Case studies are some of the best marketing tools but are often hard to get. Sales or client services may be uncomfortable asking or clients make be reluctant to air their dirty laundry. Here are a few tips to help you increase your case study library.
- Create a process and a schedule. Outline a process for obtaining, writing and getting approval of case studies both internally and externally and set some goals. Make sure you get the full buy-in and cooperation of your internal teams as you will need to rely on them to help you get the client's attention. It's easy to get distracted by a task that seems so simple, but can instantly turn daunting when coordinating clients, data and internal staff. Once you've nailed this down, it will be easier to build your library.
- Hire a professional. Get a good writer with marketing experience. This person should clearly understand your business goals in order to maximize the opportunity and the interview with your client. When choosing a marketing writer focus on value, not price. Good writers that understand your business and can map the end result to business goals will provide you with the right case study that will win you exponential business.
- Maximize the client interview. Never ask clients for information you already have. Use the client interview to gain additional insights and validate assumptions that will make the end product stronger. Also, use this time to find out if there is any information that should be excluded from the case study and who in their organization needs to approve the final draft. This will help you overcome objections prior to presenting a draft of the case study.
- Draft the case study first. It's better to get a slow "yes," than a fast "no." Writing the case study before asking the client may seem counterproductive, but sometimes it's better to give the client something positive to react to. Oftentimes, clients are reluctant to publicize their problems or feel overwhelmed by the case study process. Once they see that you are casting them in a good light and realize they only have to make some minor edits, you are more likely to get approval.
- Multiply your content. If you are able to secure approval for a standard case study, turn it into other media like blog posts, tweets or fodder for our fan pages. Case studies can also help you win speaking engagements so don't be afraid to ask your client if they will co-present with you.
- Suggest alternatives. If clients object to a case study, ask if they would consider a podcast or blog post. PR departments are a little less restrictive with these formats and audio files can always be transcribed!
- Include case studies as part of the client contract. Some firms will offer discounts if a client agrees to a future case study. Sales usually negotiates this, but the it's important that marketing is kept in the loop since they are the ones that need to follow up.