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Unleashing the persuasiveness of the third-party.

Communications that are overly salesy just aren’t moving the needle like they used to. And whenever a marketing claim is made — even by a respected and trusted company — today’s readers/prospects reserve a healthy measure of skepticism.

One of the traditional tried-and-true ways to overcome this skepticism is through third-party success stories, endorsements and demonstrations. In fact, these soft-sell marketing tools are more valuable than ever in this age of multichannel communication. Here are a few examples of how to use customer-driven content to increase interest, engagement and conversions for your brand and its offerings.

Leveraging the trust factor of customer reviews.

For decades, customer reviews have proven to be a powerful tool with a high intrinsic trust factor. Especially when there’s a real person’s name and/or face associated with their statement, they are often viewed in the same context as a personal recommendation. Strive to do whatever you can to elicit genuine reviews in each customer’s own words, which will make them both more impactful and more credible.

Share customer-generated social content.

Does your product have a visual and/or demonstration component that lends itself to digital and social media? Solicit customers to post images and/or videos showing your product in action on highly interactive platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat. Then devise ways to repurpose or restream them via your own website and social media channels.

In this way, you can leverage positive and practical user experiences into “aha” moments for prospects who at various stages in their own customer decision journeys. The inclusion of a unifying hashtag — i.e. the highly-successful #ShareaCoke, #MyCalvins and #EsuranceSave30 campaigns — can also help to amplify your reach and effect across media channels.

Enable customers to share their triumphs.

In the course of business, you’ve no doubt heard some compelling customer success stories in which your product or service has played a key role. There are probably others you’re not even aware of. Design an outreach campaign to elicit these success stories from your customer and/or user base.

The resulting feedback can be communicated in many forms. One example is the production of impactful one-sheets that feature project profiles or case studies. Another is the capture of real-world demonstration videos starring the customer/user — which can be as sophisticated as professional 4K videos, or as simple as on-the-spot videos from a GoPro or smartphone. With judicious editing, these videos can speak volumes in a memorable and genuine way.

Craft a multichannel content strategy for maximum impact.

As opposed to a scattershot approach, the real way to maximize the reach and impact of your content is through a strategic and coordinated multichannel promotion within a limited timeframe. A few possibilities are:

  • Match the overriding message of each piece to the most appropriate prospect personas in your marketing pipeline to elicit further engagement.
  • Match the content of each piece to the most opportune stage of the buyer decision process to maximize conversion rates.
  • Monitor each channel, analyze what it is contributing to the overall campaign results — and adjust the channel mix according to these results for followup or future campaigns.

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