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!


What makes your perfect clients tick?

Chantal Cornelius, Appletree MarketingIf you’d rather work with PERFECT clients, than ones that sometimes pay you on time and don’t demand too much too soon, you need to work out who these people are. One way is by thinking about what makes them tick. If you already have a perfect client, think about how they would answer the questions below. (If you don’t yet have a perfect client, think about how one might answer the question.)

There are five questions to ask them.

  1. What gets you out of bed in the morning?
  2. Who is the most important person to you?
  3. What is the most important to you?
  4. What do you want to achieve in your life?
  5. What do you love about your life?

When you’ve got the answers to these questions, look over them. Does your perfect client remind you of anyone? Do you see yourself in the answers you’ve written down?

Here’s the clever bit that will make your marketing easy. The Law of Attraction, when applied to business, says that people want to work with people just like them. This means that if you are hard working, passionate about helping other people and you get out of bed in the morning because you like a challenge, chances are that your perfect clients are just the same. It means that you will find it difficult to work with people who don’t really care about what they do or are only in it for the money. Trying to attract people like that to do business with will be hard work and you won’t enjoy the work you do for them. On the other hand, when you know what sort of people your perfect clients are, you’ll find it easy to attract them – they will actually come and find you! How much fun will that be? How much time and money can you save on your marketing now?

If you already have a perfect client, once you’ve written the answers you think they would give, call them and ask what makes them tick. See if you know your perfect clients as well as you think you do!

Want to know more about how to find your perfect clients and the best marketing to attract them? There’s more of this in my new book – Magnetic Marketing. Click here to order your copy.

Popularity, sociability and desire


The Royal Wedding has been a really ‘big’ thing during the past month, not just here in jolly old Blighty, but absolutely massive in the States. They haven’t got a Royal Family, so anything that sounds like a fairy tale appeals to those sovereign starved souls on the other side of the pond, and it reached incredible proportions as it was passed about on the web, far more than we in England have been aware of.

The Americans ‘play’ with social networking far more than we do. I don’t know whether it’s because of their mind-set, or even just the weather, but being sociable appeals to them on many levels, and their lack of inhibitions results in much more interaction online than us Brits. Evidence is shown in the amount of comments an ordinary blog post receives, and other social media platforms fair the same way.

It all stems down to popularity, which comes from being sociable, originating in providing what people want. Certainly Kate and Wills have done that. If you’re in business, you need to find out what your customers want, and then provide it for them. You can do this by being sociable, asking the right questions, responding to the answers, using a friendly mode of communication to find out a little more…

Once you’ve established your customers’ desires, which isn’t necessarily their need, or even what you think their need is, and you’ve fathomed out how you’re going to satisfy what they want, you still continue to socialise and communicate with them to win their trust in you.

Being sociable isn’t about telling them what you have, how wonderful your business or the product you’ve created for them is, boring them endlessly by spouting out facts about which features do this and that, it’s about providing information that is beneficial to your customers.

If you provide help and advice that makes their lives better, they are going to be thankful. Being sociable like this will make you popular, as you continue to communicate top tips that set you up as an expert in your field, and this relentless goodwill will accelerate your popularity so that when eventually a customer desires what you provide, they will immediately think of you.

Sociability leads to popularity, which results in recognition, then trust, and ultimately business. And all because you bothered to find out about your customers’ desires by being sociable.

Watch out for our new website


We’re building a brand new website for Appletree, so I thought I’d let you know how we’re doing it and how we do it for clients.

The first thing we did was to ask ourselves lots of questions about how we want our new site to look. We looked other websites that we really like and worked out what we like about them. Our own blog is one site that we like, especially the line of bright apples at the top. While there’s a lot on the page, it’s all balanced, unlike our existing website which has lots of white space at the top and sections that don’t flow together. The apples and our logo don’t go together very well.

We also talked about the structure of our new website – what pages we’re going to include and all the elements we want to show on the home page. These include a sign up form for Scribbles, our email newsletter and sections were we can promote our new products and services. This new site is going to be very dynamic with lots going on and lots of news and fresh resources being added.

Alice took all the notes we made and worked her magic on the first draft of the design – here’s how it looked.

It’s great start – cleaner and more modern that our existing site. However, I’d like the colours of the new site to match the row of apples because they’re much brighter. No more pale green background, please Alice!

We also thought the new home page was a bit busy, so we’re taking the background boxes off the section titles in the columns and changing the text from white to bright green. Below is the next version. Much better!

What do you think of our proposed new website?

Radio part two – 7 ways to give a great interview


In part one of this blog post I shared my tips on how to get onto the radio to get some free promotion. Click here to read part one if you missed it. Now in part two I’m going to share some ideas on how to get over your nerves and give a great interview.

1. Know your subject. If you’re passionate about what you’re speaking about, you will be able to answer all the questions you’re asked and provide lots of information on the subject. If you’re asked to speak about something you don’t know much about, you’ll find it harder, so make sure the interviewer knows exactly what you want to talk about.

2. Send some background information. Give your interviewer help in preparing the interview. If they have time to read up on your subject, they will be able to plan the questions they want to; it also helps you ensure that you get the right message across.

3. Do it in person. If you’re invited to go into the radio studio for the interview then go for this option, rather than just doing the interview over the phone. You’ll get more air time and more time to speak to the interviewer and build up a relationship with them.

4. Arrive early, so you have time to speak to the interviewer before you go on air. This is when they’ll tell you how the interview will go – how long they want you to talk and what questions they’ll ask you. This will also give you the chance to mention to the interviewer anything in particular that you want them to mention or ask you about.

5. Repeat the question before you answer it. This gives you time to think about the answer you want to give. If you just rush in with the first thing that comes into your head, chances are you won’t give the best answer.

6. Pause … before you go on. You don’t have to keep talking. Take a breath and use a pause to give emphasis to what you’ve just said. Don’t fill gaps with ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ just because you feel you have to keep talking – you don’t.

7. Speak up! You’ll usually be asked to do a sound test before you go on air. Make sure you speak loudly enough and slowly and clearly, so that the listeners can hear and understand what you say.

Many people turn down radio or magazine interviews because they feel too nervous. If this is you, accept any invitations you get and then get some help so you can be fully prepared to do a great job and get your free promotion.

How to sell a book without selling a book


My book has been rejected by two publishers! I’m dismayed and I’m giving up!

No, not really. There are plenty of other publishers out there who I can approach and someone will, eventually see sense and give me a publishing deal. (Imagine being the person who originally turned down JK Rowling and her first book about a wizard!)

So until I do get a publishing deal, I’m going to do something else with my book. I’ve planned 10 chapters, each with 4 sections; at least one section per chapter has a marketing focus. I’m going to turn each section into a workbook, starting with the theory – the meat of the section – and follow it with questions to be answered and activities to carry out. For example, the section on ‘Grown up marketing’ will encourage readers to look at what marketing they can do, to make the right impression, when starting up a business. As you can’t really get away with homemade business cards, what do you need to do to get them produced professionally?  There will be tips on the best way of doing things – according to my opinion and experience.

Each section will be available to purchase and download, from my website, with a new chapter being added each month. Customers will be able to buy individual sections or whole chapters, selecting specific topics and the help they need.

Each month I’ll be writing a newsletter, based on the section of the current chapter that focuses on marketing. The newsletter will be used to tell my readers about the latest section and when it will be available. There will also be blogs about that subject throughout the month. All integrated and planned – which should make the writing easier!

Chapter one is about getting started from the ground up, with sections asking if you’ve got what it takes, how you do proper marketing from the outset, how to find the motivation to keep going and what to do with advice you’re given. It should be ready to download (and watch, because I’m going to video someone talking through each section too) in February 2011. The newsletter, about grown up marketing, will go out in February to promote the chapter. In January we’ll create the video version, and this month we’ll turn the words, which have been written, into great looking PDFs.

Chapter two will go through exactly the same process, so that it’s ready to buy in March. And so we’ll go on, all through 2011. Now that I’ve told you that’s what I’ll be doing, I don’t have any excuses, do I?! I’d better get with turning Chapter One into some PDFs!

Ineffectual landing pages are a waste of time


This sweeping statement has arisen because I see so many examples!

In fact this covers two kinds of landing pages, since it refers to the webpage the visitor first lands on when visiting a website.  This can actually be any page on your website, not necessarily the index or homepage. This is because it may be the result of a visitor asking a question on the search engines, and your landing page answers the criteria or keywords within the question.

If each webpage is carefully constructed to act like mini-index pages for its specific subject, it should have been suitably optimised to respond to such searches, with the keywords strategically placed to activate such a response from the searched question.

The other kind of landing page is the squeeze page. This is also called a sales page and is the result of a email or online campaign where the prospect is directed straight to a specific page specially created to fulfil the transaction portion of the campaign.

This is another point of failure. In the States this kind of page goes on for miles and miles, and this is because the Americans expect that level of persuasion to enable their prospects to be convinced to take appropriate action. In the UK this is not tolerated, as we find it ridiculous that so much needs to be said to make a sale. But even if the British version isn’t constructed in such a manner, it still needs to take on a formula to succeed.

It should act like a story-board, driving the reader onto the next section. Each section should explain why the reader should buy the product, explaining all the benefits that will make their lives better, counteracting all the objections the customer may have towards buying this product, providing case studies and testimonials that will help promote the product in a much better light – and of course all this takes up space! Now do you see why the American versions are so long?

So the latest example I saw was a simple box saying ‘Buy this product’ with a ‘Pay now’ button underneath is certainly not going to work – there was no call to action or explanation why, and with such basic elements missing it hadn’t really got a hope!