Upcycling in the built environment: how to turn your old projects into new clients
Some people aren’t comfortable blowing their own trumpet and with good reason. No one likes it when someone loves themselves a bit too much and the same applies to how a company markets itself. While marketing is all about selling yourself to your potential clients, there’s a fine line between arrogance and confidence. The former will send your audience elsewhere; the latter lets them know you’re the real deal.
When it comes to your marketing collateral, case studies are a great way to demonstrate your worth while keeping it factual and balanced. In this blog, we’re going to get you to rethink your approach to case studies and show you how to create stories that show your worth and attract new clients.
Tell a compelling story
Case studies are more than a quick summary of what you did for your customer and a happy quote at the end. Case studies draw the reader in with a story.
Everyone loves a story. But it’s more than that. Our brains are hard-wired to respond to a them. Research has shown that more areas of our brain fire up when we are listening to a story than if we were simply being told a series of facts and figures. That leads us to enjoy the experience more, understand the information more deeply and retain it for longer.
A good case study will have a beginning, a middle and an end as well as a protagonist (that’s your customer). So make sure that you follow the classic fairy tale formula: start with identifying a problem, introduce the solution (that’s your business service or product), and then showcase the results.
Taking this approach also means that you can dig deep into a problem and paint a vivid picture that connects with the audience, answering one of marketing’s most important questions: “so what?”.
When a problem resonates strongly with the reader, they’ll find themselves saying, “yes, that’s my problem too!” And, feeling like that, who isn’t going to read on to find out what the solution is?
Write from the perspective of your customer
As we’ve said before, no one likes to listen to a person blow their own trumpet.
“But how can I tell them about how good we are, then?”, we hear you cry.
Well, this is why case studies are your secret weapon: good case studies are about the customer’s journey, not about your company. Writing case studies from the perspective of your customer moves the focus away from yourself, instantly changing the tone of the copy and avoiding the trap that businesses too often fall into (talking about themselves too much!).
Not only is it written from their perspective, telling their story and their problem, but it contains loads of genuine customer quotes.
Why is this important?
91% of us will read at least one review of a product or service before we buy. And of all the different factors affecting a purchase decision, seeing positive reviews is top of the list.
In this context, then, a case study is like a super-charged customer review that helps your reader to build trust in your brand and to start working with you. This is especially relevant for construction, where the sums of money and the scope of works are considerable.
Get the fundamentals right
Pick the right candidate
Choose a client that represents your target audience or the target problem you’re solving. For example, if you’re bread and butter is fitting out hospitality venues, make sure that’s reflected in your case studies.
Get the approvals process right
It may seem like a technicality, but before you speak to your client, the interview must be signed off by the relevant people. And depending on the size of the organisation that your client works for, this can become quite a headache.
Following the interview and write-up, you’ll also need to send the case study to your client for their (or their manager’s) approval.
Give yourself enough time
Make sure you allow time for a slow approval process, coordinating your and your client’s diaries, writing the case study and – always – allowing your writing to rest overnight before issuing it. Invariably there’ll be something you’ll spot with fresh eyes that you won’t be able to change if the horse has already bolted.
Don’t forget, you’ve also got to get your client to sign off on the draft before anyone within the wider business sees it. So, give yourself plenty of time to get the relevant approvals before you publish the finished piece.
Ask the right questions
Once the right permissions are in place and your interview is in the diary, make sure you set yourself up for success by preparing the questions you want to ask.
Group questions into three topics. Here are some examples:
The challenge :
- What challenges were you experiencing before working with us?
- How were these challenges affecting your team?
- What might have happened if you hadn’t found a solution?
The solution :
- What made us stand out against our competitors?
- What service helped you solve the problem?
The results :
- When did you realise things had changed for the better?
- What have the measurable benefits been?
Think about the structure and visuals
A picture can paint a thousand words. In our busy, distracted world, even the most finely crafted story will lose people if it looks like a block of text. Few people will have the time or determination to wade through page after page of solid text. So make sure it gets to the point quickly, it’s easy to read and it looks good.
Whether your case study is intended to be printed and handed to your target audience or uploaded onto your website, it will need plenty of white space and images to break up the text.
Get in touch with the team at Luma to discuss whether case studies could be a useful addition to your marketing strategy.
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