Who cares about case studies?
Your buyers, that’s who. Customer success stories are an important and integral part of an effective marketing campaign. Think about it. What better way to toot your own horn, without turning off your potential customers? A 2007 study published on eMarketer.com and compiled by Bridge Ratings and the University of Massachusetts asked US consumers what their most trusted sources of information were. Of course “friends, family and acquaintances” were first on the list, but “strangers with experience” were a close second and far ahead of any kind of media. This should speak loudly to how valuable, and vital, case studies are as part of your marketing mix. It should also come as no surprise. Companies like Amazon.com have been using this strategy to their advantage for years (think online reviews). Just consider your last big purchase. When you did your homework, did you read customer reviews for “unbiased” information on that item or service? I know I did.
Case studies show social proof that your product not only works but that it has worked for someone just like your customer. Companies that use case studies to great advantage keep on hand a variety of studies for every sub-set of their target audience. It gives their sales team the ability to pull out a case study that’s a perfect fit to any client they are courting. If you only go for the big-name companies for the cache of having them as a customer, you are missing out on speaking to all the medium and small companies who want to hear how your product worked for someone more like them. Showing customers that your product works is much more effective than telling them and it inspires confidence in your prospective buyers. The power of this type of testimony cannot be underrated.
In fact, case studies are consistently rated among the top kinds of materials buyers use during the buying process to gather information and educate themselves. They are easy to read and understand and are much more engaging than a dry product brief. They also speak to real world experience by a satisfied customer. Plus, let’s be honest here, everyone loves stories.
How do you market a case study?
Case studies are incredibly versatile marketing pieces. Their content can be re-purposed in a variety of ways, maximizing the effectiveness of the message and saving time, money and energy in overworked marketing departments. Here is a short list of just a handful of the ways case studies can be utilized:
- As a “bait piece” in a lead generation program: Prospective buyers want solid content that speaks to them and they will happily give you their name and email address for it. Just don’t go overboard and ask for too much information or they will “click” away to someone else’s website.
- As a press release: Condense the content into a concise press release. Trade publications need good content and often will publish a case study in its entirety. Be sure you include information at the end of your release on where to find the extended version.
- As content in a podcast or webinar: Success stories about your product can be woven into webinars or podcasts to demonstrate how your product or service was implemented, overcame challenges and solved a problem for a client.
- As content for a speaking engagement: A story about how your product worked for a customer can easily be inserted into a power point presentation. The full printed version of the story can be handed out after the speech. Be sure to include company contact information so anyone interested can easily find you.
- A companion piece to a white paper: White papers are a detailed description of a problem and how your product can be the solution to that problem. Case studies can accent how that solution actually worked in the real world.
- A compelling trade show handout: Everyone is flooded with information at a trade show. Make yours stand out. Condensed versions of your case studies can also be blown up and put it on the wall of your booth.
That just scratches the surface. Really you are only limited to your imagination and creativity. With testimony this powerful, don’t you just want it everywhere?
Patty Reagin is a freelance writer for the natural products industry specializing in white papers, case studies and other content marketing materials. For more information and a free report on how to market your case studies visit www.thewritingquill.com or email [email protected]