Consumers are increasingly skeptical about marketing, so the best way to communicate the effectiveness of your products and/or services is through actual customer quotes and case studies. Testimonial quotes enable your potential customers to, in essence, "check your references," while case studies can help them understand what you do in practical terms.
Case studies are based on the successful business relationships you have with your customers. Since they are references, consider doing case studies with your most prominent customers. Just as a reference from a Vice President holds more weight than a reference from a Manager, a story about how you helped a large, well-known corporation increase sales will also hold more weight than successes with lesser known companies. Also, consider doing studies on your most interesting solution implementations. The more compelling your stories are to read, the more likely it is that your prospects will take the time to read them.
Creating Your Own Success Stories
Any reference to eBay in the headline or sub-head must not indicate that eBay is announcing the news.
While case studies vary from company to company, all of them include these key elements:
- Your company name and contact information
- The name, company name and title of the customer
- Information about the relationship of the customer to your company – what problem did they have?
- Information about how you solved their business problem
- Quotes from the customer about your company’s products
- Information about how the customer used your company’s products to improve or grow their business
- The proof is in the numbers, so do your best to include numbers as evidence that your customer’s business grew as a result of your solutions. (For example, "Before using our auction management listing tool, Smith Products was able to list only 20 auctions per day. Using our tool, they now list over 100 auctions per day and their sales have grown by 500%".)
Since you are creating case studies and testimonial quotes for marketing purposes, it’s a good idea to have your customer to sign a release form authorizing the use of their statement, before you publish the information. Once you have secured the interview and written the story, ask your customer to sign the release form based on the final version of the case study. Keep a copy of the release form in your files.
Because the legal needs of every company will vary, you should consult with an attorney when securing releases and nothing in this guide is intended to be, or should be understood to be, legal advice.
Creating your own free trial or demo
If possible, consider offering prospective customers a free sampling of your product that perhaps expires after a couple of days or includes a limited number of your product’s features so they’ll get a taste of what you’re offering. However, if this is not possible, a self-running demonstration, or "demo," is a very effective way to sample software to potential customers. Posting a demo to your website will enable those who link to your site from the Solutions Directory to sample your product and learn more about how it may meet their needs.
- Successful online demos include screenshots showing your software’s interface and the features available from your software.
- Keep the demo as short as possible, so viewers will get a good idea of what your product does without getting overwhelmed by too many details.
- Be sure to include a "contact us" button at the end of your demo so it’s easy for viewers to contact your sales department.
How to develop your own logo — designing your own brand or logo
If you are interested in hiring a designer to help you design a brand or logo to market your solutions to the eBay Community, consider finding a designer in the eBay Solutions Directory. Simply enter "logo design" into the Search box from the Solutions Directory homepage at http://solutions.ebay.com/ to find a vendor that specializes in what you need.