I learned a valuable marketing lesson early in my career when I was a floor manager in a department store. I discovered customers don’t always appreciate your product or understand why they absolutely must buy it. It is your job to tell, or better yet, show them.
For example, if I wanted to reduce the overstock of ugly purple shirts, I had to help a customer visualize how that shirt would fit into her wardrobe. I would put one on a mannequin with great pants, a fun purse and a cool belt. The shirts would fly out the door, very often accompanied by the pants, purse or belts.
I am sure you are thinking that’s a great example, but how can you use this marketing strategy if you are not in a visual business? That is where a case study comes in. Instead of telling prospects about your skills, look for ways to show examples of your products or services in action.
Case studies give potential clients a chance to visualize what you might be able to do for them. They are particularly effective with technical products because they are more interesting to read than just product specifications. They are also more credible then simple sales literature filled with claims that you are the “leading experts in your field.”
A well written case study draws the reader into the story told from the perspective of a customer. It helps you prove your expertise without bragging by presenting a factual description of the problem, solution and the results. A quote from the customer brings a bit of emotion and credibility to the case study, saying things you can’t say.
Case studies don’t have to be long or very complex (two pages maximum). They simply need to answer three questions:
What was the problem? The purpose of a case study is to help a prospect visualize how you might be able to help them. In this first section clearly describe the pain points so a reader might say, “wow, that is my problem.”
What was the solution? This is where you get to talk about your product and your expertise. Give readers insight into how you work. Be specific. Without giving all your secrets away, tell prospects how you solved the problem.
What were the results? Fill your case study with words like increased, improved, reduced and avoided. Whenever possible support your claims of success with numbers such as total dollar saving or percentage increase to demonstrate the size of your impact. If possible add one or two graphs or charts to visually reinforce the messages.
Share your story
Now that you have written your case study, put it to work. Create a PDF you can print and hand to prospects or an online, more interactive version complete with a video testimonial from a client. Once you have your first case study done, it is time to start working on the next one.
Need a little help? Give us a call. And be sure to check our our case studies to see what we have been able to do for clients just like you.