When your customers tell stories, prospects pay attention
Do you know what the biggest hurdle to overcome in marketing is these days?
Studies on this subject have shown that people are increasingly skeptical …the element of trust has decreased dramatically with the result people stall more on decision making, and in order to make a decision they invariably prefer to ask the opinion of someone else who they know, like and trust.
The consequence is that evidence based information is increasingly important in promotions which leads us to make mention of case studies.
A case study is a “product or service success story”- a short article telling how a customer’s problem was solved by using your product or service. They work because it’s not the manufacturer making claims– it’s a real-life customer saying how the product helped him.
For that reason, it’s much more credible and believable than most other items of sales literature.
Interestingly, according to Bob Bly, a leading American copywriter a study has shown that 71% of prospects become more willing to buy from you after reading case studies about your product.
We’ve used them effectively for clients as an article in newsletters, but also as stand-alone items within presentation folders or for sending out as contact follow-up material. They can also be used within company brochures and capability statements.
One of our clients in Sydney, a manufacturer of a sophisticated system of robotic forklift vehicles for installing in large factories, found them exceptionally useful as a tool for getting ‘interested prospects’ to become convinced of their worth and become customers.
When they saw case studies of companies such as Fonterra, Ford, National Foods, Unilever and so on using the system in their factories, it helped to convince them that installing the system would be worthwhile. From their point of view it reduced the element of risk.
Major Motors, WA’s principal dealership in Isuzu Trucks uses them as a key feature in every newsletter that they have produced.
And in another instance of how they can be used, one of our real estate clients, undertook an analysis of the percentage of listings he was gaining from an area of 500 homes over the previous year.
He then distributed a quarterly newsletter to these homes for 15 months and did another analysis to discover that the percentage of listings obtained by his agency had increased significantly. End result, he now distributes 25,000 newsletters. This is a great case study we use for promoting our own services to real estate agents.
Case studies can simply be added to your website, but they’re undoubtedly best when printed for inclusion in a sales presentation folder or for sending to prospective clients as follow up material – or as mentioned before, as an article within a regular newsletter.
So how are they created?
If clients use our services to create them, we consider which niche of our client’s business they’d best targeted towards. Our client then contacts the customer to ask if they’d be happy to be featured in a case study.
If the client agrees, we interview our client’s customer about how they’re using the product or service, their experience with it and so on.
Without doubt they’re a mile better than testimonials because testimonials tend to be just a few paragraphs whereas case studies offer far more.
It’s best that businesses outsource the writing of these because you can achieve a better tone of independence in the articles because a customer will usually speak more frankly to a third party.
What’s more the third party can usually write the article as it will interest the reader whereas businesses writing their own case studies have a tendency to write from the perspective of what they want to tell people.
There’s a difference that usually improves the product.