Thursday, 20 August 2020 15:45

How to easily create Case studies your customers will want to share

Written by

Today I’m going to show you how to easily develop case studies that will encourage your customers to share a link to your website with their contacts.

And, there’s no badgering or bribing involved.

This is a strategy which you can easily execute yourself, and will take you just a couple of hours to put together.

Case Studies are known to be one of the most powerful marketing stratgies you can implement, and using this technique you won't have to hire anyone to create them for you.

So, let’s get started...


Potential referrals for a job well done

As the creator of custom-designed products, or a personalised service, it's likely that your good testimonials, are really good!

Let's face it. When you have something made, just for you, that's special. And most people want to share it with their personal network.

So, just from successfully completing the project for a customer, you already have the potential for three great pieces of promotional content:

  1. You can ask your customer for a testimonial.
  2. The client may share an image of the finished piece with friends, family and colleagues through social media, email etc.
  3. You will likely also share an image of the final piece on your business social media accounts and the ‘gallery’ section of your website.

Although each of these actions could have a positive impact, they also have weaknesses:

1. Testimonials are really important because they provide social proof. They let potential customers know that others have used your service and have been happy with it.

However, they are only useful in convincing people who are already on your site, that they should consider doing business with you.

They don't actually bring new people to the site.

2. Customers posting on their social media accounts is great, but they control the content of the post.

There's no way for you to control what is said, or for you to ensure that a link to your website is included. So their friends may comment on it, but that's probably where the interaction ends. You don’t get the opportunity to encourage them to take a further step and actually visit your site.

3. You posting on your company social media accounts is good because you control the content. You can write about the piece and put a link to your website.

But that's also the problem. It's you, writing about you. So it becomes just a standard piece of self-promotion. Easy to ignore or rush over.

With Case Studies, however, you have the opportunity to make great testimonials work much harder for you.

In fact they have the potential to act as powerful little magnets to bring people to your site.

Make great testimonials fantastic by making them a part of your customers conversation

Contrary to what you may believe, the web is not a mass-marketing tool.

It's actually a network of billions of individuals having personal conversations.

And the way to get your product or service in front of an audience is to find ways to insert your business into their conversations.

The strategy presented here is designed to structure your customers feedback in such a way, that they actively promote your business for you, without batting an eyelid.

There's no hard-sell. No pleading for referrals. It just becomes a natural part of their conversation.

Why? Because it is all about the individual customer. It is their experience, their story.

Yes, you played an important role in that story, but the journey from where they were before they engaged your services, to where they ended up afterwards, is theirs alone.

And that’s the story you can help them tell.

Personal trainer Mihaela Simeonova used this strategy to build a Case Study for one of her clients and received 73 visitors to her brand new site within an hour of posting.

 

Use Storyteller testimonials to get more people to your site


I used a similar strategy on my own site and received 216 new visitors within 3 days.

The strategy works because it's about the client. Not you. And that makes all the difference.

It's no longer a sales or marketing piece, but a personal story worthy of being shared.

So let's begin...

Case Studies - A simple, DIY strategy to increase traffic to your site.

You can easily handle the entire process of developing a Case Study on your own, without employing someone else, if your site is built using software like Joomla! or WordPress.

However, if you are not confident placing it on the site yourself, hook up with an inexpensive site manager on a contract site like Fiverr.

Keep the costs down by gathering all the content first, as described below, and give whoever you employ to place the content very clear instructions as to what you want.

In the sample piece below I have used a fictitious cake company, Magnificent Cakes. But this strategy works equally well for any personal service or bespoke product; from personal trainers to building new kitchens.

Step 1: Prepare your business content

You will need the following three piece of content:

1. A great quality image of the piece at its best.

As soon as you have finished the product, take a photo.

Make the image as high quality as you can with the tools you already have at your disposal. If you only have the camera on your phone, that's fine. But at least set up the lighting so that it is well lit and does justice to both the item and your website.

There are many videos on YouTube that show simple lighting set-ups. Here's a great one:

2. 4-6 bullet points about the finished product.

For a cake perhaps you would state the ingredients, the size, the finish etc.

3. A description of the project.

Here’s a quick tip: To produce this piece of content it is easier if you write a series of questions for yourself, covering the project from start to finish.

You will find it easy to just write 10 or 20 word answers for each. Then just remove the questions when you publish.

Pose yourself questions like;

  • What was the clients original brief?
  • What challenges did the project present and how did you resolve them?
  • What part of the project did you enjoy and why?
  • How was the client to work with?

This doesn't have to be long, but include as much detail as you can.

These questions are important because they are personal to the client and make up part of ‘their’ story.

Step 2: Ask the client for a ‘hero’ photo

At the time your client picks up the product, or receives it by delivery, ask them to 'do you a favour'.

Get a great photo

Ask your client if they could provide you with a photo of the moment the product is given to the recipient. This is your ‘hero’ shot. The one that shows readers the delight experienced by the person receiving your product.

  • If its a cake, the moment it is seen for the first time,
  • if a custom-made gift - the moment it is unwrapped.

You're looking for the expression on the recipients face at the time they first see it.

Step 3: Get a testimonial

Once you have received the clients photo, ask them to provide a testimonial. But, guide the writing of the testimonial and get as much information as possible.

Make it easy and quick for them by including a list of 3 - 6 questions.

You don't want to make this process a chore for your customer so keep the number of questions asked, low. If you already have information from previous conversations with the client, use that as well.

In those questions try to gain the following information:

  • Say something about the recipient and why this particular product was chosen for them.
  • Why did they chose you?
  • What result were they hoping for?
  • How did they find you to work with?
  • Why did they chose that particular design/recipe etc.?
  • How was the product received?
  • They're general thoughts on your service and your product.

Once again, just remove the questions and do a small amount of editing to bring this story together.

Step 4: Add an exclusive offer

Think of an exclusive promotion just for this clients contacts.

It could be a small percentage off their first order, or free delivery, or some such. Something that won't cost you too much but which is of genuine value to them.

Ask the friends/contacts of the customer to quote a 'special code' when ordering from you, to qualify for the offer.

This 'special code' doesn't have to be anything techie. Just ask people to say, 'A friend of [clients name]', or something, when they place the order. If some stranger cheats, finds the code and uses it, you may end up giving away more of the offer, but you'll end up with more customers too.

Step 5: Gather all content to create a personal story

After going through the previous steps you now have:

  1. Photo of the product at its best, i.e. before it leaves you
  2. Photo of the recipient receiving the item
  3. Extended testimonial from the client about their experience
  4. Some bullet points about the product
  5. Your notes on how the project came together
  6. An exclusive offer.

Now it's time to put this content on your site. BUT …

Give this pride of place. Give it its own page.

This is important. Don't let this content go to waste by posting it on a page with other content.

As you can see from the fictitious example below for ‘Magnificent Cakes’, everything is laid out together and presented as a stand-alone page.

Instead of a single, testimonial of a few lines, what we now have is a story. A story about you, your client and, most importantly, the recipient.

At the bottom of the page post your exclusive offer.

 

Working The Web - storyteller testimonials

 

Step 6: Send a link to THE PAGE on your site, to the client.

Do not post this on your social media accounts yet. Instead send a link to the relevant page on your website to the client.

Why?

Firstly, some people aren't on social media, and don't want to be either. If you just send the post through Facebook, the client may not think to email the link to those contacts that aren't on the platform, and you'll be loosing the opportunity to get as many people as possible to see it.

If you send the link via email, the client will likely share it through email AND social media. You want to encourage the piece to be shared through all possible avenues.

Secondly, this is a personal story. And, as much as possible, you want this to come from the client. This is them sharing something personal with their contacts, not you using them to promote material for you. Well, it is of course, but in a more subtle way!

Keep it as authentic as possible.

Send them a link to the page and tell them they are welcome to share it on Facebook, by email or however else they would like.

But don’t badger them to share.

Do a good job with the piece and let them take the lead with getting it out there for others to enjoy.

When a link to the page is shared on Facebook, it will come up similar to the image below. With the main image, the headline and a snippet of intro text.

 

Stortteller testimonials on your facebook page

 

Check your site Analytics

Hopefully you have Google Analytics, or other such traffic analysis tool on your site and are able to see the response of this campaign.

If you don't have a tracking tool on your site I strongly recommend that you get one placed. It is impossible to judge the success of anything you do on your site if you can't see the traffic that's being generated.

Repeat and build a library of Case Studies

One solitary spike in traffic isn’t going to make a huge difference in the long-term of your website traffic, but the more of these case studies you can gather, the better.

By building a library of similar stories, you will;

  • build a fantastic collection of interesting articles,
  • display further social proof,
  • bring in additional traffic from each story,
  • Increase brand awareness,
  • keep people on your site for longer, which will,
  • help you gain credibility in Google, which counts how long someone stays on your site as a metric of quality.

How long will all this take?

If your site is built on a software like Joomla! or WordPress then putting the whole piece together, including writing your piece and getting your initial image, shouldn't take more than a couple of hours. Which is a small investment for the potential traffic you could generate.

Like learning anything new, you will get faster the second time you do it.

Once posted you have the potential of tapping into the social media networks of your client, the recipient and their extended family and friends as well. All of who are potential clients.

Conclusion

Recognising that people love to share stories about people they know, this simple strategy has the potential to be very powerful.

It turns a simple passive testimonial into an active piece of in-bound marketing.

Don’t dismiss the idea of putting content on your site that deals with just one person at a time. In truth, because the Web is a network of individuals and not a mass-marketing tool, dealing with one person at a time is the best way to encourage engagement and sharing.

I would love to know how this strategy performs for you, so please leave a comment below and let me know the result you get. Or, if you have any questions about this, or any other aspect of your site, please feel free to ask.

Josette Dehaney

Josette Dehaney is a freelance technology writer with nearly 30 years experience working with non-technical individuals and organisations of all sizes, who want to get the most out of Web technology. As the founder of WorkingTheWeb.co.uk, Jo writes tutorials, long-form blogs, features, white papers and visual content designed for absolute beginners.

https://josettedehaney.co.uk

Add comment


Security code
Refresh