I don’t know about you, but I subscribe to a lot of search engine optimization and social media marketing mailing lists. These lists are chock full of information regarding the wide varieties and shapes online digital marketing takes. Of course, they have their specific focus, but I get a pretty broad view of how marketing online is done.
While I do get excited by the late breaking news regarding Google algorithm updates, Facebook algorithm complications, and so on and so forth, what really turns me on are case studies. Case studies do such a good job of getting my attention that I almost have to always fight myself from buying the service linked to the case study article that I get in my email. They’re that powerful.
I don’t think I’m alone. In fact, I’m so sold on the power of case studies to persuade prospects that I have shifted a tremendous percentage of my list marketing activities to using this particular form of email update.
Why are Case Studies So Powerful?
Well, anybody can spit out theory. Anybody with more than two brain cells can speculate. After all, everybody’s got an opinion. However, when you have a problem, you do not have the time or patience for opinions, theories, could haves, should haves or would haves. Instead, you’re looking for results.
Nothing brings the message home more clearly than seeing the problem in context, and that’s precisely what case studies do. They create a story form that the reader can identify with. The reader can instantly zero in on what happened before, what’s happening during the solution, and what happens after.
They will not only be able to associate whatever problems they’re experiencing with the problems of the person or business in the case study, but they can also make reasonable predictions based on the solution that was implemented. This is very powerful stuff because if you are able to get the reader to identify with the problem, like the solution, and get excited about the reward, you pretty much have converted them.
It doesn’t matter where they come from, it doesn’t matter what their educational attainment is, it doesn’t matter what their culture may be. Most people think in logical terms, and this is where case studies pack such a massive blow. People are always looking for rewards.
Keep in mind that when people buy computers, coffee, or cars, they’re not exactly just looking for users. Somebody can buy a MacBook, but they could have easily bought a Windows computer. Obviously, they’re not just looking for computing power. They’re looking for prestige, they’re looking for a sense of ease, they’re looking for the “cool factor” that Apple products bring to the table. Whatever the case may be, they’re looking for intangible rewards.
When you market through case studies, you trigger these intangible rewards in addition to speaking to the logical needs of your readers. In other words, you are hitting them on two fronts. You’re appealing to logic, and you’re appealing to emotions. It is no surprise, given this double- barreled approach, that case study marketing is so potent.
Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for you. Most email marketers screw up case studies in their emails. They really do. Either their emails are too long, too confusing, too technical, or too spammy. Whatever the case may be, their emails simply fall flat.
These are supposed to be case studies. This is supposed to be the marketers shooting fish in a barrel. What went wrong? Well, the bottom line is that they did not present the story the right way.
Case studies, make no mistake about them, are stories. No need to complicate things. No need to overthink things. These are stories. Treat them as such. Here’s how I do it.
First, I tell a personal story. You have to understand that a case study loses its vitality if it sounds like some sort of cold, scientific presentation presented by some absent-minded professor somewhere. The more personalized the story, the more people would relate to it. As much as possible, use the word “I.” It may not be always possible, but try to do it.
Second, simplify the solution. When you give out a case study, people are not interested in all the dots that have to be connected. They’re not looking for the minutiae. They couldn’t care less about any of that. People are busy. They don’t have the time. Instead, they want to zero in on the simplified problem, which was solved by the simplified solution.
If you’re able to do this with your email in as short and as compact in form as possible, you have produced an email that does its job. What is the job of your email? It’s not to give all the information in the body of the email. You’re going to run out of space. Instead, you get the reader to get excited about the story that they click on the link to the full blown, step by step, data driven blog post or article.
Now, this is all well and good, but don’t drop the ball by linking people to an article that’s written in Sanskrit or Latin. When people click on that link, they must be stepped through the data, but the blog post must be written in plain English.
If you do this, case studies will work wonders for you. If you blow this, then you join the ranks of many marketers producing one “case study” after another, only to have little to show for it. I’m sure you know which type of marketer you’d rather be.