Effective case studies, also called customer success stories, are like testimonials on steroids. They’re typically 750 to 1,000 words long, or about one to two printed pages, or three to four screens on a webpage.
In a nutshell, they identify a customer’s problem and show how your company provided the solution. And they’re a natural complement to your standard, tried-and-true marketing materials.
So once you’ve got some great case studies, what do you do with them? How do other companies actually use them? How can you leverage them to the fullest?
Well, case studies are the perfect choice anytime you need to prove your experience. And really, that means they’re perfect for just about any step in your sales cycle.
Here are a few ideas to get the mental juice flowing:
1. Use case studies in your Power Point presentations to add authenticity.
2. Use them in your product literature to show prospects how you work.
3. Use them on your website to build credibility.
4. Give them away at trade shows.
5. Put your case studies on a CD as a leave-behind for sales calls.
6. Give case studies to prospects who want to learn more about you and your services.
7. Give them to prospects to help close the sale.
8. Use them to penetrate deeper into a large customer; if your solution has been measurably successful in one branch of a company, the case study can give your sales team qualitative information to sell the head office on implementing your solution company-wide.
9. Use case studies to add the credible details that transform unbelievable or potentially misleading testimonials into customer success stories that pass the FTC’s new truth-in-advertising standards.
10. Attract the attention of journalists with a case study sent as a press release. Make sure that the case study is written in an editorial style (i.e., with a straightforward, no-hype tone).
11. Use them as relationship-building tools. Send email blasts alerting your list to the new case study on your website, or mention it in your e-newsletter, and nurture those leads.
12. Write a white paper about how to solve the problem featured in the case study.
13. Create a webinar that shows prospects how to solve the problem featured in the story. Invite the customer from the case study to co-present with you.
Provide tangible evidence to your prospects that you’ve been there, done that…and that you’re ready, willing, and able to do it again. With a few well-chosen customer success stories in your marketing toolbox, you’ll be amazed how often you can use them.
Need help writing your case study? I’m Beth Carter, founder of Freelance Writing Solutions, and I help businesses create the messages their customers want to hear.