Case studies and testimonials are a staple of marketing communications, but they can be seen as being challenging and time-consuming to put together.
In my experience however they do not need to be. So I thought I would put together my top three tips for keeping those case studies flowing.
1. Remember they don’t need to be fully attributed
Whilst it is always best to be able to directly name the client you have helped in your case study, sometimes this can be a challenge. Especially working within the corporate world.
Rather than naming the client, you could use “A leading player in the …. industry” or simply a “client working in … ” to avoid directly naming them.
Remember though that whilst no-one else will know who they are, the client is likely to recognise themselves in the case study, and in rare cases, they may take issue.
For this reason, I would always recommend talking to clients about the fact that you would like to use them in a case study. Ultimately in these scenarios, it is your call as they are your client. But sometimes it is easier to ask for forgiveness rather than permission! In all my career, I don’t think I have ever had a client take issue when referenced in this way.
2. Create a template for writing the case study
Case studies usually follow a set format:
- What’s the issue?
- How did you help?
- What were the outcomes and the benefits to the client?
Putting together a simple template for your case studies means you don’t have to start with a blank sheet of paper when writing them.
If you are able to attribute your client when writing the case study, ideally you should try to include a quote from them, as this will add authenticity. With this in mind, adding some stock question ideas to the template can be useful.
On the subject of authenticity, don’t be afraid to include issues that may have arisen during the project, maybe asking “Did the project go smoothly?” knowing full well that it didn’t. People recognise that things rarely go totally without a hitch and including this, and the way you dealt with unforeseen situations, can speak volumes about the value you add to a situation.
3. Develop a “Case Study Radar”
Tip number three is all about keeping those case studies coming. When you start the process, it is normally possible to come up with a few good case studies, but websites & social media are hungry beasts when it comes to content, so you will need to come up with a sustainable method for regularly generating news cases.
We have talked in the past about the concept of a “content radar” – So constantly having the question “Will this make good case study” in your head is a good start. For custom manufacturers, we have always recommended taking pictures of everything that leaves the workshop, one reason for this is because it makes you ask the question “Would this make a good case study”.
Service businesses can take a similar approach in that every conversation with a client can beg the same question. You will find it surprising how often the answer will be “Yes it would!”