Three Steps to Get Media Attention When You Have No News to Report Reply

Media attention is one of the best ways to build brand awareness and demonstrate thought leadership for your company in the industrial sector. Respected third-party mentions of your company can help influence potential customers, and those relevant links back to your website are like gold. But what if your company doesn’t have any breaking news to write about for a press release? There’s a way around that problem. You can still gain the interest of editors, bloggers and writers. Just follow these three steps.

1. Identify the relevant media properties and journalists
If you have any kind of public relations or marketing strategy you probably already know (and read) the relevant websites, blogs, online publications and other media outlets that cover your industry. Make a list and start to dig deeper. Find out who the reporters, writers and editors are that cover the topics most closely related to your subject matter expertise, products and services. Get their contact information. Their email addresses are usually published next to their names.

Next, examine any media kits or editorial calendars these media outlets have available. Even mission statements can reveal special areas of interest. See where your company and expertise fits in. You have to plan because most media properties publish editorial calendars six months to a year in advance, plus it takes time to establish contact with editors and writers, build a relationship and pitch your story.

2. Generate and develop story ideas
This is the step where marketers sometimes get stuck because their company doesn’t have any breaking news to report. But there are always good stories waiting to be discovered and told. Here are a few ways to find them:

  • Piggyback on the issues currently trending in your industry. It might be a technology breakthrough, a shift in market dynamics, new regulations, a key merger or acquisition, or other issues in the news. What is your company’s position on these issues? Do you have a point of view that’s unique or under-reported? Develop a story around it.
  • Offer up an in-house expert to analyze or comment on trends or other recent news. Prepare a compelling bio for your expert that you can submit to editors. What’s special about your experts and what they have to say? Why will it be important to the readers of the publication?
  • Conduct a survey or other research and promote the findings to relevant media outlets. What have you uncovered in your research that may be of interest to the writers and editors—and the readers? You can also use the research tactic to produce white papers, webinars, articles and other marketing content.
  • Choose a topic that’s recently been covered. It might be an article about one of your competitors. Look for a side of the story that hasn’t been reported on and develop a new idea around it. Journalists like to report every side of a story and may be interested in follow-up articles.

3. Make Your Pitch
You have your list of targeted media outlets and contacts. You have your story idea and you’ve turned it into a compelling pitch. Now it’s time to reach out to reporters, bloggers, writers and editors. You need to personalize your pitch to each individual—don’t send out a spray-and-pray mass email. Introduce yourself and your company, pitch your story idea, and tell them why their audience will be interested (answer the always-relevant question: Who cares?). Offer background materials, which you should have at your fingertips ready to hit the send button. Do everything you can to make their jobs easier and make saying “yes” easier for them.

The fact is, the media in any industry is a story seller’s market for you, not a buyer’s market. Every media outlet is looking for the next great story to give to their readers. If you’ve got it, and you can make a convincing case for it, they will want it. Of course, not every idea you pitch will hit the strike zone. Sometimes your story won’t get picked up. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve cultivated relationships with important media contacts in your industry and have positioned yourself as a go-to resource that could be called upon in the future for quotes, opinions and interviews for other stories.

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How has your company received media attention with no real news to report? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Why Press Releases are Important in Industrial Marketing 2

Writing and distributing press releases should be part of every industrial company’s marketing and communications strategy. Many industrial companies are in the habit of issuing a press release when they launch a new product or have other company news. But sometimes the press release becomes nothing more than a checkbox on a communications to-do list. That’s not enough. Press releases can be powerful tools and deliver significant payback in terms of getting your company name in front of your target audience and raising the profile of your brand in the markets you serve.

Seize press release opportunities
Product launches and other company news are obvious reasons to write press releases. But relying only on “news” could result in long periods of time in which your company is silent, which lessens your visibility. Fortunately there are many other opportunities for issuing press releases:

  • Promoting a special event your company is hosting or a speaking engagement for one of your executives. The press release should tell why the event is important to your audience and relevant at this time.
     
  • Piggybacking on issues and trends in your industry. There’s often news in your industry that may not directly involve your company, such as technological advances, regulatory changes, mergers and acquisitions, a new report from industry analysts, etc. You can leverage these situations by issuing a press release that states your company’s position on what’s happening in your industry. Why the technological advance is beneficial—or why the industry should proceed with caution. What new regulations mean to customers. How a merger between two competitors will affect the industry and customers. Why a popular held belief is about a technology or trend is authentic—or misguided. The key is that your company has a unique and relevant point of view that distinguishes it from other voices in the industry.
     
  • Building thought leadership. When your company produces a new white paper, publishes the results of a survey, or is quoted in an article, you can issue a press release to promote the content and build your reputation as a thought leader in your industry. Again, explain the relevance of the content to your audience and make it newsworthy and timely.

Have a distribution strategy
You should post your press release on your website and link to it from email newsletters, social media and other digital platforms like your GlobalSpec.com supplier profile, but you should also consider a broader distribution strategy to better reach your target audience.

  • Use a press release distribution service such as PRWeb, EmailWire, eReleases, BusinessWire, Gorkana, Meltwater or others. Most services can help you distribute your press releases broadly as well as target specific niches. They will also offer reporting in terms of which publications picked up your release.
     
  • Communicate with individual editors of specific industry websites. This involves researching a publication and editor’s specific area of interest, and targeting those editors who will be most interested in your news. You might want to reach out to editors and introduce yourself personally rather than simply flooding them with press releases. In addition, if you establish a relationship with editors in your industry, they will be more likely to contact you for an interview and quotes when working on a story that’s in your area of expertise. Translated that equals free, third-party exposure.

Set goals and measure
Press releases can help generate inquiries and engagement opportunities for your sales team, although they work best when integrated into your overall marketing program. To track the effectiveness of your press releases, be sure to ask the distribution service you use or the specific publication what type of metrics they provide.

Key metrics include:

  • Number of pick-ups (where your press release appeared)
  • Number of views (how many people saw your press release)
  • Number of clickthroughs (how many people clicked on a link in your press release)
  • Comparison reports (how your press release performed on these metrics compared your industry’s benchmarks)

Include these four items in all press releases

  • A striking headline: grab the reader’s attention with a headline that conveys the subject matter and why it’s important to your audience. Try writing a number of candidates, then choose the strongest one.
     
  • Keywords: sprinkle relevant keywords (sprinkle, not pour; a few mentions should do) in the press release to help with search engine optimization.
     
  • Links: Always include links to landing pages, downloads or other web pages so the reader can get more information (and you can track performance).
     
  • Contact info: Don’t forget to include email address and phone number for your media contact person.

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How do you use press releases as part of your marketing mix? What tips or strategies would you pass along to your peers in industrial marketing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Building a Thought Leadership Campaign Reply

GlobalSpec’s Industrial Marketing Digital Summit on Wednesday, July 11 brought together industrial marketers from leading companies to host educational sessions covering the hottest topics in B2B marketing for the industrial sector.

This unique online event is now available on demand by visiting http://www.globalspec.com/events/eventdetails?eventId=183.

At the event, Dale Reeves, Manager of Global eBusiness & Marketing at TE Connectivity, presented “Thought Leadership… Leverage What You Know.”

Thought leadership means having a reputation in the market as a company with unique, innovative ideas about your industry, the forces shaping it, the challenges confronting it, and the future awaiting it. In his presentation, Reeves provides insight into what makes an effective thought leadership strategy.

Objective
According to Reeves, in developing a thought leadership campaign, you must first create a positioning that aligns with meaningful business objectives. Your goal is have a position that helps you capture mindshare among potential customers so that your company gets placed on prospects’ consideration set. This ensures that your company is in the middle of their conversation, and near the top of the short list of vendors they might purchase from.

Validation
To create share-of-mind, your company must be remembered for something, giving you validation in the eyes of the market. Reeves explains that validation comes from your ability to answer this question: What expertise is unique to your company that the market is clamoring for? You want to be able to share your unique knowledge, but not all of your knowledge, because your goal is to build up interest and motivate potential customers to contact you to learn more.

Resources
You have an objective and a position that the market values. Now, according to Reeves, you need resources in the form of subject matter experts (SMEs). One of the most important attributes for a thought leader is that the person must be willing to represent your company — and have the DNA to do so. Thought leaders need skills in writing articles, giving presentations, speaking at events, conducting media interviews, and using social media platforms such as Twitter or LinkedIn.

At times you will need to support your SMEs with other writers, PR professionals, and marketing people who can help produce bylined content, but those resources, too, will need to embrace the thought leadership position.

Focus
Focus is all about defining your target audience. You likely don’t have the budget to reach everyone in your potential markets, so you may need to pick a segment of your market to focus on. Reeves talks about going deep into a targeted market and audience rather than shallow across a broader spectrum.

Execute
Execute through your marketing communications channels. All of the content you produce must be published to your audience. The key is to consistently be found by potential customers when they are searching. That alone can help you rise to the top. To be found, you need a pervasive and regular presence in those places — the industry portals, directories, Web sites, online publications, e-newsletters, and more — where your target audience seeks out information.

Reeves talks about using a “Lean PR” program that can help you get noticed while making effective use of resources. By Lean PR, he means seeking out targeted article-writing opportunities, rather than attempting to write first and place second. To engage in Lean PR, you need to study editorial calendars of online and print publications, contact editors to propose articles, negotiate branding opportunities with them, and engage your SMEs to write.

One type of article that is always in demand with editors is the innovative customer case study. Other relevant topics focus on the industry problems your product or services solves, such as shortening the build cycle, lowering inventory requirements, or improving production processes.

Track & Measure
Reeves reminds viewers that, like with any marketing campaign, you must track and measure the results of your thought leadership experts. Before you launch the campaign, you should define what constitutes success and the metrics you will use to measure it. Metrics could be media mentions, prospects reached, leads generated, conversions, or any other metric that is relevant to your business objectives.

A Case Study
To view Reeves’ complete presentation, which includes TE Connectivity’s “Design Smarter, Faster” thought leadership case study, visit:
http://www.globalspec.com/events/eventdetails?eventId=183.
 

Critical Facebook Tactics You Need to Be Using Right Now Reply

Many Facebook business page managers like to focus on the number of fans they have – how many people have clicked “Like”. They enjoy seeing that number build up and consider it to be a major barometer for success. But it’s so much more than that, starting with considering these fans as your customers, both current and future. It’s really what you do with those customers through Facebook that makes the difference and actually benefits your business. Here’s a collection of tactics we use or have observed that have shown the best engagement with those folks who have joined up with you:

  • Post Regularly. Let’s start with an obvious one. Setting your page up and letting it sit there isn’t going to work. People are going to forget about you. Share information regularly, but not repetitively. At least once or twice a day is worth trying, more if your information is especially worthwhile. And don’t forget, it may look like a lot of information on your Wall, but most of your customers are seeing your information on their News Feed as seen on www.facebook.com when you’re logged in. That’s the context in which you’re news will be seen.
  • Respond. Many businesses miss the major opportunity of responding in a meaningful way to each and every message your customers share with you on Facebook. Whether it’s acting on a complaint or a suggestion, or simply thanking them for their time, people appreciate having their own communications acknowledged.
  • Trade “Likes”. It benefits everyone when you network. Do that online. Use Facebook as your page (go to “Account” in the upper-right corner to choose that option). After doing this, when you go over to a partner’s or association’s page, you will “like” them or comment on their page as your business. Ask others to do the same. Your comments and branding will get exposed to a wider audience as a result.
  • Tag other Pages. If you want to create a hyperlink in your post to other pages to better share information, just type an “@”, immediately followed by the name of the page you’re connecting to. Facebook will give you one or more page options in your network that match that text. Choose the one you need and Facebook will populate your post with a hyperlink. Note that you must already be a fan or friend of that page in question for this to work.
  • Connect to Twitter. Ideally, if you feel you have an audience in the Twitter-verse, you have an account set up there too for your business. But many times, resources are such that you simply don’t have the time to create completely separate content. One solution to this is to link both accounts so that everything that is posted on Facebook gets automatically shared with Twitter. But make sure you still monitor Twitter so that you can respond to the information sharing still going on there. Ignoring that conversation is worse than doing nothing at all. To set this connection up, go to facebook.com/twitter while logged in.
  • Connect to Email. If you use a service like Constant Contact or Vertical Response for your outbound emails, make sure to visit their websites and look up how to install an email signup on your Facebook page. Their instructions are easy and straight-forward, even for neophytes. Once installed, post a reminder every now and then that people can sign up for your newsletter, which you will tell them includes new and exclusive information they won’t see on Facebook. Not everyone’s a die-hard Facebook user and you need to continue to connect with them wherever they give you permission to do so.
  • Share Staff News. Make your business more approachable by sharing appropriate news other than the latest product release. Whether it’s a promotion, someone’s gotten married, or you have a new hire, letting people know about these things puts a more human face on your presence and helps people feel more connected. Make sure you don’t get too personal though and that you always have the subject’s permission first.
  • Ask a Question. Choosing this feature (shown next to the links to upload a video or photo), allows you to ask questions of your customers. You fill out the answers they can choose from and Facebook creates a poll. When someone answers the question, that activity gets posted on their Wall, sharing the discussion with others who may not already be aware of your page. Ask questions that provoke discussion, get feedback on new products, or probe thoughts on industry issues. Experiment to see what types of questions interest people.
  • Show Videos! Show Photos! There’s little else drier than posting text-only item after text-only item. Shake it up and engage interest with the occasional uploaded video or photo. Over time, you build up a nice database that people can revisit. Site visit analysis on Facebook shows that photos and videos almost always get more attention than text alone.
  • Try Ads. This is especially a must-do if you’re already using Google AdWords, or some other similar service. We’ll write up more about this another day, but in the meantime, you can visit www.facebook.com/ads to learn more.

There is no one-size-fits-all that will work for every page. The key to your success will be to experiment with a mix of all of these tactics and observe what gets better responses than others. Use that feedback to do better the next day and soon you’ll find that reaching your customers through Facebook is an indispensable part of your marketing mix.

For more Facebook must-haves, make sure to check out one of our earlier posts right here: “The 9 Facebook Must-haves for Your Business“.

Seven Keys to Influencing the Influencers 1

As anyone who has ever tried can tell you, getting your story in front of an influential writer – whether it’s a traditional journalist working for an established publication or an independent blogger – is no easy task. It’s a lot like having someone try to find you in Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

The reason is any writer who is important to you (i.e. anyone with the influence to move the sales needle by writing about your product or company) typically receives hundreds of e-mails, pitches, press releases, Tweets, etc., from others who also want his/her attention.

Sure, there is a chance that a writer will randomly open your e-mail, see something of interest and write about it – an event public relations professionals call “your lucky day.” But like anything else in the business-to-business realm, leaving it to chance is not the best strategy for a manufacturing company that is looking to amplify its presence among prospects.

While there are never any guarantees – no matter how good a job you do – there are some proven ways to successfully reach the most critical influencers. Here are seven of them.

Get to know the writer’s beat and interests. The simplest way to break through the clutter is to take an interest in the writers who are most important to your company. There are plenty of ways to do that – follow their blogs in your RSS feed (and add comments to them), follow them on Twitter, become a Facebook fan if they have a fan page, and, most importantly, actually read what they write. Use the phone instead of e-mail, arrange a meeting in person (for breakfast, lunch or dinner, if the writers are willing.) In other words, engage with them; become a real person to them instead of just a name on a random e-mail.

Find out what the writers’ hobbies or interests are outside of industrial marketing and match them to yours. There are cases where stories were placed with top-tier journalists simply because the writer and the person pitching the story shared an interest in baseball. The story still had to be relevant to the writer’s audience, of course, but the baseball connection is what broke through the clutter.

Knowing what the writers cover also will prevent you from pitching stories that have no interest to them. It’s always a good idea to mention something the writer has written recently and how it relates to the story you’re pitching. If you can’t do that, it’s probably not appropriate.

Get into the conversation – and give back. Up until a few years ago, writers covering the industrial/manufacturing world would make their pronouncements from the top of Mt. Olympus, and then disseminate them to the masses. As I said in the first secret, today feedback (particularly in the form of comments) is a precious commodity.

Industrial writers, especially bloggers, appreciate it when interview subjects or company spokespeople comment on their stories. They want comments. They look for comments. They covet comments.

If you regularly follow a blog or traditional media writer and comment on stories or posts, you establish a rapport that will serve you well. If you read an article that interests you, hit the “Like” button, Digg it, or otherwise share it. Post a link in your Twitter feed, or re-Tweet something the writer posts. Don’t just do it with stories you’re involved in; do it with those to which you have a less direct connection. It shows you’re paying attention and value the writer’s work. It also may help that writer reach an incentive or other goals, which is good for all.

Offer extras. Everyone offers their experts to be interviewed as part of a story. But even traditional media outlets are striving to provide more of an online presence for their stories. 

When the interview is finished, offer to provide photos, video/audio (if you have it) or other graphics such as statistic-based charts. If there’s a YouTube video that helps illustrate the story, point them to that. The less work they have to do to find viral elements to accompany the story, the better. And the higher you are on the list when the next story rolls around.

Know the writer’s audience. Does the writer write for CFOs, general managers, engineers, line of business managers, business leaders, etc.? If your story isn’t right for the audience, you’re wasting the writer’s time. Worse is when you succeed in getting the story written anyway – and the audience turns on the writer. Again, that wins you no points with the writer for the future.

Make sure any story you pitch is suited to the writer’s audience. If your core story isn’t right, see if there’s another angle that might work better. A story about lowering costs by cutting staff will appeal to CFOs, and maybe even general managers, but will absolutely alienate the line-level engineering or manufacturing staff.

Know when/how to contact reporters. The other side of building these relationships is understanding what writers like and how they want to work. If they typically write their stories in the morning and look for ideas in the afternoon, contacting them at 10 a.m. is not going to get you very far, especially if it’s by phone.

The same goes for the type of contact. Some writers like the personal touch of phone calls; others are e-mail-only. Some have Twitter accounts they use to contact potential sources – they put out a Tweet and wait for responses. Or they want responses sent to a private box on Profnet or HARO (Help A Reporter Out). Learn which they prefer and follow it.

If you do have permission to call, always be respectful of the writer’s time.  

Be responsive. Be very responsive. Most writers tend not to plan very far ahead. They’re constantly working on tight deadlines, especially in the current 24×7 news cycle, so their primary interest is the story that’s due next. That means you may get a request for an interview or more information that needs to be fulfilled now.

Acting quickly means the better chance you have of making it into that story since it’s often “first come, first served” when it comes to last-minute sources. Don’t be surprised if that last-minute request comes from something you pitched months ago, either. Instead, be glad that the writer thought enough of it to save it all this time.

On the other hand, if you can’t get the person, statistic, photo, etc., the writer needs, be honest about it. Let the writer know as soon as possible so the search for sources can continue.

Keep up with the influencers. Like the industrial landscape itself, the media covering it is a constantly-shifting landscape. Writers come and go from an outlet. They change beats or interest areas. The delivery methods themselves change (from print or broadcast to online to bloggers to who knows?) and so forth.

Yes, it’s often difficult to keep up, but it’s worthwhile. Knowing who and/or where your key contacts are – especially those writers you’ve spent all that time building relationships with – is essential to making your media relations program work.

Signing up for a data service that regularly updates its database is a good start. But it’s ultimately your responsibility, not theirs. Tracking them in a database designed for media relations, including space to capture those personal preferences and hobbies you spent so much time discovering, simplifies the process over using a spreadsheet. It also makes the information easier to share with others in your organization.

Check your competitors’ website newsrooms and Tweets to see who they’ve been speaking to as well. The more up-to-date your list is, the better chance you have of making a connection.

Influencing the influencers isn’t rocket science. It’s more a matter of common sense, and treating writers like the people they are rather than anonymous targets to be aimed at or prizes to be acquired.

Take a real interest in the writers who are important to you, and find ways to engage them so you become real to them too. It’s your best bet for making sure your message is easily spotted – even when competing for attention with a Times Square-size crowd.

This article was written by Dan Green, national media relations manager at Tech Image, a public relations firm that helps technology companies of all sizes accelerate sales with highly-refined messaging, content development and influencer outreach programs. Tech Image has been named a Top Tech Communicator five years running by journalists in PRSourceCode’s annual survey, and Green has been named to the list twice. He can be reached at dan.green@techimage.com.
 

How-To Advice: Position Your Company as a Thought Leader 4

Your company likely has lofty goals related to generating leads, increasing revenue, and growing market share. These are essential and challenging goals regardless of the state of the industrial economy, and one of the best ways to support these goals is to establish your company as an industry thought leader.

Thought leadership means having a reputation in the market as a company with unique, innovative, and important ideas about your industry. It means you can understand and articulate the forces shaping your industry, the challenges facing it, and the future awaiting it. The good news is that any sized company can become a thought leader; you don’t need to be big.

If your company is a thought leader, the entire market — including customers and potential customers — will look upon you as experts. Everyone wants to work with experts. Customers will gravitate toward your products and services because your leadership and expertise in the industry helps reduce their fear of making the wrong purchase decision. In addition, media and industry analysts will seek out your company for interviews and quotes, helping to raise your company’s visibility even further.

Positioning your company as a thought leader generally involves three broad steps: establishing a point of view, developing content, and spreading the word.

Point of View
Establishing a point of view consists of taking a unique and relevant position within your industry. Maybe your company has progressive beliefs about your industry that other companies do not. Or perhaps you predict that your industry is changing in specific ways. Or maybe you understand new challenges customers will face and how to solve them, or you see new technical innovations on the horizon.

Each of these areas can be the foundation for a thought leadership point of view. The important aspects of your point of view are that it must be relevant to your audience, offer a new way of thinking or a new solution to an emerging problem, and be defensible in terms of having supporting evidence to validate your position.

Don’t think of point of view as being a grandiose vision; rather, a point of view should be practical and realistic. You should be able to talk about ideas and strategies that are achievable and can be implemented.

Develop Content
Once you have established your thought leadership point of view, you should develop content to help you articulate your position to your audience. The key here is to create relevant educational content and stay away from sales-oriented or promotional content that hawks your company, products, and services. The market is looking for — and will respect — genuine objectivity when it comes to industry experts.

A few core pieces can provide the basis for a multitude of useful, educational material. For example, the key messages from a white paper or executive brief can be re-purposed and re-used into webcasts, bylined articles, blog posts, videos, and more. Once you create content, your goal is to make it freely available and get it into as many people’s hands as possible. You could add a thought leadership section to your web site.

Spreading the Word
Put marketing acumen to work to spread the word on your thought leadership position. Use the same media channels your audience is using, which in the industrial sector means concentrating most of your efforts online because the vast majority of the industrial audience has migrated online to discover work-related information.

An essential strategy in spreading the word is getting to know the important editors, bloggers, and e-newsletter and web site publishers in your industry. You can offer to provide articles, guest posts, and other content. You can make your company’s executives available for media interviews or try to get them speaking engagements at industry events.

You should consider sponsoring online events, which are growing in popularity and are a highly-respected venue where your audience seeks educational information and networking opportunities. You can also host your own executive seminars, roundtables, and panel discussions — both online or at in-person events.

A final note of advice: establishing your company as a thought leader takes time. You can’t become a recognized industry expert overnight, but it will be time and resources well invested when you begin to see the dividends of increased market attention for your company.

Ready to get started? Read GlobalSpec’s white paper: “How to Become an Industry Thought Leader in the Online Era.”
 

How to Develop and Use Client Testimonials and Case Studies Reply

Every potential customer wants to know that your company has clients who are completely satisfied. This supports the notion that your company offers quality products, expert services, and exceptional customer support. This evidence often comes in the form of testimonials and case studies, both of which have an important place in your marketing content library.

The Difference Between Testimonials and Case Studies

Client testimonials are short, focused quotes — typically no more than a few sentences — from customers willing to speak on the record about a specific aspect of your business. For example: a testimonial about the quality of a product, or its multiple uses; the warranty or customer service provided by your company; or an expert and responsive technical support or implementation team.

Case studies are more in-depth stories that usually follow a challenge-solution-results structure and can touch on a number of topics related to how your company met a customer’s need or solved a problem and produced measurable results. They are often the result of several interviews and multiple drafts.

Another important difference is that sometimes a testimonial can be obtained from a customer with only the individual’s approval to use their quote, whereas a case study often must go through more formal approval channels with the customer, including their public relations and legal department. 

Ways to Use Customer Testimonials

  • Add them as sidebars to relevant web pages
  • Compile a number of testimonials into a single marketing collateral piece
  • Add testimonials to proposals or letters to potential customers
  • Use testimonials on campaign landing pages
  • Include them as slides in a presentation
  • Use them in relevant press releases
  • Create testimonials as brief videos, in addition to print

Ways to Use Case Studies

  • Create a library of case studies in PDF format that can be downloaded from your web site
  • Send them to potential customers by e-mail as part of lead-nurturing programs
  • Include them as downloads when exhibiting at a virtual event
  • Use them to pitch stories to media outlets such as industry web sites and online publications

Compelling Questions that Produce Compelling Testimonials

The testimonials you get from customers will only be as compelling as the questions you ask them to answer and provide a quote for. Here are some example questions that can elicit compelling answers. 

  • What is the single greatest benefit you realized in working with our company?
  • What is the single greatest benefit you realized by using [product A, service X]?
  • How would you describe the return on investment you achieved by [using a product or working with the company]?
  • What might have happened if you had not chosen to [work with our company or purchase our product/service]?
  • What advice would you give to other companies who are in the market for [a type of product or service]?
  • How would you describe your overall experience working with [company or specific individuals]?

Questions for Compelling Case Studies

Developing a case study typically involves a more in-depth interview, as well as more expansive or open-ended questions around the customer’s challenge, solution selected, and return on investment. Here are some examples:

Challenge

  • Describe the business problem/challenge that you were trying to solve in seeking a XXX solution.
  • What impact did this problem have on your business?
  • How have you addressed this issue in the past?

Solution

  • How did you hear about [company name]?
  • How did you decide to use [company name] for your solution?
  • Briefly describe the solution and how it was deployed.
  • Comment on the people you worked with at [company name]?

Results

  • Tell us how the solution helped solve your business problem/challenge.
  • What benefits did you derive from the solution?
  • What has been the measurable impact on your business of deploying this solution (i.e., incremental revenues, savings/productivity gains, safety gains, or return on investment)?

Tips for Developing Testimonials and Case Studies

  • Work with your sales and customer support teams to identify customers who would make good candidates for a testimonial or case study.
  • Have the sales person make the introduction.
  • Ask about their willingness to participate and how the approval process at their company will work. Find out who will sign off on the testimonial or case study.
  • Let customers know you are recording all interviews; also keep e-mail correspondence to have an audit trail for customer quotes.

Interview with Avnet on the Importance of Employee Engagement 1

It comes down to leadership, starting with the CEO. Our Executive Board is responsible for the brand. It’s folly to expect consistent, clear communication from employees if it’s not taken seriously by the leadership. At Avnet, we take pride in both internal and external communication. I don’t understand why more companies don’t.
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Tips for Building Strong Customer Relationships Reply

Everyone knows it’s easier and less expensive to keep a current customer than to find a new one. But don’t make the mistake of thinking there’s no effort involved. Customers can be demanding — especially when other companies are vying for their business. If you don’t work on building strong relationships with customers, you won’t maintain their loyalty. More…

10 Low-Cost Tactics to Market Your Business 1

With many budgets getting crunched, marketers may need to pay special attention to low-cost marketing tactics that can help their companies. Many of these ideas can be implemented using your current resources and some extra elbow grease in the form of time and hard work. And they can all help raise the visibility of your company and make your overall marketing more effective. More…