The Importance of the Case Study

Almost everyone has now heard of the saying “People do business with people they know, like and trust”. The case study is a huge part of the ‘trust’ factor, and showing that you’ve actually helped someone else is KEY to getting people to trust you… but how do you get a case study if you are just starting out?

It is always the ‘catch 22’ – I can’t get clients without demonstrating how I can help people – so how do I get a client in order to show what I can do??

Qualifications and certifications can demonstrate a basic level of competency in a particular field, but that is not the same as showing how YOU took a particular client and totally turned around their problem.

So what does a case study look like?

The ideal is to have a story, at least part of which is told in your client’s words, with the following elements:

  • The issue that your client was having before they met you and how it was impacting their life
  • How they discovered YOU and the process by which they chose YOU as the solution to that problem.
  • How easy they found the process of working with you, how easy it was to understand and process what they were being taught, the materials you provided etc
  • How what YOU did solved THEIR problem (preferably with before and after stats/data)
  • How they now feel and how their life is now that the problem has been fixed.
  • How they would recommend YOU for anyone who has the same problem.

You can create this in a variety of formats to suit your particular audience. A common format is the downloadable PDF, but you could also show it as a Slideshare presentation, as a video, as a web page on your site – maybe even all of the above – but certainly as part of your webinar, if that is the funnel you are building.  (To get an idea of what a case study PDF looks like click here for Hubspot’s free template).

If a prospective customer/client reads/sees that, then when they get on a call with you, they are already 75% sold on working with you. The case study is the most powerful piece of content you can have – because your client, through their story and experience, is doing all the heavy lifting for you.

Don’t even think about doing a webinar until you have this piece secured. You’ll be wasting your time and effort. Trust us!

BUT – I hear you ask – how do I get that client in order to get the case study in the first place if I don’t have a funnel in place to get the client?!!

This is where our own process comes in – and is something a lot of the marketing experts don’t teach, mainly because they are looking for clients who are at a later stage in their businesses and have already been through this process (even though a lot of their prospects don’t realize this when they sign up).

What you do is leverage the people you already know – friends and family – and friends of friends and family. You basically connect with them, tell them what you are trying to create, and say that you need to work with someone to validate your processes and solutions and who can provide a case study (usually for free or for a heavily discounted rate).

The process of doing this will also help you enormously, not only in terms of providing an invaluable case study, but also when it comes to creating offers (because you will now know what people are looking for based on experience), creating messaging to attract inquiries, and even in perfecting your sales scripting for when you talk to those prospects.

You need only the simplest of websites, to provide clients a place to get to know who you are and what you offer. No SEO, no email marketing, no blogging, no social media – none of that stuff. It will only bog you down in a mire of ‘busy’ work – none of which will produce any clients for you until you have validated your process and have case study.

When you have your case study, THEN look at creating a webinar. Again, use your local networks to  invite a select group of people to the webinar – does it lead to phone calls? Validate the webinar – make sure it does the job you need it to do before you think about using Facebook Ads to drive traffic to it. There is no point in driving a ton of traffic to something that won’t work for you. You will save yourself a lot of time and money.

If you know the webinar converts – and you know that you can sell x% of the people you talk to on the phone into one of your high-end packages – then you are on the road to having a business that is:

Controllable – ie. get the number of clients you need when you need them,
Predictable – ie. you spend $XX per month on Facebook Ads you will get XXX people registering for the webinar, which leads to XX phone calls, which leads to X signups at $XXXX
Scalable – Once you start getting more clients than you can handle (and wouldn’t we all like to be in THAT position!), then you can look at creating group programs, or VIP weekends, or retreats, or whatever works where you can cater to more customers and clients.

Too many people try to do it the wrong way round and get bogged down in the endless minutiae of their outreach and end up either never having enough clients; giving up altogether because the amount of work is not worth the returns they are getting; or they find themselves stuck in the cycle of feast or famine.

But What About Business Based On Products or Product Curation?

The case study, in the terms that we have been talking about, really relates to businesses that are based on teaching something – a business coach or health coach, for example. But what if your business is about selling products?

It really depends on the product, of course. But here is an example from a client we worked with who was selling olive oil on a Fair Trade basis and who worked with a lot of food bloggers to get the word out about this oil. Her ‘case study’ was really about how 69% of ‘Extra Virgin’ olive oil tested in the USA was in fact a lower grade – it was fake.  However, the olive oil she was selling was the genuine article AND was sourced directly from the farmers who grow the olives in Palestine. Couple that with some testimonials from customers who love the oil and can taste the difference and you have a great case study that really does a lot of the “selling” for you.  This is a ‘why my product is better’ case study.

Similarly, for businesses that curate products – maybe that are based on a particular theme, and you use blogging or some other way of attracting visitors to your site and where you likely get affiliate commission from the sales of the products from your site, in that circumstance the client is the product producer, and your case study will be based around how much traffic you are generating to the site and how many sales you are getting for other, similar, product producers.  You might also play up the quality of the products by saying they are ‘personally hand selected’, ‘I only offer products that I use myself’, and so on.

Both are examples of how you can create a case study for either a product, directly, or for Joint Venture partnerships where you earn commission by selling other people’s products.

Either way, the case study is a hugely important part of building trust in the potential customer, so they can see that you provide your customers with a quality product, service or solution.

That is why you need to find a way to work with clients first, maybe offering a deal to get them to agree to do it – but getting that case study before you attempt to go out there and sell your product or service to a mass or wider audience. In the case of the olive oil, you may get customers buying it anyway – but you will get a whole lot more with the case study than without. Its all about trust.

Our “hack” – for solo business owners – is to take you through the correct sequence of processes to set you up for success – right from the start. If there are flaws in your process, or in what you offer, better to find out BEFORE you go building a whole bunch of products that no-one will buy. Believe me, that is a mistake we know from experience!

Like a no-obligation chat about your business?  Click here to schedule a call and see if we can help you leave the ‘struggle’ behind and get straight to the success.

About the Author Meredith

My name is Meredith Eisenberg - the solo biz hacker - I love to scour the internet for new strategies and ideas - and then experiment to see which ideas really work. For the past 8 years, I’ve been helping clients overcome the overwhelm, stop spinning their wheels and create 6 figure and multiple 6 figure businesses based on their expertise. I love to learn and hold multiple online marketing certifications my most recent is the internationally recognized Online Marketing Manager certification.

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