One of the most effective ways to market your products and services is to have your current customers share their experiences with other customers. The reality is, we trust other customers more than we trust your brand. So if you can find a way to let your customers market for you to other customers, you want to be smart enough to do so. One way to do this, is by creating case studies or testimonials from your current customers and using those in your content strategy. I have testimonials on my homepage, I have short case studies from my clients here.
I wanted to look at how Evernote and Wistia are using Customer Stories to highlight how their customers and clients are using their products and services. I wanted to specifically highlight the efforts of these two companies ,because I think both are doing some things well, and I also see some areas for improvement. If you were to combine the best elements of both efforts, I think you would have a fantastic mechanism for sharing customer experiences.
Before I show you what these companies are doing with their customer case studies, I wanted to talk for a moment about the actual value of case studies. Case studies can be a wonderful learning tool IF you use them correctly. Case studies are so popular because we want to see what works for other companies similar to our own. But the potential problem from a presentation point of view can be that the audience will take the case study and understand how the case study applies to that company, but not be able to make the connection to how the same concepts could apply to THEIR company. In other words, they may understand how your product helped Apple achieve great results, but they don’t understand how to take what worked for Apple, and make it work for their brand.
You overcome this by including abstract examples that highlight the key concepts that you want the audience to understand. You spell out the key takeaways from the case study, and help the audience understand why and how your product or service helped another company, so the audience can better understand how your product or service could help them as well. Just remember that the brain is more likely to learn a concept if you give both literal (case studies) examples of the concept, as well as abstract (here’s an example of how your company could use…) examples.
Let’s first look at Evernote:
Evernote has a collection of short customer case studies which they are calling Customer Stories.
Here’s what I like about Evernote’s Customer Stories: You can immediately spot the feature of these Customer Stories that I really like: They include the industry the customer is in, as well as the size of their company. This helps establish the relevance of the Customer Stories. If I have a company running a fleet of 5 food trucks in the Atlanta area, the, Guayaki story on the right will immediately grab my attention because it’s coming from a similar background as my company.
Speaking of Guayaki, let’s look at their Customer Story:
As you can see, it’s pretty short. There’s not much information here. Oddly, it does include a link on the right to Download a PDF of this page, and that version actually includes another paragraph of information and also clarifies that the company used EverNote to cut training time. I’m not sure why that additional content wasn’t included on the website.
Here’s What Needs Improvement: I’ve already touched on how short these Customer Stories are. I think some additional information, especially speaking to a business problem that the customer solved by using Evernote would be helpful. I also think that some short videos from the customer talking about how Evernote helps them in running their business, would be great. Ideally, I’d like to see some screencasts from the customer showing them using Evernote as they do in their daily routine. This would help the audience understand how they too could use Evernote successfully. Plus, video content has such high engagement levels, I think some video content from the customers themselves would really take these Customer Stories to the next level. In fact, Evernote could even do a video podcast with their customers talking about their experience with using Evernote, and then post on a video hosting site such as YouTube, then embed the video on that Customer Stories page for each customer.
Now let’s switch gears and look at how Wistia is using Customer Stories on its site:
Here’s What I Like About Wistia’s Customer Stories: Wistia has dozens of Customer Stories on its site. Unlike the Evernote Customer Stories, the ones on Wistia’s site are really in depth for each company. Each Customer Story includes plenty of quotes from the company, carefully explaining how it has benefited from using Wistia. And the Customer Stories also include video content! Sometimes it’s an interview with someone at the customer’s company, other times it’s examples of work that the customer has created by using Wistia. I think the Customer Stories do a great job of explaining who the customer is, what they do, but also helps the audience understand how they are using Wistia to be more successful. Wistia has done a really nice job with their Customer Stories.
Here’s What Needs Improvement: I think the Customer Stories would be more useful to the audience if they followed Evernote’s example and gave us information about the customer’s industry, and number of employees on the front page for the section. But honestly, that almost feels like nit-picking at this point, since Wistia has done such a good job with the content on each Customer Stories entry.
And if you are curious, I noticed that both EverNote and Wistia have a Customer Stories entry for CoSchedule. So you can check out both and see which one you prefer. Here’s the CoSchedule page on Evernote’s site, and here it is on Wistia’s site.
So that gives you an idea of how your company can integrate customer testimonials into your site’s content. Just remember to help the audience understand the important concepts that you want them to learn, and also make sure the customer talks about how they are using your products or services to grow their businesses. And finally, use the testimonials as a way to promote the customer. Give them some link love, let them brag on themselves a bit. After all, they are helping your company, by agreeing to give the testimonial. I think one of the companies I looked at in this post did a much better job with this than the other one. Look for yourself and see what you think.