Some of the activities to acquire new clients are a no brainer; cold calls, referrals, social media and other forms of marketing. However, one of the best tools to capture new business is one that flies under the radar. You should invest some time and energy into creating a few solid case studies.
A case study is a document that can be used during a cold call or a blog post or can easily be shared. It highlights when you were at your best with a client and proves viability in your product or service. The case study shares a challenge your client had, the solution your product or service was able to create for the challenge, how that solution was implemented and finally, the results of that hard work for the client. Today, most potential buyers are looking for reviews from peers or past customers. Those same potential buyers can be pulled in the other direction if they see a mountain of negative feedback. So what can you do to use case studies to bring in more customers? Let’s look at who you should ask to participate in your case studies.
Involving your best client.
Since a case study showcases the best of the best of your service, you should engage with your very best clients. Have a conversation with one or two of your best clients and ask them if they would be willing to support you. Chances are, if you really wowed them, they’ll be willing to help out. Be prepared with a list of solid questions to ask them. Get their feedback on how you helped, what specific challenge you helped overcome, and see if you can receive solid data on the results to share. Be as detailed as you can in your questions and notes. Keep in mind that the case study is something your client can share as well.
Here are some themes that you’ll want to go over with your client while gathering information to create your case study
- What was their pain or experience BEFORE using your products or services?
- After choosing to work with your company, what was the experience during the process?
- Upon the completion of the project, what were the results of the solution you offered?
- Ask them if they would recommend your services to anyone else.
Presenting your information.
The case study is broken up into four separate parts.
- The business challenge. This section introduces the specific challenge(s) that your client was having. Be sure to explain in as much detail as possible, especially if the business is unique. In this area, you’ll want to also showcase how well you understand your client.
- Your solution. Once you have identified the challenge, you have the opportunity in this section to give a detailed description about how your products and services overcame the challenge. Here, you will want to give a description of the solutions you developed, how it relates to your services and then what the plan was for implementation.
- The plan. While you would highlight it at the end of the previous section, you will want to use this place to provide an in-depth layout of the plan to implement the solution. Be as detailed as possible without giving away any corporate secrets. Make it easy to understand. This is a great opportunity to show what sets you apart from your competition as well.
- Measurable results. What good is a plan without results? This is the finale. This is the heart of the case study; how your products helped. Use graphs, images, anything that you can in order to prove that what you suggested and implemented actually made a difference.
Creating and sharing the case study.
After you have gathered all of the information, now you have to get to the design work of actually creating the case study. There are some thoughts about making it somewhat sterile and allowing the data to speak for itself. Since I’m a creative, I tend to go with brand identity and making it as creative as possible. Make it consistent with your brand. Make it easy to read and highly visual. If you have the budget, do a video version of the case study by interviewing the client, business owners and any of your team who was responsible for ensuring the plan was carried out.
Share your case study everywhere. Create an email campaign to send out your case study, put it on your website, put the video up on YouTube and social media.
Having an effective case study can be a great sales presentation and something that can set you apart from your competition.
What other ideas can you come up with for your case study?