14 Ways Case Studies Make Marketing More Persuasive
You just gave birth to a customer case study.
Now what do you do with it?
First of all, know what you have in your hands: a trust machine.
Because, whenever someone reads a customer case study, they get a dose of credibility.
That, in turn, enables trust.
Which was, years ago, waiting at the corner hardware store or the family doctor.
Those have faded from the scene, so what magic potion will instill our confidence?
What replaces trust?
Nothing. Trust is the universal glue; it bonds humanity together. You still need it nowadays before you buy. So, you put on your helmet, go online and tack doubt on to every dollar. You don’t pull out the plastic until confidence removes your armor.
Yelp and others will help you with their heart-felt reviews and testimonials. But a paragraph of applause isn’t always a pain reliever. Particularly when it involves an offer that is upscale, complex or high-risk.
That takes more persuasion; 88 percent of consumers will read up to 10 reviews before clicking check out, said a 2014 BrightLocal report. And more and more of them require 20 + reviews before committing, they added.
What’s the solution, then?
Get out your case study. When a reader discovers that others have endured their same pains—instant reality! Hope. This encourages what HubSpot Marketing calls “opportunities for a genuine dialogue with your customers.” People buy from people, not companies.
And if the story is woven into every fabric of your marketing campaign, you have the reader’s attention and thus a continuing persuasion.
So, you put your trust machine into various places where it can pave the way to solid relationships with credibility, trust and, ultimately, sales.
The 14 ways to get more persuasion with Customer Case Studies
According to an Eccolo Media’s 2015 report, 52 percent of survey respondents use emails to evaluate a technology purchase. Case studies came in at 42 percent. Sounds like these two should get married.
And what a couple they would be! Your personalized message arm-in-arm with another heartfelt story will easily separate your communication from the avalanche of spam and blandness.
You simply take a few of your best quotes and incorporate them into your email campaign or attach your best quote onto every email signature.
Like emails, this business-casual medium is a perfect spot for an inspiring story. You want to constantly be promoting “happy customer” to your prospects and your current clients as well.
3. Trade shows
Live prospects are the best tactics (says the Content Marketing Institute). Now, cement your one-on-one with them by enlightening them further with customer case studies.
Again, a third-party endorsement from a happy customer heightens the reader’s reality and encourages dialogue.
Here’s another live event improved by case studies. Have your “happy customer” speak at the webinar, explaining their challenge, solution and results. Enthusiasm is contagious!
5. Employee orientation
New hires can get valuable training on the details of your product and its successful use. They too will get a dose of credibility right from the starting gate.
6. Sales training
Those on the front line get a reality of how their product or service works. And they see that the public likes it as well. Great morale booster.
7. Sales presentations
Your well-trained army is also well-armed. One silent but huge hurdle is the reputation of sales people in general. It rates somewhere between Al Capone and the anti-Christ.
That can be greatly defused when your sales crew carries several case studies in their arsenal. These third-party endorsements help defuse any concerns and ease the path to repeat business, upsells and more referrals.
Your Public Relations Department has its own brand of sales. They are always hungry to promote the sunny side of your business life.
They must put forth a positive image of the company and make sure that your good deeds are well known through news releases and public events. BrightLocal noted that 70 percent of consumers say that positive reviews inspire trust.
Your customer case study is a great way to instill that, as it provides quality, positive press that isn’t syrupy or maudlin.
9. Venture capital
And speaking of trust, it has to be there in spades with VC. With money men, it’s “just the facts, ma’am.” Show them that they can get their investment back with a nice return and they are all ears. So, you simply include evidence in the business plan that the product or service works and that people really like it and will use it.
That imbues an otherwise dry pro forma with personality. And that makes the venture (and the principals) more down-to-earth and legitimate.
10. Fundraising / grant proposals
Legitimacy is in high demand whenever you pass around the plate.That’s cured when a happy donor shows that giving one’s time or money will be comfort food for the soul.
Seeing the positive effect donating has made on others not only makes it legitimate for the reader but may give them the feeling that if they don’t donate, they will not taste that comfort food.
11. Annual reports
Financial figures A dash of credibility and high spirits adds a human touch to all those dusty Income and Profit & Loss Statements.
12. White papers
These reports have always ranked among the top three means that consumers use in evaluating a product or service.
It can only get better, then, to incorporate a customer case study (also in the top three) in the content to validate with rock-solid certainty the industry problem and the solution that is addressed in the white paper. Again, more credibility.
13. Case study booklets
How about a single promotional piece that highlights several of your customer case studies? There’s a healthy dose of credibility!
14. Your hold message
And more credibility while they are on hold. Instead of drowning them with elevator music, close that captive audience with enthusiasm.
There are other ways to use customer case studies in your marketing campaign. Consider them the flavorful side dish of your marketing meal.
And serve that fare with persuasive honesty and reality in your entire marketing plan.That way, you will raise the whole attitude of your company and those that work there.
It will be noticed by your existing customers, your prospects—and admired by your competition.
What you need to do next
Here are three possible promotional methods for tracking your results; try it for at least 90 days. If you prefer another media, go for it.
Emails. Include your customer case study with half of the emails you send out each week. Note which group gets more responses.
Trade shows. The sales floor is an ideal way to measure the punch of your promotion. You can instantly see a person’s reactions when you include your case study in your presentation and compare it to reactions when not using it. Then tally up the sales from each method and act accordingly.
Webinars. You can track webinars pretty much the same way. Notice the comments, sign-up and general interest level with and without.
About the Author
Paul Economen is a journalist, copy writer and a published author of business articles. He specializes in customer case studies and white papers. Find out more about him at his Linked In profile and his website.