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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Why you need a strategy for your marketing – part two

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingRecently I wrote a blog about why you need a strategy for your marketing and I explained two out of four possible strategies you can use. Click here to read the first blog about the first two strategies.

Here are the other two strategies you can consider.

3.       Selling Existing Services to New Clients

The third strategy you can consider looks at selling your existing services – the ones that you know work and are loved by your existing clients – to new clients with whom you’ve not worked before.

Your existing services have a proven track record. Hopefully you’ve got some great testimonials from your clients and case studies that show why clients came to you and how you helped them. These recommendations are what new clients will want to hear, before they work with you. Your existing clients know that you’re really good at what you do; your potential clients need to see, hear and read the proof. This strategy is about getting some help from your current clients, to help you sell your services to some new clients.

How can you sell your existing services and products to new clients?

4.       Selling New Services to New Clients

The final strategy is usually hardest – and can be the most expensive to carry out successfully. While it usually involves the most risk, strategy four can also bring you the biggest returns.

Why is it so risky and expensive? Because it’s about selling brand new products and services that have no track record, to potential clients who don’t know you, let alone trust you. You have no proof that your new products and services can do what you say they’ll do, because no one has bought them yet, or used them long enough to be able to see the results. This means that you can rely on existing clients to tell people how great you are.

In addition, this strategy is about finding new clients, with whom you have no reputation. They’ve not worked with you before – they might not even have heard of you – so selling them your expertise is going to be harder and require some really targeted marketing. If you’re up for a challenge and have already done everything you can or want to do with the first three strategies, then this one is for you!

Do you want to be brave and develop new products and services to sell to brand new clients?

How many strategies are you going to use to promote your business? Have you worked out which ones to use? Whichever ones you’re going to use, start at the top of the list and work your way down. Strategy one is the easiest and most cost effective, while strategy four is usually the most expensive and risky – even though it can provide the biggest returns. Even if you’re going to use a combination of strategies, start at the top of the list and work your way down it for the best overall results.

Using events to promote what you do

Chantal

Do you use events to promote your business? You probably go to networking meetings, to connect with new prospects, but have you thought where else you can go, or what else you can do?

Attending workshops. If you’re attending a workshop as a delegate, you can also use it as a networking opportunity. There will be other business people there and some of them could be potential clients or suppliers. I’ve been to business workshops on a weekday, where people have turned up looking like they’re just going to the shops on a Saturday morning. Not quite the impression you want to give other people, so make sure you make an effort.

Running workshops. Do you run workshops to demonstrate your skills and experience? If you provide a service, delivering a workshop is a great way to show people what you do and how good you are. Use the time to give away advice, rather than spending time telling people what you do, and you will build up rapport with your audience. Once they trust you they are more likely to buy from you.

Conferences. Attending a conference is a great way to learn from the speakers. It’s also a great networking opportunity. Some conferences arrange networking sessions in between speeches, so make the most of. Take plenty of business cards and dress like you mean it. If you can, speak to the speakers too, because you never know who they know.

Open days. Moving offices? Launching a new product? Celebrating a success? Through a party or open day and invite everyone you know. Last summer we celebrated our 10th birthday at Appletree with a party. We put a marquee onto the lawn outside the office, wheeled in a hog roast and poured a few glasses of wine. We invited all our clients, past and present, along with lots of our suppliers. It was a great networking event for us and for everyone else who came – lots of business cards changed hands!

Think about what events you can go to or run yourself, to help you promote your business beyond the reaches of networking.