Making a case for case studies

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingA great way of promoting what you do is by writing case studies about your clients. They are also a great way to get feedback from your clients and to build up stronger relationships with your clients.

But how do you go about doing it? Where do you start? How do you make sure you include all the best information, without boring your readers?

Here’s how we do it. We ask our clients 4 questions and then we write up the answers. Here are the questions:

1. What was the problem that you were looking to solve?

This puts the work into context and it also gives your readers a good idea about the sort of issues you can solve for your clients. Say a bit about your client too, to give them some promotion.

2. Why did you come to us rather than someone else?

This question gives you the chance to get some feedback on your business and your marketing. What makes you better than your competitors? What did you do differently that attracted this client?

3. What did we actually do?

This is where you get to explain the actions you carried out to solve your client’s problem. It’s a great way of showing off your expertise and talking about how you actually do what you do. Don’t go into too much detail because it might get too technical for some people. Just give them a taste of what you can do.

4. What were the results of what we did?

So what did you actually achieve for your client? How did your actions and expertise solve their problem? No matter how you solved it, what’s really important is what happened as a result. This is what other clients will be interested in buying from you.

Using these questions will help keep you really focused on writing clear, concise case studies that will be very powerful tools you can use to promote your business.

Want to know how to use the case studies you write? Ask me nicely and I’ll answer that question in another blog for you!

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How opaque are your successes?

Alice

Every success should be totally visible in its entirity. It should scream out how wonderful it is and why everybody should notice it, be totally easy to understand how it operates and what it can do, be the envy of all who see it and have people clamouring to have one themselves.

But behind every silver lining there is a cloud. There probably was (and should have been) problems encountered along the way. But the success achieved shows that these problems have been overcome, solved and eradicated. All the hard work that goes into solving these problems is not visible, because the very nature of success overshadows all of this.

So a success will become more successful because of the solved problems behind the scenes. If they hadn’t been solved, the success will be short lived, the problems will start to show through, and eventually the success will collapse. Solving the problems builds a strong, sturdy framework that success can hang off, and look good, knowing that everything will stay up safely regardless of what happens.

So bear a thought about those that solve the problems that make the successes so successful. All the activities behind the scenes that are invisible, necessary and totally required, but never noticed, and sometimes not even acknowledged. All the knowledge that has gone into achieving that success, all the expertise put to the test to ensure success achieves what it wants, or sets out to do.

So how opaque are your successes? And what has happened to make them so?

How customer loyalty is preferred over satisfaction

Alice

If you make your customers happy, then they are satisfied; but that is not the same as loyalty. Loyalty requires working on these satisfied customers, giving them excellent, high quality service, forming a relationship with them to find out exactly want they want, how it can be delivered to them in the best possible manner, and consistently providing your service that exceeds their needs.

It’s a bit like marketing and sales. Sales will make your customers (and business) immediately happy, and therefore satisfied; marketing works on a higher level, and helps maintain that satisfaction to transform it into loyalty, a long-term process that assesses how to provide added value, nurturing customer relationships to supply an excellent experience, pre-empting their needs and desires in advance or making the solutions to their problems available whenever required.

Of course it’s much easier to maintain loyal customers than to get new, satisfied ones. It’s that 80/20 rule, 80% of your business will come from 20% of your customer base, the loyal ones. Provide 80% of your business to everyone, but retain the most valuable 20% for your most loyal customers, to make them feel special and to engage with them on their particular level.

Work with that top notch customer criteria, satisfy them to the utmost level, and they will transform even higher to become raving fans. Then you know you’ve cracked it, as they will become your branding ambassadors, spreading the word about your business and what it provides to an even wider audience.

So what does your business provide for your loyal customers? What added extras do you deliver to maintain a relationship with your most valued customers to keep them in tip-top condition and consistently returning for more?  What’s the best possible customer experience you can offer that sets you apart from your competitors, goes way over the top in delivering that experience, and treats them like royalty in return for their loyalty?

Why should businesses have a list?

Alice

Many marketing specialists often say that it’s important to have a list, which is a database of interested, like-minded and relevant contacts who would like to know more about you and your business.

This list has a variety of uses, of which the most well-known is for a newsletter. After all, you should be maintaining regular contact with your present and prospective customers, either to educate them about what your business does, or to promote new projects, services or activities.

For appropriate use of this list, it is therefore necessary to understand your customers. Consider what are their problems, what do they need or want at this moment in time? Then write about the solutions you can offer, making sure they are relevant to your customers’ problems. What can you provide to make their lives easier? What would be your customers’ immediate question and can you provide the answer?

Adapt your business or your product/service to make it unique. What are you offering that your competitors are not? Why should your customers want to do business with you? Relate this with how these unique solutions can solve your customers’ problems, and don’t forget to include some value-added extras.

Remember to promote the benefits for your customer, not the features. If you relate your marketing to your business, then you are probably listing your features. These are not interesting to your customers, as they only care about ‘what’s in it for them’. Turn these features into benefits by putting them into your customers’ point of view, adapting them so they refer to what the customers can get if they buy your product or service.

Now you will have an improved mindset to appropriately use your list. This is better than churning out something every few months or so with no focus or sense of priority. Your list could educate your customers of the full facts of your company, direct them to specific pages on your website or blog, provide informative articles to help your customers or publicise a new project or event you have created for them. Use your list to make money, rather than something else to clutter up an in-box.

My next post will be about how to create a list, so keep visiting! If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to interact; they are most welcome.