.

Purchase_decision_early_on_in_sales_cycle

(source: The Digital Evolution in B2B Marketing 2012 – CEB/Google )

And this is a 2012 figure. The figures being quoted in recent discussions is upwards of 70% !

Here is a huge opportunity for marketing to help tilt the scale, and positive voices from existing customers can play a big influence.

Testimonials and Case Studies are the most influential content types both in the awareness stage and the evaluation stage

customer_success_stories_most_influential_early_stage_content

(source: 3 Keys to B2B Success 2013 – Hawkeyee.com)

Promoting and advocating your customer success stories through various channels is a sure shot way to get there.

Marketing should amplify and promote customer successes to help win in the early discovery and engage stages of customer life-cycle. Waiting for the sales team stage would be too late. (source: Tip The Balance From Reference Customers To Advocates – Forrester/Influitive)


5. It is among the top ‘must-haves’ for any Landing Page.

Any landing page or marketing copy without a customer/social proof is seen by users as just marketing fluff due to the 1-sided nature. Experts recommend social/customer proof as one of the must-haves in any page whose end objective is conversion/lead generation.

anatomy-perfect-landing-page_testimonials

(Source: Anatomy of Perfect Landing Page – NiceLandingPage.com/Unbounce)

And adding customer/social proof increases credibility, thus improving conversion drastically as proved by all the experts. unanimously.

34%_increase_in_conversion_with_customer_testimonials

(source: Social Proof Tips to Boost Landing Page Conversions – Aschottmuller/Unbounce/Visual Optimizer)

Adding social proof helps increase landing page conversion between 5-500% (source: Unbounce, CrazyEgg, Kissmetrics, Optimizely, Visual Optimizer, Kickoff Labs, Hubspot, and other marketing optimization experts)


6. It has an extended shelf life.

Typically a detailed story like a case study has a life of 2-years at the minimum. Many stories stay relevant for a longer period of time and hence can be used for more than 2-years.  Shorter proof points like testimonials and logos have an indefinite life span.

46% of companies said they use customer success content for up-to 2 years. 43% said they could use it infinitely !

high_shelf_life_of_customer_success_stories

 (source: 2012 InEvidence Global Customer Reference Survey)

Which means you can re-use it like crazy. This is very important given the fact that producing enough good quality content is the #1. challenge for marketeers today.

producing_good_content_is_a_challenge_1

(Source: B2B Content Marketing Spotlight Report Nov-2014 – Technology Marketing Group LinkedIn/BrightTalk/IDG)


7. It can be added to other content to make them do more selling.

The #1. end goal of any content marketing initiative is lead generation.

customer_success_stories_check_all_boxes_against_content_marketing_objectives

(Source: B2B Content Marketing Spotlight Report Nov-2014 – Technology Marketing Group LinkedIn/BrightTalk/IDG)

Adding customer success proof in the form of customer names/logos, testimonials, proven benefits metric, story snippets, videos, etc into other content like best-practices articles, blog articles, whitepapers, discussion forum topics, ebooks, etc not only makes the content more interesting with real-life examples, but also adds a dab of marketing into them – thus helping you get more traffic to your website, more conversions and leads into your marketing funnel.

In-fact it helps check almost all the boxes against the content marketing goals.

As an example – An awesome example of using it in the blog would be this one

quicksprout_neil_patel_blog_testimonials_1

(source: Quicksprout/Neil Patel Blog)


8. It is valuable in all stages of the buying cycle.

Many people still believe that customer success stories are only needed in the last 2 stages –  i.e vendor comparison, and sales closure stages. This is incorrect.

The below research shows that it is in-fact useful in all the 4 stages. And it is the “most helpful” content in the stage-2 (understanding the problem) and stage-3 (Identify solution, consider vendors) in comparison with all other types of content.

 Customer_success_stories_for_all_stages_in_sales_cycle

(Source: B2B Tech Buyers – Which Assets Are Most Influential, and When? – MarketingCharts/Eccolo Media)


Conclusion:  You need-to believe in your Customer Success Stories.

Irrespective of any of the following –

You believe in Customer Success or not.

You believe in Advocate Marketing or not.

You believe in Content Marketing or not.

You believe in Digital Marketing or not.

You believe in being Online or not.

You do need-to believe in your Customer Success Stories.

Why ?

Because it is the most effective marketing content out there, without any doubt !

So what are you doing about your Customer Stories ?

How Not To – Stop Short of Being Awesome – with your Customer Success

 How Not To – Stop Short of Being Awesome – with your Customer Success
(Image credits – changinglivesonline)

   

The just concluded Dreamforce 2014 was one of the eagerly waited events for the B2B subscription economy. And it had Customer Success written all over it. There is no question about the fact that paying attention to customer success is a must-do for any company to become successful in the subscription economy.

   

But Customer Success is not a new concept. It has existed every since the existence of doing business. What is new though is the availability of data and visibility on a real-time basis, to know if the customer is engaging with your product/services. Thus giving us the golden opportunity to work with the customer and ensure that they are successful. That’s a big deal.

   

I am a big fan of Lincoln Murphy. Lincoln is one of the most popular faces of SaaS and Customer Success. He talks in detail about what is customer success, and the  20 things you can do to ensure customer success. I would add an important step post making your customer a success. I would recommend you to “write home about your customer success” .

   

Yes. Document your Customer Success Story !

   

It can be a long copy or just a short one. Either ways, I would go to the extent of saying that every customer success should be followed by a customer success story. Yes. It is a big deal to to have a successful customer, and it is definitely worth writing home about it for the following 3 reasons:

   

3 Big Reasons for having a Customer Success Story

   

1. Customer success story helps you to showcase credibility and Social Proof.

Social Proof is big deal. It is one of the top must-haves that a buyer looks for before thinking about doing business with you.  It is an awesome marketing opportunity.

   

2. Customer success story helps you to celebrate and showcase your customer.

It is an opportunity to thank and promote the people at the customer side who made it possible.

   

3. Customer success story helps to recognize and motivate your teams.

It is an opportunity to thank and promote the people at your end that made it possible.

   

Net-Net – Customer success story helps you to multiply your customer success.

By promoting each of your customer’s success you are creating an opportunity to create many more such customer successes. Therefore do not forget to document your customer success stories, and do promote them internally, as well as externally.

Also see my earlier article on writing and promoting success stories –  How to Convert your (Ordinary) Case Studies & Customer Success Stories into a Selling Machine (w/ 5 Examples)

What has been your experience ? Please share by commenting

   

How to Convert your (Ordinary) Case Studies & Customer Success Stories into a Selling Machine (w/ 5 Examples)

I want to take this topic beyond the scope of creating a good case-study/success-story, over to the discussion of what do you do with your good customer stories. It is not about having amazing customer case studies and success stories, but it is all about how well are you using them. If they are gathering dust in some hidden corner of your website, then it is a big opportunity lost !

In this article we will discuss about – How to design your case study/success story to become a selling machine ! I believe that lead generation and conversion should be the #1 desired outcome of any case study or success story because that is the end objective of content marketing or any marketing initiative for that matter, and you should be looking at the customer stories the same way.

I love customer case studies and success stories because in my opinion they are the most effective category of content within your content marketing mix.

I can think of just 1 reason  as to why they make to the top of the content strategy pyramid – and that single reason is that a well written case study or success story can be a nice hybrid of the following 3 things –

1. Informative – as a piece of content –  they can help educate the customer with respect to typical pain points, best practices and use cases. It is always nice to read what problems other customers have faced and how they are trying to overcome it – gives a lot of fresh ideas.

2. Credible – as a social proof point – It is the end customer who is telling the story. Social proof point which makes it much more credible than coming from the vendor since it is someone else who is willing to put his/her credibility at stake.

3. Selling – as a marketing copy – At the end of the day, you as the vendor have the opportunity to weave the discussion to be in-tune with your marketing copy. In-fact a well written story is a marketing copy in disguise.

 

Today, i would be focusing exclusively on the #3 point above

How to design your case study/success story to sell.

I will be analyzing examples of case studies for best practices based on 5 key factors. These factors have nothing to do with the content style per say, and it is everything to do with conversion and lead generation.

5 Key Factors to help make a case study or success story to sell

  1. Organized – Is it being organized in an intuitive way so that your prospects are inclined to read on ?

  2. Engaging – Is the case study engaging with less text and lots of visuals, and organized in a story telling format ?

  3. Clear Benefits – Are you highlighting the key benefits of using your product or service in the form of call outs or shout outs with metrics and compelling reasons ?

  4. Clear CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  are there clear calls-to-actions and do they stand out ?

  5. Promoted – last, but the most important – how are you promoting your case studies ? or are you assuming your prospects will come searching for them ?


 

Now lets see how to apply this to analyze some popular case study pages.

(author’s disclaimer – I am in no way associated with any of these companies. I basically allowed Google to tell me the top 5  🙂


 

 

Example 1 – Hubspot

1. Organized – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Hubspot - Our-Customers Page

 

It is definitely well organized. The individual case studies are in a sequence and it is not in A-Z. I believe Hubspot has a reason for showing the ShoreTel one on the top. (Maybe it aligns the most with their latest marketing message of inbound marketing versus marketing automation – ideally migration stories from market leaders Eloqua and Marketo ?).

I like how it does not try to confuse you with too many case studies shown at your face at one go. The navigation is very intuitive with the appropriate tags and groupings that focus on the way customers would like to search for customer proof – By Company Size, By Business type, By Solution, By Industry, By Country. All makes sense except for the Reviews vs. Testimonials Vs. Case Studies. Not sure if customers care what is your format ?

2. Engaging – 4/5

It is engaging. I am looking at the same ShoreTel example – There is a video that is not too long, and is not just a talking head but in a nice story format talking about why ShorTel choose Hubspot over Marketo, and migrated from Eloqua (bulls eye  from a marketing messaging perspective ).  In addition to the video, there is a face photo of Freeman, and a nice big logo. The Text is not too long and it is in a story telling format, so makes it not boring.

3. Clear Benefits – 5/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Hubspot - Case Study - Benefit Metrics

The benefits are highlighted in a shout out format, and they are clearly compelling. The metrics clearly outline the end benefits of using Hubspot. eg. 36% year-on-year increase in leads.

4. CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  3/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Hubspot - Case Study CTA

 

Though it does have a primary Call-To-Action button, it gets a little distracting with too many other options all in 1 place. The screen i was looking had 6 options !! I agree it is better than not having any CTA at all, but 6 is a lot of distraction for a normal person. Looks like Hubspot guys stopped paying attention to their A/B tests ?

5. Promotion – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Hubspot Home Page - Customer Testimonials Snippet

In addition to the Case Studies primary tab in the navigation, they are using snippets of the case studies in the home page very prominently, providing link back to the main case study page.

Overall, I would rate Hubspot’s Case Studies a 4/5

 


 

Bonus Tip #1 :

One of the very effective ways to make a case study engaging is to use a story telling style. See this short article by Hugh Taylor on how to write technology case studies that tell a story

 


 

Example 2 – VMWare

1. Organized – 2/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - VMWare - Our-Customers Page

 

It starts well with a main spotlight video, and another 3 spotlight customers. So far so good, but then once you start searching, it lists everything as A-Z ! which means that i am always looking at the A’s. You might have the best story in a D, but then i will never be able to reach it, no matter how hard i try (and keep in mind your customers will not be trying even half as hard).

 

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - VMWare Case Studies

 

It does have the typical By-Product, By-Solution, By-Country, By-Industry, By-Language selectors, but everything finally lists it in A-Z, even the Chinese case studies. Shame that B-Z customer stories will never be seen by anyone 😦

2. Engaging – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - VMWare - Ducati - Success Story Page

 

The story is in an engaging format with videos, less text and highlighting of the important sections with call outs and shout outs. Here i am looking only at the newer stories that are showcased in the customers page. the ones that come up in the case studies page seem to all be in the older PDF format, which is not that engaging. and remember you don’t really get to see the newer ones unless the name starts with an A. Now you know why i hate the A-Z lists  🙂

3. Clear Benefits – 4/5

The benefits are highlighted and there are metrics that tie to the usage of VMWare, thus making it compelling.

4. CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  1/5

There are no calls-to-action anywhere in the case study page or the customers page. Except for the social sharing buttons which is more of a call-to-action for the employees than to visitors and prospects.

5. Promotion – 2/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - VMWare Home Page - Customers snippet block

 

There is no customers or case studies tab in the main navigation. There is a small section on the home page talking about customers, but that does not stand out. So unless someone is looking for case studies and success stories, you will not find them.

Overall, I would rate VMWare’s Case Studies a 2.6/5


 

 Bonus Tip #2:

There are many many ways to promote your stories. For some ideas see my recent article  25-Ways to Promote your customer Success


 

Example 3 –Tibco

1. Organized – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - TIBCO Our-Customers Page

Like the way Tibco has arranged its featured stories – By the various industry segments.  Very inviting to click and see the story.


 

Bonus Tip #3:

It is always a good idea to give a little more detail about the customer in addition to the photos because it might get confused for stock images. example – logo of the customer, or a call out benefit, or even just the name of the customer.


 

2. Engaging – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - TIBCO - RNLI Success Story Page

It has all the components that are very engaging – good video, not too much text, visual elements, call outs, etc.


 

Bonus Tip #4:

Splitting a story page into tabs as overview, details, & testimonials does takes away the flow. Would it  have been much more engaging if they were all woven into the story. what do you think ?


 

3. Clear Benefits – 2/5

There are  metrics, but they are focused on the customer’s business than Tibco’s. Example – RNLI having a 70Million budget does not say anything about the benefits of using Tibco.

4. CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  1/5

There are no calls-to-action anywhere.

5. Promotion – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - TIBCO Home Page - Customer Carousal

The stories are being well promoted. – On the main Tab, in the Carousal and in the product/industry pages. The real photos add to the wow factor.

Overall, I would rate Tibco’s Case Studies a 3/5

 


 Bonus Tip #5:

I am not a big fan of the carousel because in my opinion most people don’t get to see the subsequent slides unless it is dynamic and making movements in some way.

 


 

Example 4 – AWS (Amazon Web Services)

1. Organized – 4/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Amazon AWS Our-Customers Page

Amazon has organized the success stories very well. The featured stories are on the top. There is enough information to entice the user to click to see the story. The big brands add to the oomph factor. Even the search is not bad. Though it lists in an A-Z order, there are not that many stories, hence it fits into 1 page and they have enough details with the customer logo and the benefits summary, thus helping users to be able to select the ones they want to read.

2. Engaging – 3/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Amazon AWS Dow Jones Case Study Page

The Stories are not very consistent. Example – some have detailed stories, while some are just videos, which is not bad in itself because most times in real life you have less choice as to what your customer is willing to provide. you have to make do with whatever is available. The videos are good, but the problem with just videos and no text is that it is everything or nothing.


 

Bonus tip #6:

In case of just videos – It might be a good idea to pull out snippets from the transcript and highlight it in the story page. That would entice users to see the video. In the above case the videos are in-fact very good, but you don’t get to know that without spending a few minutes. Not designed for people in a hurry, which is 99% of the audience !


 

3. Clear Benefits – 2/5

There are no consistent call outs for benefits. They are all there hidden in the videos and even in the story text in cases where there is text, but it does not catch the attention.

 

 


 

Bonus tip #7:

It is always a good idea to highlight end outcomes in some form of shout-outs. It draws attention to the most important part of the story – which is “So What ?”. and it is easy to do it if you already have metrics in the story or the video. It is a very low hanging fruit with Max returns.


 

 

 

4. CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  3/5

There is a CTA button to get a free account that shows up only after you start scrolling. that’s neat. But there is also a Next Steps section at the bottom that links to a different page. So there is some kind of confusion.

 

5. Promotion – 3/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - Amazon AWS Product Features Customer Video Snippets

There is no primary tab for Customers or Case Studies (Success Stories). Also there is no mention in the home page. But it is very prominent when you go to the products page. There are many customer videos per features, which is cool !

Overall, I would rate AWS’s Case Studies a 3/5

 


 

Example 5 – Box

1. Organized – 2/5

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices)  - BOX Our-Customers Page

 

The featured customers are cool. There is a video for each of the 4 featured customers. But there seems to be some confusion in the way things are organized. Examples –  Our Customers Page and Case Studies page are 2 separate pages that are not connected to each other. The Customer logos in the customers page are not clickable though they are presented as if they had more to just logos. maybe there is a case study/success story somewhere, but it is not linked.

There is a link in the bottom footer navigation that says Case Studies. Gotcha !

 

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - BOX - Customer Case Studies Page

I actually like the way they have organized their case studies. It is by Industry and it is easy for users to see the ones that might be interesting to them.

 


 

Bonus Tip #8:

There are some awesome examples of organizing your Our-Customers Pages. See this recent article by me – The Best of Our-Customers (Our-clients) Pages. How to make Customer-Success-Marketing work for you ?

 


 

2. Engaging – 3/5

 

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - BOX - Balfour Beatty Case Study Page

The stories are short and to the point, but no visual elements.


 

Bonus Tip #9:

I am not a big fan of stories being presented inside a reader (with scroll bars) since it takes away the coolness. That might be just my personal opinion 🙂


 

 

3. Clear Benefits – 2/5

The benefit metrics do not stand out

4. CTA (Calls-To-Action) –  1/5

There is no CTA button.

5. Promotion – 2/5

 

Case Study Tips: Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices) - BOX Home Page Customer Logo Banner

Not a primary tab for Customers or Case studies/Success Stories, but there is a customer logo banner that is liked back to the customers page. And it says case-studies though it is a separate page.  Not really sure what they are trying to accomplish.

Overall, I would rate Box’s Case Studies a 2.0/5


These were the 5 examples we analyzed.

Some more examples here  –  

1. Example of a success story page designed for conversion

2. Case Study Tips – Good & Bad of LinkedIn’s Customer Case Studies

 


 

Summarizing, You saw 5 different case study pages and the good and bad in each. They were just examples, but this applies to pretty much every case study or success story.

Overall, you need to pay attention to the following areas which are usually ignored. 

1. CTA Buttons

It is a big lost opportunity if you are not using your case studies and success stories for conversion, especially when they are meant for selling (lead generation or conversion) as their primary objective.

2. Promotion

You need to be promoting your customer stories 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 customer success stories can tilt the scales in your favor. It would be really smart to bring the success stories in-front of your audience.

 

If you have other good examples either from your own companies or from others that you admire, 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


See Other Related Posts

Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study pages for conversion

Customer Success Stories, and Case Studies should always be tied with relevant CTAs (Calls-To-Action). There are 2 reasons as to why you should design your case study and story pages for conversion, and why it would be a huge lost opportunity if your visitors end up in a dead end after reading your story.

1. If your visitors have taken the trouble of reading your customer story and case study, it very well means that they are interested in your product and services.  It is a golden opportunity to engage your visitors to take the next steps by popping the question.

2. your customer story and case study pages occupy prime real-estate space on your website. It is one of the most prominent 1st level pages out there. Therefore makes sense to think of converting the visitors to leads. Also the visitors to the story pages have a higher probability of conversion going back to our point #1.

Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study page for conversion -  Kissmetrics

One of the best examples of CTA (aka calls-to-action) in testimonials are the ones on Kissmetrics Our Customers Page.  Though they have 1000’s of happy customers, they are only showcasing 2 of them on their Our Customers Page. They are smartly placed to make the visitors take the next step and read those stories. They are clickable and with a CTA button to make it very obvious. It takes you to the actual story page, which is even more interesting.

Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study page for conversion -  Kissmetrics - LiveChat

It is not the usual monotonously long story in a single tone. It is interspersed with different things like quote snippets, highlights of benefits reaped, detailing of the features that the customer used to get the claimed benefits , etc. All making it more engaging.

The one i am looking at is the LiveChat story, and there are some really impressive quotes by Szymon Klimczak, their CMO, which make it even more compelling.

Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study page for conversion - Kissmetrics - LiveChat - Quote

The best part is that there are CTA buttons tempting prospects to sign-up. They are spread across the page so that it does not get lost with the folds. Though they are all for sign-up purpose, they are made interesting with different reasoning’s, which is cool.

The story page of Kissmetrics is very much a Landing Page in itself . We can call it a – Success Story or Case Study Landing Page !  Which is very smart because the whole purpose of a Customer Testimonial or a Success Story/Case Study would be to get you more leads. Also, the concept of hand picked stories, optimized for conversion makes a lot of sense from an ROI perspective as well.

What do you think ? Please share via commenting if you know of other examples …

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

………………………………………………………………..

Also see

1. Our earlier posts on more best practices 

Best Practices: Make your Features Page Rock with Contextual Testimonials

Best Practices: Rock-Star Customers on the Home Page

Best Practices : A-Z Customer List is Outdated

Best Practices : Keep them Real to add Credibility

Best Practices: Returns (ROI) from your testimonials – reasons why measure ?

2. This awesome post by Marie Dean & Peep in ConversionXL – Why you should invest in good testimonials and some great examples

3. This very comprehensive list by Tatiana Liubarets & Helen in Writtent – 25 Success Tips for Writing Irresistible Customer Success Stories

What is the real cost of your Customer Success Story ? Why the hell should you care ?

Customer Success is no longer a nice-to-have for any company. It is a Must-Have!

Especially if you are in a subscription based revenue model – it is in-fact the #1 of the many must-haves! Customer Success would be on top of your priorities. everything else comes after that.

Documenting your customer’s success is a smart way of taking that success to beyond that single customer, to be used for getting you more customers – by using it in various marketing and sales campaigns. (check out the 25 different ways to use a customer success story)

You will probably not find anyone who is not documenting their customer’s success – in some shape or form – it could be as simple as a customer name/logo/testimonial to a more detailed asset like a customer video. (check out the 21 different ways of documenting success – aka Social Proof).

Now every piece of freaking content costs $$ – in the form of efforts, resources, time, and money. So …

1. What is the cost of a customer success story ?

and

2. Why the hell should you care about it ??

Lets look at them one after the other

1. What is the cost of a customer success story ?

Lets take this head-on and list out all the things as below (I am sure i am missing some things here. please add via comments)

 

What is the real cost of your Customer Success Story ? Why the hell should you care ?

To make this simpler you can think of each of the above items falling into either of the 3 buckets

A. The Basics – Recipe for a great dish

Firstly, you need to have an awesome product(s) and/or service that your customers would value, which is by-the-way the starting point and the recipe for a great story.

B. The Right Ingredients & the Cooking (the hard part)

Secondly, but most importantly It involves making your customer a success in using your product and services. And this is not a one time delighting the customer, but doing it for every single thing and on a continuous basis – In a way that your customer loves working with you. Now you have all the right ingredients.

C. The Presentation

Finally, it is about documenting that awesome story (or collecting that awesome quote), and publishing it in ways that would really add credibility to your marketing messages and influence your target audience to take that next step.

 


 

Bonus Tip – Do not lose track of the #1 end objective of any content in marketing – Conversion!

check out some best practices, and awesome examples here

1. Best Practices in Customer Stories and Case Studies

2. Best Practices in Customer Videos

3. Best Practices in Our-Customers Pages


 

 

Each one of the above A-B-C buckets costs you a good deal of investment in the form of $$ spent, efforts put, time spent, resources used, sleepless nights, cups of coffee,  etc, etc. right ? 🙂

 

2. Why the hell should you care about it ??

As seen above – a Customer Success Story does not come cheap.

In-fact, it is one of the most expensive content kinds you would ever create because it involves much more than just creating an excellent piece of content. and the most important thing – it involves your Customer !

Therefore it will not just be a shame, and a lost marketing opportunity if you are not getting returns for your efforts, but much more – It is unfair to your customer to have taken all their time and effort, and not utilized it well. You have not just wasted your efforts, but that of your customer as well ! period.

 

Let me know what you think – Do you agree ? disagree ? Would love to hear about your own experiences and opinions …

and if you like this, please do share it. appreciate it

Food for thought – Now i have a million$ question for you  – How do you measure the returns of your customer success stories  ? How do you know what is the impact ? How do you know which is your best story ?

please share your views by commenting. 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

………………………………………………………………..

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials – Examples of Cool Home Pages

It is a proven fact that using customer testimonials (quotes, logos, names, photos, videos, etc) on your landing page increases the visitor engagement, reduces bounce and increases conversions. This simple case study by Wingify way back in 2011 does a good job of explaining the difference with/without testimonials using A/B testing.

2013 has been a landmark year where many companies having realized the benefits, have taken this head-on and started showcasing their customers on their home page! . This in my opinion has brought about a much welcome change in the personalization and user experience. The non real stock images got replaced with real people that you and me can connect with. It no longer sounds like you are talking with the automated phone support machine. And it goes without saying that it has improved all the landing page metrics drastically.

I have listed some of the most impressive ones below.

Do keep in mind that the companies showcased below have some of the best marketers on their team, and it goes without saying that they keep continuously changing and optimizing their pages on a daily basis. As a result what you see on a specific day might be different than the screenshots below. Nevertheless, using testimonials on the home page is still a best practice from an outcome perspective. 

you can also see other 24 usages of customer testimonials in my recent article – Customer Testimonials: 25 Ways to Boost your Marketing (w/ examples & best practices)

 

1. Hatchbuck (www.hatchbuck.com)

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials - Examples of Cool Home Pages - Hatchbuck

(Source: Hatchbuck Website. 11-Jan-2014)

What i like about Hatchbuck is that this lovely lady with the beaming smile is so fresh and welcoming. she occupies almost 1/3 of the screen, but worth every pixel !   very simple and clean design. Even in the rest of the page there is a generous spread of customer photos and stories, and the marketing message that is delicately woven into them. Very effective in giving that first impression that it is all about the customers.

 

2. Helpscout (www.helpscout.net)

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials - Examples of Cool Home Pages - Helpscout

(Source: Helpscout Website. 11-Jan-2014)

What i like about Helpscout is that it is very effective use of a combination of customer photo and quote. Using the customer’s quote as the marketing message is very smart – simple support system. very powerful. It effectively gives the impression that the customer is talking your voice.

3. Infusionsoft (www.infusionsoft.com)

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials - Examples of Cool Home Pages - Infusionsoft

(Source: Infusionsoft Website. 11-Jan-2014)

What i like about Infusionsoft is the slider with many stories. saying the same things – grow sales. save time to do fun things. It gives the impression that it is providing value to the customers as a group (versus 1 customer). the power of group consensus.

4. Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics)

Best Practices: Hero Image Testimonials - Examples of Cool Home Pages - Google Analytics

(Source: Google Analytics Website. 11-Jan-2014)

What i like about Google Analytics is that it is a dynamic set of testimonials. It keeps changing randomly for every visit. Though it is a set of 3 stories (my guess), the good thing about dynamic set of stories is that firstly – the surprise element makes it more interesting for repeat visitors.  its no longer the same predictable content. so there is a reason to stop by. secondly but more importantly – it assures your customers that other customers are happy. do not forget that it is not just your prospects that visit your home page, but your customers too. even if it is to log-in to your account.

I am sure i must have missed out some others. please share via commenting if you know of other awesome sites.

Summary: Bottom-line, using customer testimonials as the center-stage on your home page is very effective in increasing the visitor engagement and experience.  And it goes without saying that it reduces bounce and increases conversion.

also see more of my recent posts

 Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof examples to boost your content marketing

 Case Study Tips: 5 Examples of how not-to-waste your customer success stories (w/ best practices)

 Content Marketing: Increase email newsletter click through and CTA conversions using testimonials

 Email Marketing: Testimonials help increase click through rate, get more CTA conversions.

 Content Marketing: Testimonials help increase blog conversions, and get more leads

 Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study pages for conversion

 Best Practices: Contextual testimonials – examples of features pages that rock 

Now over to you. please let me know your views by commenting below. thanks.

by Anupam Bonanthaya

……………………………………………………………

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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