Courtney Eckerle

How HCSS Used an Interactive Contest to Increase Web Traffic 800%

December 9th, 2016

Pretty often with complex B2B products and services, it can be difficult, even for customers to show off the intricacies and value of the entire process.

With more than 4,000 construction companies and 45,000 end-users on HCSS software, the company was looking for a way to leverage clients’ stories and turn them into usable and compelling content.


“We have great customers who are doing great projects, really amazing projects, and our software is really helping them, but it’s like pulling teeth to try to get them to talk about them. They’re busy, you put them in front of lights and a camera and they clam up. They don’t mind telling it to you one-on-one, but then to get a bunch of them to send it in is difficult.”

Heading into December, Dan and his team came up with the idea for a March Madness-style competition, which would spur customers to submit those projects to HCSS, at a benefit to them.

“It just kind of hit us, that this would be really fun to do, to pit the projects against each other in this bracket-style timeline,” he said.

With a quick timeline — “it was worse than it looked,” he said — the team put the Most Impressive Project Challenge together over the holidays, the busiest time of year for them.

“We had the idea in the middle of December, and we had to launch it at the first User’s Group meeting which is at the end of January,” he said.

Customers submitted their projects in about a month, he added, and then the team launched at March Madness. In that time, they had to build a whole website, and the content alongside it.

“It was extremely successful. We had 120 projects submitted, our customers loved it,” Dan said, adding that after it was over customers were coming forward with projects they wanted to submit for next year’s contest.

Out of the success of that campaign came a completely transformational effort, he added, called I Build America. That campaign won the MarketingSherpa Awards 2017 Best-in-Show, and Dan will be speaking about it at this year’s Summit in Las Vegas.

“We’re trying to take that customer-focus that we had, and taking it ten times deeper and really looking at how are these construction companies impacting America? They build the infrastructure,” he said. “When you’re drinking water, it’s because somebody put a pipeline in … when you’re driving on the road, it’s because someone built those roads and those bridges, and we don’t often think about them.”

After their CEO came up with the idea and the name, he said, “we bought the URL the next morning,” and the team took off. Not only does I Build America have a contest, but they also do video shoots with customers showing how their projects are impacting America and even have a clothing line.

You might also like…

Customer-First Marketing Research Study

See Dan Briscoe onstage at this year’s Summit, where he will detail HCSS’ MarketingSherpa Awards 2017 Best-in-Show campaign.

Make Your Customer the Hero: How HCSS saw a 54% increase in annualized revenue without mentioning the product – The full, award-winning case study of HCSS’ Summit 2017 presentation

Inbound Marketing: Construction software company doubles submission goals in bracket contest for customer projects – The full case study of HCSS’ 2016 Summit presentation

Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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