However, since we’ve put some additional resources behind creating and publishing case studies on our own website, we’ve realised just how powerful they can be.
In fact – and this is a bold statement – we now regard the case study page of our website as the most important section. At least half of our new leads approach us because they’d read one of our case studies.
As business owners, we are all used to telling potential clients what makes us special and we’ve perfected our ‘elevator pitch’ over the years. But, in the same way that editorial has more gravitas over advertising in a magazine, what really makes an impact is when a customer or client says you are pretty good at what you do.
Publishing case studies on our website provides somewhere we can send potential customers to read about the experience clients have had with us. Now, because we have a variety there, we can point them towards one which is most closely aligned with their business.
In terms of SEO, case studies are also a useful way of including long-tail key words – phrases which are longer and more descriptive. In our business, this could include something like ‘website designer Tunbridge Wells for [industry sector]’. In theory, if somebody searches on that phrase, they could find exactly what they are looking for when they are directed to one of our case studies. And, in this way, case studies provide an opportunity for high conversion rates.
In addition, you’ll often hear marketers nowadays talking about ‘storytelling’ as a useful sales tool. We all love reading a good story and, written well, a case study can provide just that.
Case studies can also be repurposed in a variety of ways. For instance, if you send out a regular e-newsletter or even post a magazine to customers, these are excellent pieces of content to include. If you have a sales brochure or collateral you leave with potential clients or perhaps visitors to your stand at any exhibition, your case studies can be designed and printed for this purpose.
You could pick up some key quotes to share on social media with a link back to the case study section on your website. Linking in this way is much more likely to engage with a potential client than sending them straight to your home page – where they then have to search for what they are interested in.
While we are talking about written case studies here, you might also consider sourcing video case studies from clients. Again, these could be added to your website, shared on social media or, perhaps, uploaded to YouTube or used on podcasts. In addition, if you are attending an exhibition, you could run these video case studies on a screen.
Rather than asking a client to write us a case study – which is a pretty big request to be honest – we have engaged the services of a former journalist, who is experienced in interviewing people. She has taken the time to know our business and makes sure she asks about the support and services which we are particularly looking to promote.
We usually send a request by email which introduces our client to our copywriter and then, assuming they say ‘yes’, we leave them to work out a time for a quick chat on the phone. We’ll also make sure we give our copywriter a run-down of that project and make sure we mention what we are particularly proud of or what challenges we overcame for the client – to she can ask them specific questions about that. While you could say that a case study is written in a client’s own words, there is a certain amount of stage-managing going on. Of course, we’d always suggest you approach clients you know are most happy with your work.
We all find it hard to ask for a case study, even if we know that the client is delighted with our product or service. By asking one of our clients if they could find the time to talk to our copywriter, it’s a bit like passing the responsibility a bit. We also let the client know that they’ll see the case study for sign-off, which gives them peace-of-mind.
We make sure that the case studies aren’t just about us. Our copywriter never just jumps in with ‘tell me all the great things about Target Ink’. Instead, she’ll start by saying ‘tell me about your company, how long have you been established and what makes you special?’
Asking a client to be the subject of a case study is also a good way of keeping in touch, strengthening that customer relationship and making them feel special. After all, you’re telling them you believe they have a valuable story to share.
Sometimes simply getting in touch with a client to request a case study can be the catalyst to starting a conversation about something else – maybe telling them about a new product you have or simply making sure that they are happy with the service they are receiving from you.
While it doesn’t happen very often, we have also discovered that asking a copywriter to deal with the case study means that the client might also mention something that’s on their mind – which they might not necessarily make the time to call us about that. Our copywriter, will always feed any comments back to us, so it’s a good way of simply checking in.
In addition to case studies, client testimonials are also really useful – on sites such as Google or Facebook. It’s always important to acknowledge these and, if necessary, respond to them. If they are particularly positive, then you might want to consider creating a testimonial page on your website or weaving those in amongst case studies.
Of course, if a client has left a positive testimonial, they are obviously feeling engaged with your business. These customers are prime candidates to approach about getting involved with a case study and expanding that testimonial into a longer story.
If you’d like to know more about how case studies can benefit your business, then get in touch