We’re often asked how BatesMeron shows return on investment (ROI). And we often answer in an unexpected way: We don’t. Instead, we prefer to leverage customer success content to highlight the real impact of our work—a tool we’ve coined return on experience (ROX).
To understand our approach, we’ll have to dig a little deeper, starting with the importance of showcasing customer success.
Why Customer Success Content?
In short, customer success content is a great tool for engaging prospects and turning them into clients or customers. From a business perspective, good customer experience brings forth a myriad of benefits, like increase in web and mobile conversion rates, growth in average order value, greater retention, higher customer lifetime value, increased loyalty program memberships and much more.
But how does an intangible customer experience bring forth these real, tangible business benefits? For starters, in our world of convenience, everything potential buyers want or need to know is easily accessible online. Customer stories are just that; they give buyers the confidence that your product or service will perform and provides results—confidence they no longer get from businesses themselves.
While most every business now has a beautiful website with customer testimonials and well-produced customer videos, buyers tend to tune them out. After all, they don’t feel they can trust slick marketing content. Instead, they prefer raw, authentic insights from peers.
Harnessing the Power of Customer Success
Of course, as mentioned before, customer success content isn’t just a believable story—it’s also a great sales tool. According to research conducted by Gartner, 85% of customers interactions with brands today will take place without speaking with a human, sometimes going all the way to signing up for a trial or buying a solution without speaking to anyone on the vendor’s sales team. With consumers increasingly turning to the internet for answers, causing you to lose phone time with potential customers, you must find other ways to prove the value of your product or service. Enter customer success content.
With a well-documented customer story, you can attract B2B buyers with content that educates them and answers their questions throughout every stage of your sales cycle. In fact, a study conducted by Forrester found that “today’s buyers might be anywhere from two-thirds to 90% of the way through their journey before they reach out for a salesperson.”
In other words, there are a lot of different buyer journeys out there, and you have to be prepared for all of them. More specifically, you have to work hard in order to earn the right to engage with them. That’s why B2B buyers look for customer success content such as case studies, reviews and testimonials. Remember: They believe what their peers say about you—not what you say about yourself.
Building Out Your Customer Success Stories
So, you have an array of customer success stories that prove the value of your business. Now you have to build them out into usable content. Today, business buyers (especially the up and coming millennial generation) behave more and more like consumers shopping online in their personal lives. In fact, 85% of tech buyers will read up to 10 customer reviews before making a final decision—just like they do when shopping for themselves on Amazon.
Reviews, however, aren’t enough. A review won’t give prospects a complete look at how you can help their business. However, case studies, or what we at BMSD call customer stories, do tell the full story. When prospects read a case study, they learn how you helped a business solve one of their top challenges and achieve measurable results. Plus, case studies can be used across all stages of the sales cycle.
According to Hawkeye, 71% of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited testimonials and case studies as the most influential types of content. Buyers also look for case studies when they are getting ready to buy. Many Google terms such as “Company ABC + case study” when they are in the decision phase and need proof that a product or service works. To that end, customer stories have quickly become one of the best tools for sales success.
Sharing Your Customer Success Stories
It goes without saying that customer stories can also help marketers reach their goals. The B2B Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 tech marketers, and 44% of respondents said that case studies are the most effective content marketing tactic for lead generation. With significant investments being made in customer success content, top marketing teams use any number of the following tactics to spread the word of their customer success:
- Have a webpage exclusively for housing your case studies. Make sure they’re easy for visitors to find, and structure them so that initial challenges are clear for each case, as well as the goals, process and results.
- Consider implementing slide-in CTAs on your website. For example, a slide-in CTA on one of your product pages could link to a case study that profiles a customer who’s seen great results using your product.
- Write a blog post about your case study to expose more of your audience to it. Also, promote your case studies on your home page. Give your visitors every opportunity to stumble upon evidence of happy customers.
- Create video content from your case studies. People are consuming more and more video content these days, and they’re more likely to watch a video than read a lengthy case study. If you have the budget, creating videos of your case studies is a really powerful way to communicate your value proposition.
- Promote your case studies outside of your website. Case studies make for perfect social media sharing material, especially if you tag the customer. Use them in your email marketing by incorporating case studies into your newsletters, as this will gain the attention of your network (Plus, clients love to hear and read their names!). Case studies are particularly suited to email marketing when you have an industry-segmentable list. Or, you can simply add a description of a case study to your email signature and hyperlink it to the full content (see below).
- Lastly, include case studies in your lead generation efforts. There are a number of offers you can create based off of your case studies, in the form of ebooks, one sheeters and more.
In any form, customer success content is an invaluable asset when it comes to establishing proof that what you’re offering is valuable, of good quality and provides results. With consumers trusting brands less and peers more, it’s the ideal way to communicate your value by sharing the successes of other customers’ experiences—hence, why we rely on ROX to communicate ours.
Interested in proving your ROX? Let us at BMSD develop your content and help you market them to get the most out of your customer successes.