When Your Customers Tell Stories, Prospects Pay Attention
Harness the power of social proof with IT customer case studies…
Winning large I.T. networking infrastructure bids can be a lengthy and costly process.
That’s partly because many savvy prospects have procedures in place to eliminate vendors who don’t meet competitive tendering criteria.
However, even when you do exceed their technical requirements during the Request for Information (RFI) and Request for Proposal (RFP) stages, your company can still be rejected for neglecting two simple but very important factors…
… building 1) trust and 2) credibility way beyond that of your competitors.
That’s where professionally-written case studies can help because they show cautious prospects how your existing customers are already benefiting from the very same products and services they’re now looking to purchase.
“But Give Us Case Studies Too!”
Some of my white paper copywriting clients obviously felt the same way as they started asking for case studies about their best customers.
Back in 2010, it was these requests that persuaded me to enroll in Casey Hibbard’s ‘case study mentoring course for copywriters’, with this specific goal:
Learn from one of the best case study writers in the business and then offer those very same skills to marketing managers in the Information Technology market place. My niche is the computer networking sector but I can cover almost any IT market.
(You can my blog post about Casey’s mentoring program here: Case Study Grasshopper).
I graduated from the program in April 2011 and now offer case study services to IT Networking clients worldwide.
Your Case Study Success Plan
Here’s a diagram of the step plan I use for helping clients create successful case studies.
(Note: “client” refers to the organization that hires me to write a story about their “customer”.)
1. Story Strategy – this is all about setting a business goal for your story campaigns before any customer is selected or contacted.
2. Select Customers – Identifying customers who would make good case study candidates requires nurturing your sales, customer service and reseller contacts.
3. Get Permission – Not all customers will agree to be featured in case studies but there are ways of helping them see “what’s in it for me”.
(Steps 1-3 above are consultative areas to help you approach stories strategically, pick customers and get advice on getting permission from customers – beyond just writing.)
4. Story Research – Once you’ve hired a case study writer, they will need access to not only relevant information, but also to appropriate customer contacts. Well-planned interviews of these contacts by the writer often yield a gold mine of quotes and facts that help make the story more compelling.
5. Write Story – The writer uses information from the information and customer interviews to craft a unique success story about that customer and how your products and services helped their business.
6. Story Signoff – Both internal and external (i.e. customer) contacts will have an opportunity to review drafts and then sign off the final version in writing.
(Note that this review process works well when the reviewers’ contact details have been agreed with the writer at the start of the project. Otherwise, endless delays and ‘reviewer deadlock’ can derail agreed deadlines.)
7. Story Distribution – Case studies don’t have to just sit on a web site waiting for visitors to find them. There are many ways to distribute them via the Internet (and offline too.)
The case study content can also be repurposed into multiple formats e.g. as blog posts, audio podcasts, slide presentations, booklets.
I’d be pleased to discuss with you on how to optimize the use of your case study content.
This is a simple (but often overlooked) way to get extra value for money from a case study writer who also understands where technical marketing, social media channels and good copywriting come together.
Option #1: The Four-Page Case Study Package
You get the same 7-step process that Casey uses to produce compelling customer case studies for her clients. (See the diagram above for an overview.)
My intention is to provide you with a full service case study experience, that includes the following:
- Additional story research – see #4 above.
- Completion of the customer phone interviews. I can also record these and upload them to a secure web site so you can use them for additional purposes (previously agreed with your customer.)
- Assistance with obtaining story sign off – see #6 above.
- Advice on story distribution – see #7 above.
(By the way, I usually quote by the project and rarely use hourly rates, except for unavoidable, ad hoc tasks.)
Option #2: Two-Page Customer Success Story Package
A customer success study is a ‘case study lite’.
In two pages (or less), it covers all the salient points of a customer’s experience with your products or services but does not go into extensive detail on any specific topic. (with just two pages, there isn’t space to do so.)
The 7-step case study success plan also guides the creation of this shorter customer success story format.
What If More of Your Success Stories Featured Customers Based in the Asia-Pacific Region?
I’ve been based in Tokyo, Japan since 1994 and traveled throughout the Asia-Pacific region on business. Unlike most writers based in Europe or the US, I can more easily work with your Asia-Pacific based customers during their business day.
With the rapid growth and buying power of economies in the Asia-Pacific, many IT networking vendors and solution providers are looking to grow market share in this dynamic region.
Customer success stories and case stories that feature local customers can carry significant peer authority in this part of the world.
Your Satisfaction IS Guaranteed
That might sound like a cliche these days but rest assured that I will put 100% into researching and writing the very best case study for your specific business marketing goals.
Usually only one or two revisions are required, but should more be necessary, then I’ll do whatever it takes until you are happy with the finished document.
That’s because it’s very much in my best interests to have your case study project succeed!
How To Get Started Today
If you’re ready to begin or would just like more details,
then contact me today.