For many VARs and MSPs, client referrals can be a crucial method for new business generation. Building long term client relationships takes the effort of the entire IT organization, from sales to service reps and everything in between. Following up with satisfied clients for their feedback on positive experiences can generate important content that can be used as the basis of sales campaigns and marketing materials.
Client success stories, quotes, and testimonials are great badges for display on your company website, but translating these into more substantial case studies can set you up for long term success. Case studies can be the basis of robust, multi-channel campaigns that can easily be supplemented with landing pages, email blasts, social posts, and even paid advertising.
Using case studies as the basis for successful marketing campaigns comes down to three simple principles: Write a comprehensive case study, show how you’ve gone above and beyond, and build a multi-channel marketing effort.
Write a Comprehensive Case Study
A quote or short paragraph conveying a client’s satisfaction with your company’s services, is a great asset to have, and it’s useful for turning it into a full-length case study. MSPs and VARs should spend time training all of their staff (across every department) to be on the lookout for opportunities to collect positive feedback from their respective contacts within the client’s organization. Knowing how to translate this information into case study format is a different skill altogether.
When interested parties read a case study, they are looking to gain particular pieces of information. It is vital that you go in depth about the solution that you provided, but it’s equally important to convey the challenges initially presented by the client. This way, potential clients can see you’re able to strategically address their needs with timely, effective solutions.
Make sure to provide enough background on your client to make them a star in the case study, since they might see a boom in traffic and interest as a result of your campaign too.
Here’s a quick step-by-step process for writing an effective case study:
Gather information. This is a critical part of the process and is more than simply depending on your own recollection of the project itself. Work with someone else in your organization and walk through each step of the successful project. Data points are extremely important to show the results you achieved for the client. Focus on the details here and be sure to unearth as much quantitative data as possible.
Place the information you gathered in three categories in a document or spreadsheet. The categories should be Problem, Solution, Result. Place the information you’ve gathered under each of these sections. For information that doesn’t apply to any of those three categories, create a separate one called, Overview. In the Solutions section, be sure you have nice data points.
Write the case study incorporating the key points from each of the sections. Your ideal case study will present the challenge your client was facing while showing the solution(s) and results you achieved for them. Be sure to pull out the most compelling parts of the solution and highlight them either as a pull quote or as a graphic of some kind.
Ask your client to review what you’ve created. Before publishing, be sure your client signs off on what you’ve written. If you’ve done a good job detailing the project, the client should have no problem with getting publicity through the publication of your case study.
Publish and promote your case study. Make your case study a part of the Buyer’s Journey as a Decision piece of content. Meaning, when a potential client is looking to work with you, this needs to be front and center on your website or in any promotional materials you put together, highlighting your capabilities. (More on this below.)
Now that you have an overview of what it takes to put together a case study, consider the finer points involved in setting your business apart and promoting the case study so that as many of your ideal customers see it as possible.
Showcase How You’ve Gone Above and Beyond
Simply listing the initial challenge presented by the client and the corresponding solution your company provided may not be thorough enough to convey a competitive advantage. Telling the story of how you heard what the client asked for, learned about their business at a granular level, and put forth suggestions for further improvement beyond the scope…this showcases a level of commitment to your clients that your competitors may not be able to match.
For example, say that a client approached you to build a private network infrastructure. However in doing so, you identified a weak security layer in a parallel environment. Explaining how you went outside of the networking project scope to provide enhanced security measures that improved both policy and overall protection, really shows that you’re a partner who creates tangible value in your client partnerships.
Build a Multi-Channel Marketing Effort
So now you have a well-written case study that portrays you as a leader in your industry and sets you up for successful interactions with potential future clients. Now what? The next step is to build a campaign around the case study itself.
Many companies choose to post the case study on their website, create printable versions for sales pitches, or even feature them as the content for an upcoming blog post. These are all great methods for distribution. However, to supplement these efforts and garner additional viewership, consider posting a teaser on social media, maybe even spending a small amount on paid marketing through your social channel of choice. Or you might consider sending out an email to your newsletter subscribers with a relevant article about networking, for instance. You can feature the case study in the email to show a great example of your theories in practice. No matter how you choose to boost your case study campaign, make sure to always have a call-to-action, even something as simple as “contact us to learn more” can work to drive traffic to your website and start building a sales lead list.
As you can see, this process is quite involved and includes several important steps. If you’re looking to leverage the power of case studies for your business, consider working with experts who can handle the process for you from beginning to end. Let’s have a conversation to discuss how Presh Marketing Solutions can assist you on your journey in positioning your MSP or VAR business.
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Updated July 27, 2018