Originally, this article appeared on Entrepreneur’s website as a submission by our founder, Christine Wetzler. The full text is below.
5 Strategies for Getting the Most Out of a Customer Testimonial
Storytelling has been a human tradition since the dawn of early civilization.
Case studies may not be as sexy as a well-placed advertisement or as moving as a well-scripted commercial, but they do have their place in a marketer’s proverbial quiver. When one thinks of effective ways in which a product or service’s value can be conveyed to the masses, well-developed case studies may not even initially be considered, but, they do play an impactful role. After all, a case study is really a story about how to work with your company.
Any well-written and well-told story sticks with us and, most importantly, teaches us valuable lessons and enriches our learning. At the end of the day, they speak directly to credibility.
Once you’ve decided to employ case studies as one of your tools for promoting your products and services, you must be sure you’re getting the most out of them. Boring case studies do no one any good. Getting the most of out a case study begins with a very basic adage most people appreciate: Keep it simple.
1. Keeping it simple
Pick your case study’s format wisely. It should not take any reader a great length of time to understand what they are reading and which lessons they should be learning. If your audience wishes to read War and Peace, they’d go and do so and at a leisurely pace. Details are important, but if your readers’ eyes are rolling into the backs of their heads, it’s not doing any good for anyone.
2. How does your audience like to learn?
Are your readers visual learners or pure data junkies? Knowing this in advance will guide you on the final format of your case study. Infographics are great, but are they impactful enough for your audience? Tailor your content to the best ways in which your readers soak up information. And, don’t forget about video — we’re not just talking about written case studies.
3. What lessons are you trying to convey?
Within the guise of keeping your messages and narrative simple, identify your top three points. These points are what your audience should walk away thinking about. Like any other good story, once it’s over, the reader (or listener) should be engaged enough to immediately remember what was said or read — the audience should not be left with any question marks in their minds.
4. Pick your examples wisely
Are the details you’re providing in your case study advancing toward your goal? For instance, if your narrative is meant to increase sales, are the details compelling? As stated before, there can be no doubts — case studies must promote trust and reliability. The reader (a potential customer) must never wonder about the connection between what they just read and their situation.
5. Client understanding
Understanding case study value is a two-way street. Customers should see the connections told in the story to their real-time concerns or issues. How the story is written should follow the classic paradigm and be relevant to the customer. Will they see any value in this narrative? If yes, you’re on your way to getting the most out of it as a promotional tool.
At the end of the day, you’re implementing case studies as a means of helping your clients, not necessarily patting yourself on the back. When the story is conveyed well, the client will show appreciation for you and your brand, for your toils have provided solutions for them.
Storytelling has been a human tradition since the dawn of early civilization, allowing messages and lessons to be taught and retained. A well-developed case study is a story at its very heart. Use them to teach lessons and inspire great actions and solutions.