As business owners, one of the areas we must be concerned about is how we differentiate ourselves from other businesses offering the same kinds of services. Everywhere you look, you have hundreds of options for people offering search engine optimization, video marketing, business coaching, health coaching, life coaching, and so on. As a provider of any of these services (or others like them), it’s crucial to find ways in which you can stand out and be distinct from others in the same field.
One of the best ways I’ve found to do this is through the use of case studies. Case studies are more robust than testimonials, though they serve a similar function in terms of creating social proof. Case studies are a way to showcase your best clients- your greatest business success stories- and to be able to share them in a way that helps potential clients understand who you help and what you do.
Case studies help your business because they provide context, examples, and proof that you can achieve the results you promise.
Here are what good case studies include: a) they are customer-focused, b) tell a story, and c) provide proof of success of your concept, product, or service
* Customer focused – Each story is told from the customer’s perspective and not from the business owner’s perspective. This customer perspective speaks well to other customers in a way that the business owner’s perspective might not always do.
* Tell a realistic story – Since you get the information from a real customer the story is true, realistic, and factual. It’s ideal when customers can share specific numerical gains or statistics that help support the story.
* Provide proof of success – When other people see a case study about a product or service they want to try, they’re much more likely to try it because they can see the results someone else had. This is why weight loss programs like to show before and after shots, for instance.
Your case studies can be developed in many different formats- blog posts, PDF’s, e-books, infographics, videos, podctasts, and articles. You can use as many of these formats as you like in order to make sure your case studies reach all segments of your intended audience.
Generally, happy clients are glad to work with you to develop a case study about their success. Not only does this help your business, but the extra exposure can be good for your clients as well.
In my opinion, every business could benefit from using case studies as a vehicle for business promotion and demonstrating social proof.
If you don’t yet have case studies in place for your business, now would be a great time to start developing them!