From earliest childhood, we all love to read or hear a story, so having a client agree to give a case study provides your organisation a powerful piece. A case study is an elongated testimonial, a reference with details, a story of steps taken.
For your prospects it gives credibility, especially if from the same industry. It triggers empathy, the prospect may not know that there is a solution available, but when reading what your product / service delivers, then they recognise the issues that they can resolve. As another organisation has already implemented the solution, then the fear of being an early adopter is removed, instead they see the proof of concept together with proof of ROI (return on investment).
In so many ways the case study can remove hurdles from various roles in the DMU to saying yes this is what we need.
What makes a good case study?
A good case study has to be relevant to your target audience. It should be easy to read with the advantages defined clearly.
In very many ways a case study is a pile of SCRAP
Say what? It is a simple way to remember the structure that a case study can follow to ensure clarity. Let me explain:
- Situation – what was the issue that the customer had prior to contacting you. This could be a high rate of returns from an online shop due to damage in transit; it could be an inefficient customer services or inside sales team due to the calling software not integrating with the other systems so data is being entered into multiple locations instead of just once. State the problem that was faced clearly, preferably with statistics taken prior to your solution being implemented.
- Complication – what was stopping the customer addressing the issue. To use the two examples above: was it a lack of contract liability or insufficient insurance in terms of the damaged goods, or that the software currently used was out of date.
- Reason – why did the customer contact you? What made you stand out from your competitors? Don’t be afraid to use quotations from the customer – it all adds to credibility.
- Action – what actions did you take to address the issue that the customer had? Review the contract, replace the delivery company, ensure insurance was suitable for purpose, replace the defunct software making sure that it integrates with all the relevant systems to avoid double entering of data taking time instead of answering calls. Emphasis the positive results – the reduction in broken deliveries, the impact on the bottom line and profitability, the increased number of calls taken, the decreased waiting times on hold for their end customers. Prove that your solution delivered the benefits required. Have a quotation from someone internal to your organisation, but also use pictures – maybe before and after photographs, graphs, diagrams – whatever makes it easy for prospects to feel your solution will definitely help them.
- Platitudes – how should other prospects contact you? Where to find out more information: website, social media, telephone number. It is no good really whetting the appetite if the case study does not clearly say how to reach you, otherwise you may find that if they Google your name that they find out about a competitor too and the prospect is lost.
How to use case studies
Case studies are a multi-functional and a very powerful piece of marketing content. They can be used in a variety of ways:
- Website – it sounds obvious, but your case studies should be uploaded to your website. There should be links to and from the relevant solution pages. Updating your website regularly with new content will also help you with SEO and organic search results.
- Social media – post about the new case study, a quotation, a photo. In all cases link back to the website to increase your backlinks and website traffic.
- Issue to press – depending on your organisation then it is possible that there are vertical market publications and websites that are read by your target audience. Gone are the days that they want product launch stories (unless you are Tesla or Apple), instead they want good quality stories about the effects of the solution. These days with many publications being online they need much more content. If your case study is used by a magazine / website then don’t forget to tell your followers where they can read it on your social media feeds. With it being carried, then that gives it even more credibility.
- Emailed to clients – case studies can be a powerful sales tool at the right stage of the sales process. They should be emailed over by the sales person at that right time to help accelerate closing their current deal or to over obstacles in the DMU.
- Newsletters – whether those newsletters are to channel partners or to prospects and clients, then mentioning the case study allows the audience to see the good work that you are doing. They help to decrease customer churn, plus give channel partners a sales tool that they too can leverage to mutual benefit.
If you want to learn more about how a case study can benefit your organisation, then please drop us a line.