Unleashing Social at Intuit through the Word-of-Mouth Library

Name of Entry: Intuit’s Word-of-Mouth Library

Name of Company Entering: Intuit, Inc.

Date: September 2012

Category: Business to Employee

One of the keys to our enduring success at Intuit is our focus on delighting customers. Accordingly, we’ve imbued all parts of our organization from product development to customer care to marketing with metrics around customer delight. This has put Intuit’s Small Business Division in the great position of having millions of customers who are willing to speak out on our behalf, helping us to unleash the most powerful form of marketing: word-of-mouth.

How Intuit harnesses this word-of-mouth and maximizes its impact

  1. We put permanent “capture points” in places where we are interacting with customers to solicit user-generated reviews and testimonials. Examples of capture points include Messages areas within our products, transactional emails, Twitter, and Facebook.
  2. We consolidate user-generated assets into one searchable, filterable location. This is the Word-of-Mouth Library.
  3. We then syndicate the assets in the Word-of-Mouth Library across the Small Business Division’s marketing efforts to maximize our efforts across all parts of the sales funnel.

Best practices for capturing user-generated content

One of the best practices that has emerged for us is to place capture points at a moment of delight for the customer. For example, with Intuit Websites, our website builder product, we know that a key moment of delight is when the customer publishes their website for the first time. Right after publication occurs, we pop up a request for a review. It works: We receive a steady stream of 40 to 80 reviews per day flowing into the Word-of-Mouth Library.

Types of user-generated content

Since the small business audience is so diverse, we collect a variety of user-generated assets to address different needs. For example, someone who is just starting to explore the accounting software space may appreciate videos of real business owners who are successfully running their businesses with the software. Someone who has educated him/herself on the range of accounting software options may want detailed reviews on how the accounting software has worked for another business owner in the same industry or business lifecycle. All of these types of content are included in the Word-of-Mouth Library.

Making an asset valuable

An asset is only valuable if someone can find it when they need it. To make sure that user-generated assets are easily leveraged across the Small Business Division’s marketing efforts, these assets are consolidated into the Word-of-Mouth Library. The library is a filterable, searchable, and taggable tool whose sole purpose is to deliver the right content to the right user at the right time. This library has been actively “in-market” within the Intuit marketing community for the past 4 months and it continues to evolve based on feedback.

Effecting business outcomes through syndicating user-generated content

The following examples show how the Word-of-Mouth Library has catalyzed the use of user-generated content to improve our marketing efforts at all parts of the sales funnel:

  1. Category awareness through Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is improved in two ways: First, by placing the large volume of fresh, diverse user reviews about Intuit GoPayment on our e-commerce website; and second, by asking customers to share their product reviews via Twitter and Facebook with links back to the e-commerce website. The combination of these two efforts has enabled us to raise our visibility in search results for long-tail keywords related to the mobile payments category. Specifically for GoPayment.com, when we compare the visitor statistics for the optimized pages vs. the overall site before the launch of the optimized pages:
  • Visits driven by search engines was 57% higher
  • Each visit lasted about the same amount of time
  • There was a 29% decrease in bounce rate
  1. Incremental referral traffic to our e-commerce sites. When Intuit Websites customers share their testimonials on their personal networks via email, Facebook, Twitter, or their blog, they are reaching people who may not necessarily be aware of Intuit’s small business solutions. Because it is a small-business owner, not Intuit, who is crowing about the product, we see a growing amount of referral traffic from social media. In August 2012, this referral traffic was just shy of 20,000, i.e. 20,000 visits we may not have gotten otherwise.
  2. Better efficiency in search engine marketing (SEM) and display ads. We have started testing the use of user-generated testimonials in text-based SEM and video display ads for our GoPayment mobile payment processing solution as an alternative to professionally-authored content. The results are not yet in, but we are optimistic that these user-generated assets will improve the click-through rate and interaction with these ads. We have found that video is especially powerful for GoPayment because it is such a visually-engaging product; people immediately “get it” when they see someone swiping a credit card on the GoPayment card reader attached to an iPhone.
  3. Increased engagement and click-through in our direct and email marketing cross-sell efforts. To offset the decrease in open and click-through rates on our email marketing, we are incorporating more user-generated and other social content to engage QuickBooks customers who may have lost interest in our emails. By having customers stay engaged with our emails, we are able to stay top-of-mind when they are considering another solution for their business.  Using this approach, we saw as much as 50% of unique email clicks going to the user-generated content links.
  4. Improved conversion on the e-commerce site. Different types of content appeal to users at different shopping stages or with different communication styles. Through multivariate testing, we saw that shoppers responded best to the page which incorporated a combination of three types of user-generated content (poll results, videos, and Q&A forums). The product page with this winning combination brought in 41% more revenue than the existing experience.

About Lynette Liu

Lynette Liu is a product manager in the Small Business Division at Intuit. She is proud to support local businesses and can often be found in the local ice cream shop doing just that!
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