Well-researched and written client case studies are an effective way to get your clients to sell you in their own words. Once created, they’re easy to use across many print and online platforms with minimal reworking. Now that’s cost-effective…
Case studies are traditionally short and sweet – and rather clinical. They work by showing how you solved a client problem – to engage potential customers who face a similar challenge. And at the end, you quote your client, saying what a jolly good supplier you are.
You’ve probably seen the following format:
That’s all good and well, and there’s still a place for such case studies – even though they can appear to be just another sales tool. They’re a great start, but you can take case studies a stage further, make them less obviously a sales tool and get customers’ words working even harder for you. Here’s how…
You start by choosing a good customer with a positive story about your organisation. Then you ask them to participate – and tell them that they can use the finished case study too.
Next, you interview your client (or get an independent third party to do so, for a more candid response). What do you ask? Here are some ideas for starters:
Next, write the case study as a feature piece with a strong story thread – more like a 500–1000-word business magazine article than sales copy. And tell lots of the story (two-thirds or more) as quoted speech by your client – that way they ‘show’ what you did for them. It’s more credible than merely telling prospects how good you are as you might do in a brochure or website page.
Once you’ve written a first draft, get your client’s approval. Expect a bit of tweaking and don’t worry if they change the odd sentence into something quite informal or even clumsy. It’s coming from their heart and adds vital credibility.
With copy approved, you lay out the document as a simple PDF with a picture and logos – and a subtle resource box containing everyone’s contact details. Alternatively, ask your designer to give it a full graphic treatment. Either way, you’ll have a powerful communications tool for use in your next brochure, on your website, as an email attachment, or as a handout.
From experience, here are a few secrets of effective client case study writing:
So, what are you waiting for? When will you create your first new-style client case study and get your customers selling you in print? Sold! By your client in their words...
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