Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Marketing Your Business With Case Studies

Marketing is all about credibility, the more your customer believes in your advertising the more likely he is to purchase your service or product.

A great way to increase the credibility of your marketing is to let satisfied customers sell your service or product for you. Case studies are a wonderful way to do this.

Case studies can be used as stand alone advertising or they can be embedded into longer manuscripts to increase their lead generating power.

Stand alone uses are as short articles and press releases. You can indicate in the text that a longer version, with more detail, is on your website and generate additional traffic.

Where case studies really display their benefits is when they are used to enhance marketing pieces like white papers, booklets, CDROMs, and websites.

You’ve created a great white paper defining your customer’s problem and educating them on how to solve it, then you start to tell them how your product meets their need better then anybody else’s product. Sounds like the perfect white paper, doesn’t it?

But is it? Wouldn’t it be better to show them instead of just telling them? Showing increases “buy in” from your readers. Case studies do just that. They show your customer how others used your product to solve their problems. They make your product claims believable.

Nothing your copywriter puts on paper is as powerful as the honest expression of a satisfied customer.

So how do you create a case study? First you need to talk to your customers and find out what they liked about your product. Interview them and get plenty quotes.

Don’t forget to get a signed release so you can use their comments in your case study. This is important. To get the maximum benefit you need to give full attribution in your case study.

For example, R. P. in Texas doesn’t cut it. Rick Parrott, Parrott Writing Services, San Antonio, Texas is much better because it puts a face behind the words. People can identify with Rick Parrott, who can identify with R. P. in Texas?

The structure of a case study is really simple and straight forward.

Case Study Structure

Step One: Tell your readers about your customer. Make them see her as a real person.

Step Two: Define the problem in terms that your reader can understand.

Step Three: Show the process your customer went through as she tried to find a solution. Make your reader identity with your customer. If your reader says, “Hey that’s happening to me!” you’re dead on target!

Finish step three with your customer selecting your product.

Step Four: In this step you will need to show your reader the process required to implement the solution selected by your customer.

This step is also a good place to discuss the results and benefits your customer received because she selected your product.

Step Five: Finally, have your customer tell how well your product solved her problem and if she would recommend it to others.

Most case studies seem to run between 600 and 1500 words. You want to use enough space to get the message across that your product does what you claim it does.

Let the document into which you embed the case study supply most of the details, use just enough in your case study to help the reader identify with the problem and solution.

One final thing, I find keeping the tone of your case study conversational is better. Who wants to read long boring text? Use your customers own words when ever possible.

Parrott Writing Services, a San Antonio Texas company specializing in white papers, case studies, ghostwriting, and technical writing for small businesses.


Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Rick_Parrott

MSE Marketing Systems
Your Small Business Partners
Michael Epstein


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At 12:22 PM, Blogger Meredith said...

I know this is really old, but I like this article, and I'll remember it since I plan on running my own business soon. I can definitely use all the advice I can get! Lately I've been thinking about buying a business (maybe a franchise? home-based? I don't know) instead of starting one from scratch. Any suggestions? Advice? Thanks so much.

At 8:16 AM, Blogger Emily Kenmare said...

@ Meredith - If you plan on buying a small business, I suggest checking out BizTrader.com. It's this online global marketplace where you can buy or sell a business. You can also use it to find a lender, barter for services, or invest in a business.

I also suggest checking out business books and magazines (magazines are very up-to date), and don't forget to check out small business groups in your area. Not only is it good to network, but it's also good to check out what's available in your area.

Good luck!

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