Why Companies Need to F-R-E-E Their Case Studies
A small software company recently ran an experiment...
The company, which had been requiring registration to download its customer case studies, decided to unlock those stories on their website. Site visitors could read or download stories freely, without having to provide any information.
The results were pretty shocking.
In just one week, the company reported that downloads of its case studies were three times higher than the previous four months combined! Clearly, people had not viewed the stories before because they simply didn't want to take the time to register or felt frustrated with having to provide their contact information.
When you invest your time, money and your customer's time in creating these valuable customer stories, make sure you're maximizing the exposure on them.
So what content should be "curtained?"
It's a tough balance that marketers face, giving away some content freely and requiring registration to access other things. You're balancing drawing people to your content-rich website with trying to capture names as lead sources.
But do case studies really belong in the category of locked content?
Customer stories, while educational, are still promotional at heart. You're featuring a customer's success with your products and services. They fall more into the realm of content to give away, as you would product datasheets and brochures.
Meanwhile, white papers, events, webinars and demos often require more of a time investment from you and from your prospective customer. Generally, these are the items you'll offer in exchange for the prospective customer's information.
In fact, this particular company chose to turn to white papers and webinars as a better source of capturing names, which the sales team hasn't contested whatsoever. Afterall, if only a handful of people registered to access case studies then that wasn't much of a lead source anyway.
The Search Engine Effect
Written customer case studies and success stories can be a major contributor to search engine rankings for a company's website. They naturally contain many of the keywords and phrases that prospects might use to search.
If you lock your content behind required registration, you effectively give up that rich source of keyword data. Don't miss out!
The Social Media Factor
Finally, if you're not sharing your customer stories on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook, you should be. Increasingly, people are mixing their business and personal into a single stream on Twitter and Facebook, and customer stories are of high interest.
What happens when your fans or followers take a case study link you shared from Twitter or Facebook and hit a closed door? It's incongruent with the way social media sharing flows.
What's your experience with requring registration for customer stories? Great lead source or a barrier to customer engagement?