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Case studies are one of my favorite marketing tools.
They can be used to promote virtually any product and service in any industry – from low-ticket, B2C products and services to high-priced B2B products and services with long sales cycles.
The Case For Case Studies
So why do case studies work so well as a marketing tool? Here are five reasons:
- People are naturally wired to listen to stories. In all cultures across history, stories have played a pivotal part in literature. People naturally engage with stories and case studies tap into this inclination by presenting the ‘before and after’ story involving one of your customers and your product or service.
- People are interested in people. Similarly, people are interested in other people and love hearing about how other people in a similar situation overcame the problems and challenges they are experiencing right now.
- Case studies contain in-built proof. Case studies by their very nature provide proof that your product or service works. Not only that, case studies also give an extra dimension to your benefits and claims by showing them the very real and personal impact your product and service has had on someone in a specific situation.
- Case studies can be adapted for use in virtually any industry to sell virtually anything. You can modify and adapt the length, tone, style and format of a case study to suit your brand, market, industry and audience. Whether you are selling a light-hearted B2C product or a serious B2B service, case studies can be equally as effective in promoting what you have to offer.
- Case studies help you convey the same core message several times without boring the reader. Case studies allow you to subtly present your ‘pitch’ to people multiple times (‘my product or service can help you solve XYZ problem’) in a slightly different way. This is very important as only a small proportion of people will buy the first time they are pitched.
Creating A Powerful Case Study
A case study essentially paints the ‘before’ and ‘after’ story of your customer and you can use a variety of formats, including video, audio or text.
Regardless of which format you choose, the basic structure of a case study will be the same:
- Before – What situation they were in and what problems, challenges and frustrations they were experiencing.
- Turning Point – What caused or inspired them to make a change? How did they hear about or come across your product or service?
- After – Detail how their life changed after using your product or service. What result were they able to achieve? How did that impact their personal situation? How did it impact those around them? What will it allow them to achieve in the future?
The more substantial the transformation (while still remaining believable and relevant to your audience) and the more vivid a picture you can paint of the before and after – the more effective your case study will be.
Preparation Is Key
If you want to create power and effective case studies to promote your product and services, you must prepare your material thoroughly.
Here are two tips to help you prepare a great case study:
- Interview the customer – You may have the details you need on hand to write a case study. But always try to interview the customer. You will pick up useful quotes, phrases and subtle points which can mean the difference between an average case study and a great case study.
- Make sure you collect specific details – Specificity in your case study will automatically increase the believability of any claims made. So make sure you collect accurate and specific details about the customer’s before and after situation (the Who, What, When, Where, Why, How, How Much, etc.)
Case studies are a powerful way to promote your products or services to your target market – regardless of what industry you are in.
They are highly adaptable and highly engaging to readers.
They also allow you to market to prospects without boring or annoying them with the exact same message over and over again.
So if you are not using case studies in your market, go out, interview some of your satisfied customers and start creating case studies of your own.