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


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

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing  - David Ortiz Obama White House Selfie Example

 

Social proof is a terminology used to represent the herd mentality of human beings in a good way. There has been lots of research on the subject, but in simple terms – We all like to follow and do things that other people-like-us do. Much more if they have now become more successful by doing so.

Social proof when applied in a marketing sense is very powerful. It provides a compelling reason for visitors to click on the call-to-action links and buttons, because they see it as getting on the path that other people like them have taken in the past in order to find success.

I have compiled a list of 21 different types of social proof that you can use in your marketing. Please see below with some awesome examples.

21 Types of Social Proof to Boost your Marketing


 

1. Customer Testimonials.

Let me start with the most powerful social prof – Testimonials from customers. For customer testimonials to be very effective you need to make sure that they look and feel as real as possible by including proof points like – photos, full name and job title at the least. The more details it has the better it is.

(Example: LinkedIn )

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing  - Customer Testimonials - LinkedIn

You can use testimonials in various places across your website and content marketing. see some awesome examples here.

1. Examples on the Home Page

2. Examples on the ‘Our Customers’ Page

3. Examples on the Features page

4. Examples on your Blog Posts

5. Examples in your Emails and Drip Campaigns

6. Examples in your Newsletter

 

Bonus Tip: 

Ensure that you are including enough information so that your visitors can verify the credibility of the customer by a simple Google search. see this post to know more why and how to keep testimonials real – Best Practices : How to keep testimonials real, and reasons why not to fake them

 


 

2. Customer Logos

Customer logos bunched together as a banner or a page is very effective in showcasing social proof, especially if you have some recognizable brand names. Customer Branding always helps make a big first impact.

(Example: Oracle Eloqua)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Customer Logo Banne - Oracle Eloqua Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Link back to a detailed story or testimonial if you have one. Otherwise resist from providing a generic link to the customer website (unless of course the customer insisted you provide back link). In fact it is less valuable if you are expecting your prospects to read up about the customers whose logo you are showcasing (if that was your intent on generic linking)


 

3. Review from Users

Reviews from users rank high on credibility provided they done on platforms that allow both positive and negative reviews. And this is exactly what i mean when i say reviews.

(Example: Amazon)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing  - User Reviews - Amazon Example

 

Bonus Tip: 

Negative reviews are definitely not bad since it makes it more real life as no real business will have 100% happy customers. And in-fact negative reviews gives the opportunity to see how the company handles feedback about bad experiences. I see it as a golden opportunity to showcase competency in customer service.

 


 

4. Kudos Mention in Social Media (Eg. Tweets, FB posts)

Encouraging customers to post kudos in Social Media, and pulling them in into your marketing is one of the easiest ways to show credibility. It is super convenient from the customer point of view, and easily verifiable, hence making it one of the most popular social proofs.

(Example: ASmallOrange)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing  - Kudos Tweets  - ASmallOrange (ASO) Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Twitter and Facebook have made available widgets that helps you showcase your kudos tweets and posts in your website. check them out. See How to embed Facebook Posts, How to embed Twitter tweets

 


 

5. Customer Success Stories and Case Studies

Customer Success Case Studies and Stories if done well is a very effective social proof from a selling perspective because it combines credibility and marketing message in a very non-salesy way. It gives an opportunity to go to the details of your product or service features and map them to the business benefits that your prospects can expect to reap.

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

(Example: Facebook Success Stories)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Customer Success Story and Case Study - Facebook Example

 

Bonus Tip :

Do not forget to add relevant CTA calls-to-action buttons to your case studies and stories, so that it does not become a dead end. see this for a great example –  Landing Page Optimization: Design success story and case study pages for conversion

 


 

6. Customer Photos and Selfies

It is a well tested fact that Customer Photos add credibility to your testimonials and make them look more trust worthy as mentioned earlier. Therefore last year stock photos got replaced by real customer photos. Now professional photos are getting replaced with Selfies with the common trend of selfies popularized by the likes of Kim Kardashian and Miley Cyrus.

This is primarily because it makes it easy for the customer from a convenience perspective and it looks more real than a professional portrait any day.

(Example: Volkswagen)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Customer Photos and Selfies - Volkswagen Cars Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Try asking your customers for a selfie and you will be surprised by their willingness. Sharing photos is an inherent human behavior and the reason for the success of the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, Flickr, the list goes on and on …

 


 

7. Customer Video

Videos of customers talking about your solution are more engaging because most of us are better in grasping a audio-visual content compared to pure text and images.

(Example: Unbounce)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Customer Videos - Unbounce Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Videos work only when someone is inclined enough to spend the 1-2 mins to see the video. Therefore always compliment with text and photo testimonials because it aids visitors to skim reading that is normal when you browse internet (read here about speed reading)

 


 

8. User Generated Content – Videos

User generated videos have all the plus points of reviews and videos combined together. They have the same level of credibility as user reviews, and the audio-visual component that comes with videos makes it very engaging to the viewer.

(Example: GoPro)

 

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - User and Customer Generated Videos - GoPro Example

 

Bonus Tip:

You don’t always need a fun product like a GoPro to encourage user generated videos as your social proof. It will be nice, but not a must. Even a boring product like business software (relatively speaking) can have interesting videos depending on the customer industry. Example  – An F1 race team could be making use of a lot of software in winning races ?  right. you know what i mean 😉

 


 

9. Endorsements from Celebrities

Research shows that association with someone recognizable or desirable makes it more credible and trust worthy in itself. Endorsements from celebrities is very effective in the B2C space. Therefore you see a lot of celebrity advertisements in various media. You can use them in your website and content marketing as well.

(Example: Samsung at the 2014 Oscars)

Samsung has been very smart in using celebrity selfies. First it was the Oscars, then it was the White House. Nevertheless selfies is a new gig here, but celebrity endorsement in general has been there ever since the existence of marketing, which is ever since the stone ages.

 

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Celebrity Endorsements - Samsung Oscar Selfie Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Even if you are in a B2B space, i am sure you will have brands who are a celebrity in themselves. The Apples, Googles, Facebooks of your world. An endorsement from a big brand in the form of a customer or even a partner goes a long way …. 


 

10. Endorsements from Influencer(s)

Influencer can be anyone who has some clout with your target audience. An endorsement coming from someone whom your target audience trusts has much more credibility than anything coming from you as the service provider.

(Example: Neil Patel for UberFlip )

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing  - Influencer Endorsements - Neil Patel for UberFlip Example

 

Bonus Tip:

It would be awesome if this Influencer is an expert in what you are trying to sell, but it need not always be the case. It can even be someone that your customer segment would look-up to. Example  – Marketing automation software company Hubspot uses endorsements from Gary Vaynerchuk. Among’st many other things, Gary is a founder of winelibrary (an online wine retailer) and a person to look up to in the customer service and loyalty space, and hence someone that Hubspot’s customer segment would relate to. ( read more about it here)

 


 

11. PR and Media Mentions

Mentions in popular publications and media is also a valuable social proof because it is a know fact that credible news sources would be mentioning you only if they have reasons to believe in your story. Very valuable for new businesses.

(Example: Hubspot)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - PR and Media Mention - Hubspot Example

Bonus Tip:

From a credibility and verifiable point of view It is a good idea to provide link backs to the news articles that talk about you. If you are concerned that it would lead to link leak, then list them in a separate page.


 

12. Partnerships and Integration

Associating with other businesses and people who are more popular helps build credibility. In Information Technology it is important that your software plays well with the rest of the ecosystem and integration with other popular  software is a must have.

(Example: Zapier)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Partnerships and Integrations - Zapier Example

Bonus Tip:

These are social proofs that cannot stand on their own, but play well as a complimentary proof. i.e in addition to having customer proofs. see this post on why customer poof is important – Why social proof is useless without customer proof at the top

 


 

13. Trust and Security Badges

Third party certifications are a must have if your product or service needs assurance about privacy and security.

(Source: Curated by Monetizepro.com)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Trust and Security Badges - List curated by Monetizepros Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Similar to partnerships/integration that i covered earlier, trust/security badges are social proofs that cannot stand on their own, but play well as a complimentary proof. i.e in addition to having customer proofs.

 


 

14. Awards and Recognition.

Awards and recognition from popular boards or industry associations are valuable proof of credibility. They are similar to Media mentions, and are very helpful for new businesses or new products/services.

(Example: Jawbone)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Awards - Jawbone Example

 

Bonus Tip: 

They are helpful in industries where customers look up to expert boards, associations, councils, connoisseurs, etc  for opinions on the latest and greatest products and services that hit the market. example would be technology, engineering, and food industries.

 

 


 

15. Customer-Base Stats

Customer base or User base statistics in the form of social proof provide assurance to prospects  that they are not alone and there is already a significant number of people or businesses that are benefiting from your services.

(Example: AirBnB)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Customer Statistics - AirBNB Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Keep it real. It is awesome if you can quote numbers in real-time, but if not it is OK. Please don’t make up increment counters. Everyone understands it is a big deal to be able to show real-time numbers. Rounded-off numbers look and feel much more genuine than fake counters.

 


 

16. Social Sharing Stats

Social sharing statistics is a social proof that is very relevant and valuable in content marketing. Knowing that it has been shared well increases the credibility in the content.

(Example: CopyBlogger)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Social Sharing Statistics - CopyBlogger Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Many people recommend that showing stats that have low numbers is not a good idea. I don’t necessarily agree. Lets think like a customer – what could be that one reason as to why you are not showing your sharing stats ? A. you want to be modest and not be boastful. B. you have numbers that you are not proud of showing. what is your guess ? (i know this could swing both ways, but in the case of showing low numbers one thing is clear – you are honest)

 


 

17. Product or Service Usage Stats 

Similar to Customer Stats, but this is more about the Product or Service in itself. Having a large number of customers does not always mean they are using your services well, and vice-versa – having a large usage does not mean many customers. Though it is true in most cases. Therefore both statistics are valuable.

(Example: Mad Mimi)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Product and Service Usage Statistics - MadMimi Email Marketing Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Same as Customer Stats. Do not give fake counters. it is OK to say over 40 million emails sent. it does not have to be 40,145,987 !

 


 

18. Friends’ Recommendations

If you see that your friends and contacts in your network have recommended something it is very compelling because you can relate to it better. even if the number is small the impact is very big because you tend to think that if a few people you know have liked something what would be the scale at a broader level – quite big.

(Example: Coca-Cola Facebook page)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Friends Recommendations - Coca Cola Facebook Page Example

 

Bonus Tip:

I still don’t like coca-cola even though 5 of my friends love it ! 🙂

 


 

19. Trending Stats

Statistics like 48 people are listening, 10 people are viewing, 25 people bought this item, etc are quite compelling as a social proof because it helps us picture a long Q in front of the popular food joint, which assures us that the food must be good.

(Example: Mashable)

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Current Trending Statistics - Mashable Comments Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Try to keep it relevant to the customer. ask yourself the question – as a customer why would you care if this number is high ? eg. you can easily show “100,000 people are viewing this page right now” but ask the question – so what ? if you have a good reason – go for it ! eg. if it a piece of content, then even 100 people viewing it means it is valuable and hence it is big deal.

 


 

20. Subscribers and Followers

How many followers you have in social media or how many subscribers you have for your newsletter or mailing list definitely indicates the level of credibility and clout you have therefore it is a very valuable piece of social proof to showcase.

(Example: ContentMarketingInstitute)

 

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Subscribers and Social Followers - Content Marketing Institute Example

 

Bonus Tip :

There are many styles of presenting this, but I love this one above used by the content marketing institute for 2 reasons – 1. It is different from the standard social follow-like buttons, hence making it interesting. 2. It is ordered in the order of high to low, thus making it easier to total. at the end of the day, it does matter what is the total following. doesn’t it ?

 


 

21. Projects and Portfolios

Proof of past projects or portfolios in the form of screenshots and photos is very common in the services industry, but is rarely mentioned in the context of social proof which is surprising because it is social proof – 100% for sure.

(Example: Razorfish)

 

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof types (w/ examples) for your content marketing - Projects and Portfolio - Razorfish Example

 

Bonus Tip:

Try to strengthen your portfolio roster by including testimonials. Most people keep them separate, which does not make sense because at the end of the day both are proofs of credibility and it reinforces credibility and competency when both portfolios and testimonials (for those portfolios) are showcased together.


 

22. Visitor Activity Stats (NEW)

Live Statistics about the visitors and what they did on your website  is a way of assuring your new prospects about the popularity of your site.

(Example: TweetStork)

 

Social Proof Marketing: 21 kick-ass social proof examples to boost your content marketing  - Example of Visitor Activity Stats

 

Bonus Tip:

This is more effective for B2C industries like Retail, Booking sites, etc where the relationship is transactional in nature. 

 


 

23. Best Practices Sharing by Customers (NEW)

Getting your customers to talk about their area of expertise is another way of showing social proof.

They might or might-not refer to your product/services, but by agreeing to share best practices they are endorsing you, which is great. They get to see this as an opportunity to showcase themselves as a subject matter expert, which is a Win-Win.

(Example: OfficeVibe)

Good example is the CultureTalks video interviews by OfficeVibe.

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

 

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. I would still like to retain it here because i think this is still a best practice, and a valuable social proof as such. And nothing stops you from doing similar interviews with your customers and using them as testimonials. read more about it here – Best Practices in Video Testimonials

Bonus Tip : 

This is something that you can still try to do with your customers in cases where they are reluctant to provide any public testimonials (for their own reasons . eg. company policy).


 

And many more ……. I am sure there are other social proof that i have missed. Please share via commenting if you know them.

 

Summary:

It is a well proven fact that using Social Proof gets you more conversions, more traffic, and more leads. People always want to take the same path – the guaranteed path that others have taken leading them to success.

As you have seen above there can be 21 (and more) different kinds of social proof, and you can use them in innumerable ways across your website and content marketing. So go ahead and rock it.

Do keep one thing in mind though – keep them as real as possible because social proof is all about ‘assurance of credibility’ and any whiff of fake-ness  has exactly the opposite effect. 

 

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

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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

………………………………………………………………..

 

 

 

 

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