New customers can be made from old customers. No, we’re not talking about anything weird here, just attesting to the value of letting your existing customers do the talking for you when it comes to convincing prospects of your value, integrity, and worth.
Although there are several ways to do this—word of mouth, referral programs, social media engagement, etc.—one very effective way to do it is through case studies.
To those who have never written one, case studies can seem pretty daunting. Images of multiple-page reports and hours spent conducting boring research may come to mind.
If that’s the case, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can build a case study from something you most likely already have: testimonials.
Generally speaking, testimonials are short but happy descriptions of a customer’s experience with your company or with one of your products or services. They’re generally no longer than a few sentences.
Good testimonials are positive and specific, and they include the name, title (if applicable), and company of the person being quoted.
Good case studies, on the other hand, build on that. They examine the problem the customer was facing and provide greater detail about the user’s success—and your company’s involvement in it.
So, how do you turn a testimonial into a case study?
First, think about your format. Case studies were traditionally available as handouts only. Now, however, you can choose to
Print and distribute hard copies at trade shows, conferences, and sales meetings.
Design them as landing pages and direct prospects to those pages via emails and direct links.
Create case studies as PDFs and make them available online or through email messages.
Second, decide whose success story you want to showcase. Review your best testimonials and identify who resolved a common problem or who represents a major industry in your target market. Also, consider whose company has the potential to make the biggest impact on other customers. Name dropping can be a good thing!
Next, prepare for the interview. You’ll need to talk to the person who gave the testimony and get more information. Case studies, unlike testimonials, contain more detail, statistics, quotes, and images. Potential buyers want the hard facts that back up your claims and your showcased customers’ victories.
Case studies also read like stories, so be prepared to structure yours with a beginning (the challenge your customer faced and the reason they chose you), a middle (the experience of working with you/your service or product), and an end (the solution or final result).
Finally, determine your layout. Make it inviting and easy to navigate. Give readers visual cues and directions on where to find key pieces of information. Think about your title, text length, section headings, photos and other graphics, sidebars, etc.
Case studies can make a tremendous impact on a buyer’s decision-making process, but they don’t have to feel like a tremendous burden. Simply start with a testimonial and tell the story.