How to get even the most reluctant of companies to shout about your good work
It’s likely you already know the value a customer case study can bring to your tech PR and marketing efforts. It provides an honest, unbiased view of your company and the products or services it provides, and allows potential customers to establish a level of trust.
In fact, according to Gartner, a potential customer is 2.5 times more likely to make contact or buy from you when they have seen your message articulated somewhere through a reference or storytelling from a happy customer.
But what if you can’t get your customers to agree to take part in a customer case study? That’s a common challenge that can be easily overcome by taking the following steps:
- Consider why they won’t do a case study and then protect their interests
It’s likely that they have declined in the past for one of the following reasons:
- They don’t want to share their business secrets with others
- They don’t have the time to spend on it
- They don’t see the value – what’s in it for them?
Consider how you can address all of these concerns as part of your business case and be prepared to negotiate.
- Illustrate the benefits of doing a case study
A big part of the decision will be based on your ability to show them that a case study will benefit their business, as well as yours. You are producing marketing content that shows how your business helped them to improve, but can that copy also talk about how those improvements will impact their own customers?
What you’re creating is positive publicity that could help generate positive press coverage for them and may even help them win awards. It’s also copy that their sales teams can use, saving them time, money and effort writing something themselves. Don’t position it as you asking for a favour, but as a great opportunity for both parties.
- Be clear about how it will be used
Let your customer know how you’ll be using the testimonial, and where you will be distributing it, so that they can involve the right people to sign it off. Offer to sell it in to their target media as well as yours, in order to reach their customer base, with your storytelling, too.
- Make the process quick and easy for them
The less time and effort they need to put in to creating the case study, the better. Rather than asking them to write a quote or provide you with written information, schedule a time to interview them, write the copy yourself and then send to them for approval.
To make the process as smooth as possible, choose the interviewer and copywriter wisely. They should have a solid understanding of the subject matter and the customer’s business, and be able to write well and in a compelling way. Clients don’t have time to review endless drafts or rounds of amendments, so it’s important that they are able to approve the first draft they see.
- Put them at ease by showing them examples of other case studies you’ve done
If your customer can see how much information will be used and how they are likely to be positioned in the copy, they may be more likely to agree to participate.
- Go for the easy wins
Find your happiest customers, as they are most likely to want to share their experiences with others. It is also worth checking which customers are less than happy with your products or services as they are much more likely to be frustrated if asked for a testimonial. Always check the status of the account before you pop the question.
- Work closely with your sales team
Speak to your sales team to find out which customers they use to provide references, and what sort of testimonials work best to help new business over the line. Ask the sales team to keep you informed about which companies have recently upgraded, use your products or services most frequently, or new wins. This information will help you put a healthy case study pipeline in place.
- Get the person with the strongest relationship to make the approach
Think about who should ask the question. Too often when looking for a case study, the marketing director reaches out directly to the customer contact. As a consequence, the approach fails because the customer doesn’t have a relationship with them.
Instead, equip the customer account manager with everything they need, and let them work their magic to get a ‘yes’. Then you can then take over. It also doesn’t hurt to give the team some financial incentive to secure case study opportunities with their clients.
- Timing is everything
You may already know which customer testimonial will give you the most traction, but ask at the wrong time and you could put your customer off for good. Speak to your account managers to target the right people at the right time. New customers are less valuable because they haven’t had time to fully experience your service yet, whereas customers who have used your product or service for more than six months should be able to talk in terms of measurable, significant results.
- Put it in the contract
Add case study activity as a condition of your contract with all new customers. If they say no, look at reducing the fee slightly in return for a case study. The resulting promotion could provide a bigger financial return in the long run than the extra fee.Download
case study template