the complete guide to success story marketing

7 Companies Boldly Leading with Customer Stories

Author: ; Published: Mar 8, 2016; Category: Uncategorized; Tags: ; No Comments

I’m sorry to tell you this, but your marketing has a credibility problem.

You’re not the only business facing this challenge. Potential customers distrust nearly all marketing. Why? When promoting ourselves, we usually make a lot of promises, and prospects don’t know whether we’re living up to those promises. For that, they need objective, outside opinions.

Think about it this way: when you’re planning a special-occasion meal out, do you trust the restaurant’s claim that they serve the best steak in town? Or do you ask around among your family and friends, and do your homework on Yelp to learn about the experiences others have had at the restaurant? The more expensive the meal (and the more important the occasion) the more likely you are to dig for objective viewpoints.

That’s why prospects considering your products and services need to hear the stories of your happiest customers. And I’m suggesting that you shouldn’t just use customer case studies, you should lead with those customer stories. A few organizations do just that.

Here are several companies dedicating the most valuable space on their websites – the home page – to showcasing customer stories.

Microsoft

It doesn’t get better than this. Microsoft featured two bug scientists on Microsoft.com: “Kristie and Jessica of The Bug Chicks – two entomologists dedicated to teaching kids all about insects, spiders, and other arthropods.”

microsoft customer stories

Microsoft is continuously changing its home page content, so this story – which ran a few days ago – has been replaced by others.


Avaya

This billion-dollar, global communications company last week featured a series of healthcare customer stories as the marquee content right on the home page.

Avaya customer story
Three customer case studies rotated “above the fold,” an old-time expression for what you see on the front when a newspaper is folded. Site visitors could click to read more.

 

Adobe

Adobe customer stories

Dramatic image, no? And way more engaging than some boilerplate product description. This is not an interior page on Adobe’s site; this is what you see when you go right to Adobe.com (as of go-live with this post). Here we see Deadpool from a new Marvel Comics feature film, cut using Adobe Creative Cloud.

Honorable Mention – Stories below the Fold

While very few sites run a customer story as the top feature, a number of companies still include customers on the home page. The following are admirable examples of showcasing customers “below the fold” but still on valuable first-page real estate.

Atlassian
American Writers & Artists Inc.
Zuora
Oracle

What’s the Payoff?

It’s no small decision choosing what to run on the company’s home page, with many types of messages and content vying for that spot. I have heard from at least one organization that making case studies more visible does increase traffic to case studies, naturally. But does it increase leads and sales? Only these organizations know their backend stats. If these bottom-line focused companies continue this practice, then it’s likely beneficial for them.

Feature a Range of Customers

How do you feature customer stories on the home page? Today’s websites run screenwide lead images, and many organizations struggle with how to fill that space. Instead of a stock image, choose an image from your customer’s actual environment.

Be sure to showcase diverse customers; rotate stories across vertical industries, geographies, solutions featured and sizes of customers.

Your Customer’s Story = Your Story

As I rummaged around online for examples such as these (and had fun doing it), I found that nearly every site kicks off with marketing language and information about its products or vision. Many start with Our Story, which usually recounts the history and mission.

Customers are your stars, your heroes on the ground. Why not lead with your customer ambassadors? They are what prospects believe most.