Note: This blog was expanded from a previous blog written July of 2016.
Case studies are a highly underutilized form of content marketing. Getting your existing customers to tell your future customers why you’re so awesome should be at top of every small business’s list of must-do items.
Think of case studies as your Amazon review system. When a prospective customer lands on your website for the first time, they know very little (sometimes nothing) about you, how you do business, and why they should pick you over every other small yoga studio, spa, or fitness studio out there.
Case studies take out a lot of that guess work.
For example, my head is too skinny for most headbands. Like many active ladies, I’m fairly low maintenance so it’s not uncommon for you to see me with my hair pulled back in a ponytail 3-7 days out of the week.
I’m also very conflicted about my hair. If I feel the need to pull it back all the time, then maybe it’s time for a different haircut. Right? Right. This means I’m constantly growing out layers, or trying to hide short, wispy flyaways. And ladies, what is the easiest way to deal with this insanity? Ponytail and headband.
If I feel the need to pull it back all the time, then maybe it’s time for a different haircut. Right? Right. This means I’m constantly growing out layers, or trying to hide short, wispy flyaways. And ladies, what is the easiest way to deal with this insanity? Ponytail and headband.
It’s a truly vicious cycle.
That’s problem #1. Now, problem #2. My head is shaped more like an egg than a ball so successfully holding back my baby-fine hair while I’m Body Jamming, or yogaing, depends immensely on the design of the headband. The headband must be made of cloth – metal is never the right shape. The elastic must be tight – not too baggy. And, it must be grippy – so it doesn’t constantly slide backward off my egg head.
Luckily my friend Nina has the same affliction. Between the two of us, we’ve tried hundreds of headbands. A few weeks ago we were hanging out drinking coffee and I noticed her new headband.
“It’s fantastic,” she tells me. “It meets all three of the aforementioned criteria!” I had no choice but to immediately run out and buy three without even trying the things on.
Because I trust her opinion more than anything I read online. Because she and I agree on the benefits an ideal headband should have. Also, her egg head looked adorable in the headband so I knew my egg head would also look adorable in the headband.
Word-of-mouth referrals are the best kind of referrals. As a business owner, you don’t have to do any legwork. People talk about your products without you having to lift a finger.
(Here’s hoping they are saying nice things…)
A close second to a word-of-mouth referral is a case study.
How do you get started with case studies?
A case study is simply the story of an actual situation where actual people had an actual problem and how you -or your product- came to fix their problem. Then through attention-grabbing storytelling, the customer raves about how amazing you are, how life-saving your products are, and how they’ll never go anywhere else!
The best part of a case study is, you control the message. You guarantee they only say nice things. When written well, your customer knows without a doubt that you and your product are the real deal. Just as if they were talking to Nina about headbands.
They rush to your website with an overwhelming sense of urgency. How do I get in on this? Where do I buy one for me? Can this guy be my personal trainer too?
Position your customer as the hero
Everyone should be the hero of their own story. When you tell a customer’s story through a case study, you want to not only make yourself look good, but also, that customer.
The secondary effect then becomes that you see your customers as heroes, that you treat them well and appreciate their individual situations. You understand their problems and are there to help.
Who wouldn’t want to buy from that kind of business?
Time for a recap.
- Position you as someone who pays attention to their customers
- Provide real-life examples of how your products have helped your customers
- Turn your customers into heroes
Now it’s time to make a list… do you have customers you can interview and post their stories on your website? What problems do you solve for people? How have you improved the lives of past customers?
Not sure if case studies are right for you? Download the Content Marketing Cheat Sheet to compare some of the most common content marketing platforms. Get a better idea of exactly what type of content you should focus your energy on for your business.
…And in case you are wondering, here’s a link to the awesomeist headbands ever.