By Loretta Jones, vice president of marketing, Insightly
At least once a month, I get an email from a customer who wants to play a part in our marketing efforts. As a business, our reason for being is better customer relationships, so those emails offering to help spread the word about Insightly tell me everything I need to know about how we’re doing in terms of customer experience. Happy customers are the key to growing a company, and everyone here is focused on delivering tools that help create those experiences for other businesses – while also improving sales processes and boosting bottom lines. When it comes to generating market awareness and filling our lead pipeline, we view our own customers as one of our greatest PR and marketing assets.
Since we launched our customer PR program in 2012, we’ve worked with Insightly users to create more than 50 case studies. If you check out our case studies, you’ll see stories that span our target markets, from travel to manufacturing to retail and a lot more. These companies come in all sizes, from small businesses to enterprises. Whether they talk about Insightly through videos, testimonials or text, these customer case studies have become some of our hottest selling tools. It’s not hard to see why.
Look at the survey that Corporate Executive Board put out several years ago. The findings show that the average B2B customer completes almost 60 percent of a typical purchasing decision before ever talking to a sales rep. In order to research solutions to their problems and rank potential purchases, our prospects (and yours) rely on whatever information they can get their hands on. And we all know from our own buying habits that prospects give extra weight to feedback that comes from trustworthy third parties: journalists, analysts and happy customers.
That’s why we work with Metis to interview our customers and integrate their stories into our other PR activities. Some of those activities include:
Prepping customers to speak with the press about Insightly;
Pitching their stories to reporters, editors and bloggers;
Sharing customer testimonials in press releases and blogs;
Featuring customer quotes on our social media channels and in our Twitter chats;
Submitting award and speaking opportunity applications that celebrate our customers’ successes.
All of this customer-focused marketing activity pays off. Since 2012, traffic to our website has increased by 10X, and our user base is currently at almost 1 million users. On sales calls, our reps hear that it was an Insightly customer story that tipped the scale our way when it came time for the prospect to choose a CRM solution. Conversely, when a customer is looking for a reference, we can send them to our customer page to help them during the sales process.
For example, there was the real estate company owner who read a case study on our website that featured another business in her industry. To hear more about that story, the prospect didn’t call us; she tracked down the source to get more feedback. That conversation led her to download our 14-day trial and ultimately buy the product.
A happy customer is the best marketing asset you’ll ever have. We see the benefits of customer PR in our earned media coverage, in our paid content opportunities, on our social media channels and beyond. The real ROI, though, is in the growth we’ve seen in market awareness, lead generation and sales.
Loretta Jones is the vice president of marketing at Insightly, a San Francisco-based SaaS CRM application for small businesses and a Metis Communications client. With more than 15 years of experience in marketing, including marketing strategy, communications and lead generation, Loretta has grown marketing programs for both SMB and enterprise customers at Coveo, Adobe EchoSign and several other companies. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Brown University.
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