A case study or success story not only raises the appeal of a website but also opens up other ways of promoting your business. Too many business owners rely, in vain, on their customers (or clients) to provide testimonials, when most would be delighted to tell their stories if only they were asked.
As your business returns to partial or full operation, now is the time to remind your customers, your employees, and yourself of your past successes.
The best case studies or success stories always:
- Present the customer’s perspective on the problem. The problem you believe you solved may not be the problem that drove the customer to you and may not be the reason why the customer most appreciated your efforts. But that is the problem your future customers will relate to–and the one you should focus upon.
- Show both you and the customer to advantage. After all, the customer had the intelligence and initiative to call you–and specifically you–to solve a problem.
- Explain what you did from your point of view as well. Many testimonials fail to give a complete picture; a case study or success story fills in the missing pieces.
- Has a plot. After all, if nothing went wrong and you did nothing to fix it, where is the story? Simply stating that you did “this thing” for “that person” isn’t a story. A story includes the who, what, why, when, and where–and most of all, the who cares?
- Includes quotes. Direct quotes lend immediacy to the story and help you build a direct relationship to the reader.
Putting together several short case studies creates a white paper or an informational article that you can publish on your website and in industry or local magazines and newspapers. Testimonials drawn from the customer interview are usually more specific and more interesting than one-off testimonials because the customer has been transported back to the original situation, rather than focused solely on the results.
In earlier posts, I detailed the three steps to a great case study and explained how to conduct great client interviews. But if interviewing, contributing to, and writing success stories or case studies appears like an overwhelming task, please reach out to me. I’ll be happy to send you samples that show the excitement you can generate with successful success stories.
From our base in Peterborough, NH, TWP Marketing & Technical Communications writes marketing copy that engages your customers and delivers your message with accuracy, clarity, and passion.
Today’s trend in websites and other marketing content is to pare words down and make quick connections with customers and their problems. That’s a trend I welcome and support. How do you know when you are writing too much marketing content and need to stop?
- If you find yourself writing list after list
- If you repeat the same information (other than contact information) on several pages
- If you read the content aloud and get tired of speaking
- If adjectives take up more than 10% of the content
- If acronyms take up more than 10% of the content
- If you could distill everything to a few tweets–but you haven’t done that
- If you can’t figure out where to add subheadings or how to name pages on the navigation bar (an indication that the content is confusing)
- If you can’t remember where or if you wrote something important to your business
- If you haven’t looked for opportunities to explain content visually, with tables, graphs, photographs, and videos or with downloads.
Most business owners over-write from fear; they’ve heard that customers have short attention spans so they try to cram as many words as they can into that first minute when customers find the website. Unfortunately, customers are more likely to leave a website if they have to search through a mountain of words for the one diamond of information they are seeking.
Another motivation for writing too much is confusion over the business’ strengths and primary focus. If a business is defined too broadly (“we fix cars, weave textiles, and write operas”), then naturally the website content will be confused and unfocused.
Finally, some business owners believe that customers cannot possibly understand their business unless it is described in minute detail. Most customers have one primary interest: finding someone to solve their problem. If you approach your website from a problem/solution viewpoint, you will naturally tighten up the language.
Clear, concise, and customer-focused are the gold standards for marketing content. If you need help with any one or all three, please contact TWP Marketing & Technical Communications. Writing is what I do and I know exactly when to stop.
Reason 1: We all write. Whether we call it blogging, tweeting, emailing, or “content,” it is still writing.
Reason 2: We can say some pretty awful things if we aren’t careful. We can misspell “vision” as “version” or “manager” as “manger” or misuse “compliment” when we mean “complement” or “they’re” when we mean “their”–which results in “Our corporate version inspires our mangers and compliments they’re strengths.”
Reason 3: We can undermine our own message. As I’ve mentioned before, some words weaken messages, including “can,” “simply,” “of course,” “approximately in the range of,” and “not.” If something is worth saying, it’s worth saying with conviction.
Reason 4: Customers deserve clarity, and businesses benefit from it. When customers must work to understand what a business is saying, they quickly give up. That means customers don’t find the solutions they need, and businesses don’t get the business they need.
Writing is important. For me, good writing is a passion. Let TWP Marketing & Technical Communications show you the way to clear, strong, accurate and passionate writing.
Until I moved to New Hampshire in 1999 and started my own business (TWP Marketing & Technical Communciations), I lived in New Jersey, which has quite a different business environment. Everyone talks faster about everything, everyone is always headed somewhere else and boundaries are carefully maintained. I like the slower New Hampshire style, the willingness to settle down and settle in and the infinite variety of connections: the stranger you meet on a hike today becomes your client tomorrow and your vendor next week and a fellow board member on your favorite charity the week after that. Everyone is welcome to join in the community; everyone is wanted and needed.
NHBusinessBlog will discuss many different business issues, including marketing, health and education–the issues that affect us all day-by-day as business owners and members of the New Hampshire community.