I hear lots of talk these days about developing client case studies. That’s good news. The right story(s) shared with the right prospects can be great ammunition for your new business effort at a variety of points in the sales cycle, from “hello” to close.
They allow you to potentially connect with prospective clients in a very meaningful way that (1) helps them infer your value and in doing so, (2) builds trust. After all, if you’re a prospective client, doesn’t it help to see real life examples that illustrate a firm’s ability to meet the needs you face and to know that they’ve already achieved success?
As powerful as case studies can potentially be, if they aren’t developed properly, they’ll more than likely be seen as either irrelevant or not seen at all. The good ones are relevant to your audience’s situation and provide insights that can be applied to their own reality. I see too many case studies that are not properly developed.
Closing the Gap
So, what does a properly developed case study look like? It boils down to three primary components. While the second is pretty straightforward, most agency case studies fall short with the first and last.
- Describe the original situation faced by your client.
What was the client’s problem or opportunity or objectives? Keep in mind that your story will be much stronger if what is communicated here transcends what you did (we built a new website) and identifies the actual business problem or opportunity that your efforts helped address (turn around sales, launch a new product, etc.). Look at it this way, without a meaningful set up, don’t expect to deliver a strong payoff.
- Detail the relevant steps that you took.
This part is pretty straightforward. Simply describe the strategy and outline the key tactics deployed. Don’t forget that this will help provide clarity not only about your capabilities but also about how your team thinks and solve problems. Nice insight into what it would be like to work with your firm, given the opportunity.
- Describe the outcome that your client received.
What are the results? And by results I don’t mean, “the website was launched.” Are their metrics? How did your client react – is there a strong client quote? Keep in mind that your story will be much stronger when the results connect back to the objectives that you communicated in the situation overview.
Just like any other content asset, the value that your client case studies return is proportional to the value that they provide your audience in the form of something that they can actually apply.
How do your client case studies measure up?