Case studies are a great way to tell the world how valuable your products or services are. They go beyond simple testimonials by showing real-life examples of how you were able to satisfy your customer’s needs and help them accomplish their goals. With great case studies, you will be able to highlight your successes in a way that will make your ideal potential customer become your customer. The following are some tips on how to make your case studies a powerful asset in soliciting business.
1. Write About Someone Your Ideal Customer Can Relate To
Do you know who your ideal customer is? If it’s someone in the education industry, then make your case studies about your university customers. If it’s someone in the automobile industry, then make your case studies about auto parts and accessories manufacturers.
The goal is to ensure that once your ideal customer has read your case studies, they will feel:
- You are comfortable in their industry.
- You know their industry’s specific needs.
- You know how to give their industry targeted results.
Think about it on a smaller level, such as when you’re reading a how-to blog post. Most of them are geared toward average readers. But when you come across a how-to post specifically designed for your needs (such as online marketing for the healthcare industry), then you are more likely to understand and apply the information. The same goes with case studies – people who read about results attained in their industry will feel like the same products / services will work for them as well.
2. Tell the Story from Start to Finish
People enjoy reading a story. A great case study will allow someone to really get to know the customer in the case study including:
- Who is the sample customer and what do they do?
- What were the customer’s goals?
- What were the customer’s needs?
- How did you satisfy those needs and help the customer meet their goals?
A final thing you could do is simply follow up with the customer in the case study and update your case study a few months down the road to show how your products / services are continuing to have long term benefits for the customer. This would give readers the opportunity to see that your goal is not only to help with immediate needs, but also to ensure long term results.
3. Provide Easy to Read Formatting
No one really likes to read one huge chunk of text, no matter how interesting and informative it might be. Be sure to use good content formatting elements like you would with articles, blog posts, and copywriting on your website including:
- Bulleted lists
- Bolded & italicized text
In addition to providing great SEO value for your case studies page, these formatting elements will help your readers (especially those that like to skim) find the most important parts of your case study and get a great impression about what your business could do for them.
4. Include Real Numbers
Have you ever read case studies where a business states that they “doubled traffic” for the customer in their case study and wondered if that meant they went from 100 to 200 visits or 10,000 to 20,000 visits? Certain ways of displaying numbers can have an ambiguous meaning. You will want your case study to be as clear as day. So instead of just saying you doubled their traffic, show them real numbers and (if possible) real proof.
Of course, remember that not everyone is as familiar with the technology as you are, so be sure to highlight what they should be noticing.
This way, the reader can see where the customer began and where the customer ended up with your help. They can see real, tangible results. Plus having the picture proof can help the reader envision exactly what you might do for them, making the case study that much more powerful.
5. Talk Specific Strategy
So you doubled a website’s traffic or sales, right? How did you do it? This is where you sell your products or services simply by saying which ones you used and how they led to the desired result. You shouldn’t just say “our online marketing services led to these results.” Instead, you should say “it was a combination of a three-month dedicated social media campaign focusing on Facebook & YouTube and five months of link building that led to an increase in rankings plus brand exposure that led to these results.”
6. Try Different Formats
While people like stories, case studies do not have to be fit into story form every time. You could try different types of case studies, such as an interview format where you have your clients answer the same questions mentioned earlier about what they do, their needs, their goals, and how you met them. Quoting your customer in their own words will make the case study even more relatable to your ideal customer than you telling the story.
7. Appeal to Different Types of Learners
While some people enjoy reading, others may prefer audio, video, or visual representation of your case study. So consider taking your text-based case studies and re-purposing the content as:
- A podcast
- A YouTube video
- Or even an infographic (such as the one below)
The bonus with YouTube videos and infographics is that they are easy to share. This means that your case study may go further than just your own site, leading to more of your potential customers finding out how they could benefit from your products or services.
8. Make Them Easy to Find
What’s the point of having great case studies if no one will ever read them? Be sure that your case studies are organized and easy to find. Some great examples of how to do this include the following:
Amazon Web Services
Microsoft’s Business Hub
Have any case study best practice tips or examples of case studies you have enjoyed? Please share them in the comments!
Kissmetrics combines behavioral analytics with email automation. Our software tracks actions of your users across multiple devices allowing you to analyze, segment and engage your customers with automatic, behavior-based emails in one place. We call it Customer Engagement Automation. Get, keep and grow more customers with Kissmetrics.
About the Author: Kristi Hines is a freelance writer, blogger, and social media enthusiast. Her blog Kikolani focuses on blog marketing, including social networking strategies and blogging tips.
The other day I wrote a post about why point of view mattered (and even gave a bunch of questions you can ask to hone in on yours) so much in marketing and I gave a few examples.
But I thought a few more might help really drive home how pervasive and effective a clear perspective is in life and business.
Here’s fifty of ’em . . .
Joanna Macey, author of The Great Turning, believes that we are in a time of The Great Turning and that there are three core types of work needed. Holding Actions (e.g. lock downs, sit ins, tree sits, direct action, letters to the editor etc), Creating Alternatives (e.g. strawbale, permaculture, solar power, wind power, non violent communication) and Shifting Consciousness (e.g. deep ecology work, yoga, shamanic work, writing books or making movies on our relationship to the planet etc). Moreover, she believes that all three of these types of work need to work together instead of criticizing the others as being ‘less real’.
Non Violent Communication comes from the belief that there are two ways to live. The first is to come from the place of ‘how do i get what i want?’ and the other is, ‘how do we all get our needs met’. They believe that if we come from the second place we’re all much more likely to get our needs met and live happier and healthier lives.
Many people follow the 10 commandments which are a point of view of how to live a good life.
Freud did not believe in the collective unconscious, but Carl Jung did. They had a difference of point of view and ultimately divided over it.
Similarly, there are many different schools of thought in yoga, branches of the church and Buddhism that all come from the same root. What divides them now? Differences in point of view.
The five elements in traditional Chinese medicine are a map and point of view on what is needed to have in balance to live a healthy and happy life.
The four directions are an indigenous perspective on what is needed to have in balance to live a healthy and happy life in harmony with nature and the seasons.
The seven chakras come from the point of view that our well being starts from an energetic basis before the physiological one and are a map and model of the seven core energetic centers.
George Lakoff wrote a book called ‘Don’t Think of An Elephant’ and he believes that the best way to understand the worldviews of liberals vs. conservatives is to look at it as a family model. His point of view is that the conservatives fundamentally have a Strict Father model and that liberals have a Nurturing Parent model. And that both models have a very different worldview underneath them.
David Deida believes that the ‘zing’ in sexual relationships comes from polarized sexual energies – when one partner steps in the masculine energy and the other partner lets themselves open to the feminine energy.
The people who work for restorative justice believe that the point of justice should be about restoring wholeness in a community – not just punishing people.
The zodiac is not only a map of the sky but a point of view about why we are the way we are and are born with the qualities we’re born with.
Derrick Jensen lays out twenty very clear premises about why we need to act now to create change starting with a premise that western civilization is not and will never be sustainable.
Feminism is rooted in the belief that men hold power, anarchism – that the state holds power, racism – that white people hold power. And they all work to confront and shift that power.
A participant in a recent Vancouver workshop was going to lead a workshop for men with anger issues. His belief was that, underneath the anger, they were really just afraid.
Thomas Leonard wrote his book The 28 Laws of Attraction to articulate a point of view that said all this striving and personal growthing was actually unnecessary – that you could set up your lifestyle to bring you what you were wanting much more easily.
My core take in marketing is summed up in the metaphor of the journey from Island A to Island B that I illustrate in this video.
The four food groups is a point of view. As are the food pyramids. The Zone. The Blood Type diets. The vegan diet, raw vegan diets, primal diets, traditional foods etc. They’re all points of view of what we should eat and why.
The famous doctor Jack Nicklaus had crippling knee pain. The doctors diagnosis was that his knee was irreparably damaged and that he needed surgery. Then he saw Pete Egoscue who thought it was his hip rotated forwarded. So he worked on the hip and the knee pain went away. In the end, Pete’s map matched the territory better than the doctors.
Jon Stewart took over The Daily Show years ago. He believed that this mock news show should be about making fun of the MEDIA and their bias towards sensationalism and conflict not about pranking people (which the show had been). This point of view became the heart of the show as he gradually replaced everyone on the staff and built a team around that understanding.
Marketing guru Jay Abraham believed that the single most potent thing you could do to increase sales was to take on the risk of the transaction rather than expecting the customer to.
The book ‘Men Are Great’ says it’s point of view right in its title.
The anti oppression movement comes from the understanding that power and privilege are not evenly divided in society – and that the lines of power tend to run along lines of race, class, gender and other forms of privilege.
Two of my favourite shows growing up, MacGyver & Doctor Who are both rooted in the idea that problems can be solved with smarts and not guns.
Debbie Ford is a recent proponent of the ancient idea of ‘the shadow’. The idea that our greatest gifts and authenticity will be found in our darkest shadows and that the things we repress end up controlling us.
8tracks.com is an online community based on the idea that mix tapes are cool and people should be able to share and listen to music freely.
Byron Katie, author of Loving What Is bases her work in the understanding that our suffering is caused by our thinking and fighting with reality.
Contrarian Australian dentist, Paddi Lund once believed that the purpose of a business was about generating money but after years of deep depression he came to understand that the purpose of business was about generating happiness.
Tiina Veer of Toronto believes that yoga should be accessible to people with round bodies.
The movie Lemonade, about people who used being fired as a chance to reinvent their lives, sums up their point of view in it’s tagline: “It’s not a pink slip. It’s a blank page.”
Patch Adams holds the belief that health care should be free and that we can care for each other.
My new friend Aumatma believes that health care can be offered on a gift economy basis. Meaning people don’t have to pay anything other than what they want.
Kris Ward of Abundant Yogi has her point of view nestled in her company name – the idea that economic abundance and yogic philosophy are not mutually exclusive.
My old pal Joey Hundert created Sustainival out of the notion that the best way to reach the unconverted with a message of sustainability is through fun – so he’s created a sustainable carnival of sorts where he powers rides (e.g. the gravitron or ferris wheels) with vegetable oil.
Winnipeg’s brilliant Beth Martens began to offer yoga classes to care givers (e.g. taking care of eldery parents, sick spouses or children etc.) because, from her own life experience, she could see that they needed extra support.
TED Talks! Every single TED Talk is based around a liberating idea. Every single TED Talk expresses a point of view.
The Orgasmic Birth movement comes from the idea that birth doesn’t always need to be painful. That sometimes it can even be pleasurable. Radical notion!
Christianity holds the idea that the only way to eternal life (which is itself a point of view) is through Jesus Christ.
Former Anglican minister Tom Harpur wrote the Pagan Christ based on this idea: there was no Jesus of Nazareth – that the bulk of the new testament were simply egyptian myths that had been redressed in the clothing of a new age and time. The website www.jesusneverexisted.com is based on the same notion.
Author Michael Tsarion believes that civilization started in the west (Ireland) and migrated East. His entire two volume set The Irish Origins of Civilization works to back that up.
The amazing project Post Secrets is based on the idea that people would like to share their secrets and read the anonymous secrets of others.
San Francisco’s restaurant Millennium is based on the idea that vegan food can be world class and taste amazing (not just tofu and salads).
The Mayor of Edmonton, Stephen Mandel is a big believer in the book, The Creative Class which talks about how important the Arts are to local economic development.
The Kinsey Scale suggests that human sexuality is not a cut and dry line of heterosexual and homosexual – but more of a scale or spectrum that we all find ourselves in.
Louis Pasteur created the germ theory to suggest that germs were the cause of disease. His colleague Antoine Bechamps believed that ‘the microbe was nothing – the terrain was everything.’ That germs were the result of a polluted and toxic blood stream not the cause of it. On his deathbed, Louis Pasteur confessed that Bechamps was right. But Louis Pasteur had sold his point of view better.
Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla both promoted different forms of power. Thomas Edison won. But many people would disagree that his form of energy was, indeed, better than Tesla’s. But the best point of view doesn’t always win. The best articulated one does.
Before his career destroying affair was exposed, John Edwards shared the belief that there wasn’t just ‘one America’ there were ‘two Americas’. There was an America where you could afford to feed your kids and an America where you couldn’t. An America where you could afford health insurance and one where you couldn’t. His analogy rang true for many.
My friend Jeff Golfman started his blog, www.thecoolvegetarian.com based on the idea that there were already enough recipes out there. There was already enough research to suggest that a plant based diet was better for people and the planet – what he saw missing was any conversation about lifestyle and how to live a rocking and fun life as a vegetarian or vegan, how to deal with the social aspects of it.
My friend and colleague Alex Baisley offered up the liberating idea for entrepreneurs that we should design our ideal lifestyle and then back our business into that – not the other ways around. The idea that you can live your dream lifestyle right now; that you don’t need to wait until you retire.
John Gray had the novel notion that it’s like men and women are from different planets – Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus. A lot of people resonated with it. The idea was that if we could honour our differences we might actually come to celebrate and enjoy them rather than seeing them as sources of frustration.
The documentary The Corporation came from the point of view that if we were going to consider corporations people (as they legally are) then we should be honest about their personality profiles: psychopaths.
The documentary The Economics of Happiness explores the idea that we need to shift from global corporate economics to local economics – and that this shift would create deeper community, happiness and well being.
My colleague Carrie Klassen‘s tagline is ‘guilt free marketing for nice people.’ There’s a whole worldview in there. That marketing can be done by nice people without guilt. What an idea!
The website http://makelovenotporn.com (extremely adult content) comes from the notion that pornography has skewed people’s understanding of what sex is and could be and has created a world of assumptions (points of view) on how it’s supposed to look. And her website is about directly challenging those.
Do you have any more examples? Please leave them below . . .
| Categories: Case Studies of Inspiring Business, marketing philosophy - Tags: authenticity, point of view