Using case studies and customer stories is old school; it’s been practiced for decades. Yet, it’s still very effective. After all, when shopping for a product you haven’t used before, who would you rather trust will help you make the right choice? The sales guy who’s probably trying to meet quota or the customer who has used this product before?
Case studies are a fundamental element in sales and marketing. And in a business era where a lot of marketers depend on content to popularize their products, fresh and interesting content is important to rise above the competition. Customer stories make very powerful content because they:
- Tell why customers trust your products and services
- Showcase the features and benefits customers can receive from your business
- Emphasize your core message
- Engage customers and prospects
- Give prospects convincing references when they’re deciding to have transactions with you
In terms of SEO and lead generation, case studies can propel people deeper into your sales funnel because they:
- Expand your content marketing strategy, because you can turn them into different pieces of content, such as email newsletters, eBooks or presentations for SlideShare
- Allow more publicity through media coverage
- Generate more SEO authority
- Further optimize your website
Stories can grab the interest of readers in ways that elevator speeches, product announcements and even content marketing articles can’t. They are the voice of actual people and real experiences, whether or not the customer’s experience has been good.
On the other hand, many companies still don’t leverage their customers’ stories enough to turn them into tools for conversion.
SAP Germany built this exemplary content marketing strategy. Their “100 Success Stories from Small to Mid-Size Business” project involved blogging about success stories from customers who used SAP in 100 days. The result was they formed momentum and engaged their target audience through those mini success stories.
Attract Customers with Case Studies
Using case studies s an established content strategy, yet many website still don’t use them to their maximum potential. Potential customers believe case studies more than a simple product description.
Even if the people in a case study have different situations or different lives, it’s easy to relate to their story. We can put ourselves into their shoes because we know that their situation may also happen to us.
How to Write a Gripping Case Study
A case study sounds like a fancy term for customer story, but it may actually mean more than that. Case studies are an in-depth review of a customer’s experience with a service or product, and they’re definitely not like those comments you see on online review sites. Since they’re written by the company, marketers can control how the customer experience is delivered and presented. On that note, you want to make sure the case study you publish is as compelling as possible because it’s one type of content that can convert leads.
Read on for tips on creating great case studies.
Tip #1. Create a story/personal people can identify with
This is a killer technique in writing literary pieces – writers create this character with weaknesses and strengths, someone very human so that readers can identify themselves with the character, and thus making the story a very compelling, relatable piece.
Likewise, the stars of your case study should be shown with background information by detailing their characteristics, needs, wants, strengths and weaknesses. When you display various customer stories, your target audience will realize that there are different types of people who use your product.
Tip #2. Provide a solution to a problem
Examples of your product or service resolving real-life problems is a concrete way of saying that people are interested in making business with you. Just like how comments on review sites can help people decide if your business is reliable enough, stories of successful problem resolution can convince people why you are chosen over the competition.
Tip #3. Give the deets
Details can really strike home with your audience. Would-be clients and customers won’t be convinced enough if they hear that “it worked”; they want to know the what, where, when, how, why and who of the situation. They want to know if they’re going to get their money’s worth. When you ask your case study customers these questions, what you’ll have in your hands are genuine stories that can appeal to prospects.
Tip #4. Credibility through numbers
Empirical data works because they add credibility. Clearly, saying something like “20% of Facebook users have deactivated their account” is a more tangible and substantial way of saying “a lot of Facebook users deactivated”. Having numbers and figures gives a stronger point and allows your content to stand out.
Tip #5. Transparency
Advertisements like informercials sometimes aren’t convincing when their message is misleading the dialogue too scripted. The key to a believable story is transparency. Showing real results from real customers is a more effective and even easier way of getting that much coveted lead response.
Ways to Use Case Studies and Success Stories
1. Your website. Grab your audience’s attention at the very start when they land on your homepage. Provide a prominent link to your story on the homepage and include relevant product or service pages. Put the full story somewhere on your website, and create a summary on your blog. For the summary, include details about the solution applied and the outcome.
2. Direct marketing. Highlight a success story in a direct mail for your prospects and existing customers. It can be either a summary or a full story.
3. Email. Get your emails opened and read by using a compelling story, bet it for an email campaign or emailing a single contact.
4. Newsletters. Tell customer stories in newsletters that are meant for customers and even employees and partners.
5. Sales letters. Busy prospects may set aside some time in their day if you grab their attention with a sales letter that comes with a compelling story.
6. Press releases. Customer stories can extend your media coverage when you highlight them in your press release. Use the story as the angle and write the press release in a way that it targets a specific media contact.
7. Webinars. There are so many ways to present success stories via webinars. For one, you could have a satisfied customer present to prospects and other customers.
8. Events. Special events, gatherings and other occasions where you have the opportunity to speak in front of a live audience provide so many opportunities to dazzle a crowd with tales of customer satisfaction. You can also invite customers to
9. Public service announcements. Stories from organizations like nonprofits are powerful ways to deliver your message to the public.
10. Your hold message. If you have a handle customer service over the phone, consider using a success story as your hold message. Callers will receive your service, and at the same time, learn about your products and services’ value.
Sometimes, you need something different to sell your products and services. Customer stories make great blog posts and articles because they appeal to people better than descriptions every could. Remember this guide and apply it the next time you make an article.