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  • Writer's pictureREBECCA RAUSCH

Case Studies, Success Stories, Testimonials, and Reviews — What’s the Difference?

Another fabulous guest post from a very special guest, Lori Creighton of Homestead Media! We were honored to do Lori's branding a short time back and we have learned so much from her! She is an incredible asset for any team! Check out her site, she is a writing guru!


Think about the actions you take as you research and choose a product or service online. If part of your process includes reading about the experiences of other people, then you’re not alone. In the B2B world, case studies are the most effective content to convert and move prospects along on their buying journey. (Demand Gen) And in the consumer world, 88% of people trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (Search Engine Land) Publishing proof that you’ll do what you say you can do should be in your content strategy. To get started, learn about the difference between case studies, success stories, testimonials and reviews.

Reviews - Voluntary Customer Comments Reviews can be found on third-party platforms, like Google and Facebook, or right on a website like Amazon or other e-commerce sites. Reviews are an important piece of your online reputation and contribute ranking signals to search engines. If the reviews are on a third-party site, your business doesn’t have control over the comments. You should be monitoring what people say about you online and respond to comments – both positive and negative. If reviews are popular in your industry, you should create a process for asking for reviews.

Testimonials – Solicited Customer Comments The difference between reviews and testimonials is that your organization has control over the process. You’re the one who gathers and publishes customer comments on your website and through your social media posts, email, and other digital channels. You can get testimonials through interviews with customers and edit what they say into bite-sized comments. People are usually happy when you help them organize their thoughts. It’s important to not put words in their mouths, and have an approval process in place before publishing anything in your customer’s name. Customer Success Story – Illustration of Customer Experience The terms “success story," “client story," and “case study” are often used interchangeably, but a “story” is different from a “study.” In a success story, the client experience is described starting with the problem that the client needed to solve and moves through the solution and the outcome. People respond physiologically to a story that includes a problem, challenge, or distress, so the result of this kind of story is empathy or shared feelings and thoughts. Interviews for customer success stories can do double duty and provide material for great testimonials.

Case study cover art

Case Studies – In-depth Customer Experience Case studies and client or customer success stories are sometimes used interchangeably. A case study includes the context, problem, and solution that the customer experienced but can go into more detail about what the company did to implement the solution. Case studies can be more technical than success stories, but they’re not necessarily better depending upon who you’re trying to influence. For example, a CEO probably doesn’t want to know all the details but wants to know how the outcome is going to affect business results, while an engineer wants to understand the technology or methods that make the solution work. It’s About Trust and Credibility If you are presenting and promoting your business online, then you absolutely need content that will nurture trust and build credibility. People want to be confident in their buying decisions, and you’ll help them get that when you show and tell how you helped other people through customer studies, stories, testimonials, and reviews.

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©Neon Lizard Creative 2021 | Rebecca Rausch | | 952.452.0168


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