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Case studies - a simple and cost-effective way to promote your business

Case studies are a great way to promote your business, according to the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Telling prospective clients how good you are is one thing, but showing them how good you are through use of a case study is another.

Most organisations have clients who have used their products and it is these people who can promote your business extremely effectively through their endorsement.

A case study generally involves describing a situation where a client with a particular challenge and the story of how your company found a successful solution has approached your organisation.

It sounds obvious, of course, but then why do so many organisations fail to take advantage of this cost-effective marketing opportunity? The answer is quite simple and one that most businesses face - lack of time. More often than not, business people are too busy chasing new clients to take time out to reflect on past success. However, publicising the details of a successful project with a previous client is a tried and tested way of attracting new clients.

In fact, many prospective clients now expect suppliers to be able to offer case studies and examples of previous projects in order to help reassure them before making a purchasing decision.

Planning a promotional case study

Before you begin contacting previous clients, do your research and produce a plan.

Firstly, look at what your competitors are doing. Identify what they do well and assess what areas your organisation offers a better service. With that in mind, decide which of your previous clients could best showcase that area of your organisation's work. Consider your more innovative solutions and more distinct clients. From here, establish what information you will want from your clients, such as quotes and photographs, and then make contact with them.

Writing up the case study

Obviously, the detail required for different organisations' case studies will vary but some generic rules apply:

  • Provide a brief introduction to the client's business
  • Present your case in a positive manner. Don't dwell on your client's problem but on your solution
  • Address the challenge your client, and thus your organisation, faced
  • Explain the solution you reached, discussing the alternatives considered if necessary
  • Discuss the benefits. What is the improved situation? It's good to provide some quantitative information in this section, such as a resultant increase in profit

Always make sure your case-study client is satisfied with the story you have produced and is happy for you to publicise it.

Once the case study is produced, you can place it on your website, put it in your company newsletter and even turn it into a press release and send it to the relevant trade and business publications. Producing a case study is a relatively straightforward exercise and one that will undeniably help promote your business.

So when it comes to marketing your company, don't just tell clients how good you are, show them - with a great case study.