April 18, 2016
Dev Tools Digest – Apr. 11 – 18
This week's Dev Tools Digest covers a product update from Opsee, as well as OpenStack and Oracle survey results, plus faster builds with Cir...
You’ve written a great case study for a happy user, and you’re ready to get it out into the world. Now what?
Case studies and other user stories are some of the most powerful collateral you have in your sales and marketing toolkit, but many teams underutilize their case studies. Whether you’re about to publish your first case study or you have a few under your belt already that you’d like to get more use out of, putting a process in place for promoting impactful user stories is just as important as writing them in the first place.
Let’s look at what your team should do after you’ve gotten customer approval to ensure that you’re getting as much as you can out of that case study.
Case studies and other user stories are unique in they are very versatile assets. Everyone from marketing to sales to customer success and support teams can get value from them, as long as they know how to use them. In addition to sharing the case study itself, prepare a short blurb on why you created the case study, how it’s unique, and how each team can use it. This might include compelling ROI metrics, integrations, or other compelling data points.
Before using our product, Customer X struggled to meet production deadlines on a regular basis. Customer X was able to decrease their time to ship 2x after using our product. They use our JIRA integration to integrate our product into their development workflow and keep the product team in the loop on upcoming projects.
As Jake Biskar mentioned in his article on Early Stage Sales Enablement, having several of these short-form user stories for the sales team to use during calls is important, so create messaging for every new user story.
It’s not uncommon for case studies to be approved, uploaded to the website and then… more or less forgotten about until they’re needed. But when it comes to showing prospects how valuable your product can be, those stories can do a lot of heavy lifting for you.
To get the most out of your case studies, you’ll want to integrate them into your marketing site. For example, pull quotes onto the homepage and other places that make sense that link through to your case studies. If they’re siloed away on a hidden page, they’re not as likely to be discovered by visitors. Ask yourself, how easy it for someone to learn how users are leveraging your product if they land on our homepage? Are user stories one click away? Five?
Case studies are not always put through the same SEO rigor as blog content, but they can drive valuable organic traffic, so make sure to give them at least a cursory check for SEO before you launch.
Since your case studies are now optimized for discoverability, make sure prospects know what to do next if they happen to land on a case study first. If a prospect is reading your case studies, that’s a strong indicator that they’re thinking seriously about purchasing your product. What do you want them to do next — subscribe to your newsletter? Reach out for a demo? Experiment to find the best fit so that your case studies are integrated into your marketing funnel.
The case study is just one format for sharing great user stories. Don’t publish your case study and call it done — write a few blog posts that discuss their use case or compare it to others in interesting ways, integrate quotes into an ebook, or develop graphics that help illustrate the use case.
Think about your user stories like you would a new feature. If you were launching an important feature, you wouldn’t tweet about it once and then hope that users discover it on their own. Build a distribution plan that includes every channel your prospects and customers will care about. Share on social media, of course. But also add them to your email nurture campaign, and include them in your next newsletter. Backlink them from relevant blog content and other pages on your site.
Especially in the early days, your customers are your best marketing partners. Look for ways to engage them and highlight their user story.
If you do nothing else to promote your user stories, ask your customer to share the case study with their network. Social channels are an easy ask, but they might also be willing to write a blog post about their own experience with the product with a link back to the case study, or to share the case study in their own newsletter. Early adopters are often excited to share their experience, especially if you’re willing to offer ideas or assistance.
Customers that are excited about your product are often happy to share their story in other ways. Following up the case study with a webinar, podcast episode, interview in the blog or another piece of content can help you build a better picture of the use case.
Devtools in particular aren’t usually adopted in a vacuum. They’re frequently part of an ecosystem of other tools, APIs and integrations that work together. If a customer is using your tool alongside another in a significant way, it might be worth reaching out to those other organizations to see if they’re interested in using that story as a kicking off point for a partner marketing campaign.
The customers you’ll partner with in the early days are likely to grow and change how they’re using your product over time. If you’ve found a user who is excited and eager to share their story publically, keep that partnership going. Check in periodically with your customer (and with your DevRel team and customer success managers) to make sure you’re capturing any new developments in the evolution of their use case.
Ready to learn more about building a marketing strategy that will accelerate your business? Check out the Heavybit Library for more articles, videos, and other resources on devtools marketing, and subscribe for updates to learn when we release new content.