If there’s one tried-and-true marketing tactic still in vogue in the digital age, it’s customer case studies. Such vignettes showcase how real-world companies are resolving challenges and running their businesses more effectively with the help of your product or service. Telling their story as it relates to your solution is one of the best ways to show others how they can benefit by partnering with you, too.
In fact, case studies lend instant credibility in the form of customer endorsements – a tool that’s vastly more effective than the best sales pitch. But while the benefits of such case studies are clear, developing one successfully can sometimes be difficult.
Over the years, our team at Carabiner has developed hundreds of customer case studies for clients. Here are a few tips for making sure yours goes smoothly and that you receive maximum return:
Get the okay from the get-go. Almost every marketer has a story about the best darn case study that never was. People were interviewed, glowing content was written…and then the powers-that-be on the customer side gave it the kibosh. While your primary contact in the customer organization may be all-in on a case study, his higher-up or the legal department, for instance, might not be. Get clearance for a case study from the top before you start. Suggestion: Begin talking about the possibility of a case study at the point of sale, since this is when you are most likely talking to the decision-makers.
In fact, some companies even offer incentives for case study participation, such as a discount as part of the contract. Decision-makers are more willing to participate when they can clearly see what’s in it for them.
Cherry-pick the best stories. Many considerations go into choosing case study candidates – things like their willingness to participate, brand name recognition and level of success they’ve had with your product. As part of this, make sure they can furnish statistics that quantify return on investment. “Our sales have increased 25 percent year-over-year” is far more effective than saying “our sales are better now that we’re using this product.” Talk to prospective participants about what hard numbers they can deliver.
Share your customer’s story via multiple channels. Don’t limit your case study to just your website or a sales slick. Get as much mileage from your effort as possible. Turn the case study into a news release for pitching to media and send out an excerpt with a link to prospects in an email blast. Use snippets – such as quotes or statistics – as content for social media posts. There’s also no need to confine a case study to the written word. Web-based video is the perfect medium for telling your customer’s story in the most compelling way. Red Clip Video is an affordable video production company that operates as Carabiner’s strategic multimedia services partner. You can see two of the engaging video case studies it has helped companies create here and here.
Satisfied customers are your best marketing assets. Their stories have impact with prospects, since they want to see how companies like them are benefiting from your solution.
Is your company using customer case studies as part of its marketing strategy? Post your comments and questions here.