The Value of Case Studies and Portfolios

Want to know one of the most effective ways to create conversions, according to research?

Eccolo Media, which surveyed more than 500 tech purchasing decision makers and influencers for its seventh annual report, found only product brochures/data sheets and white papers to rise above the influence of the case study.

Fifty-six percent of enterprise-level purchasers said case studies influenced a technology purchase of theirs in the past six months.

Why Are Case Studies and Portfolios So Important?

Raving customer testimonials, detailed case studies, and an excellent portfolio are invaluable marketing tools for your business because they act as salespeople, presenting your services and your success without having to invest 24/7 manpower.

Don’t be shy about showcasing to your prospective clients or customers why your business, agency or team is the best.

If you’re still skeptical, take a look at the following points:

Higher SEO Ranking

A recent article indicated that 7 of the top 10 organic ranking factors for Google search are social, with Facebook likes and Google +1s crowning the list. This means that Google’s algorithm is taking the amount of followers and reviews you have as indicators of “social proof” that your business is worthy of a certain ranking. In better terms, happy customers are a yellow brick road to happy SEO!

Brand Personality

By cultivating branded case studies and portfolios that exhibit the quality work your customer testimonials exemplify, your business can be understood as an authority in your industry by prospective customers. If you thoroughly infuse your website with your company’s culture and values, first-time visitors are much more likely to become engaged and remember your brand.

Better UX

UX, or “user experience,” refers to the interaction a visitor has with the content and design of a website. If you were to “grade” websites based on their functionality, variety of content, and visual appearance, you would be evaluating UX. By having a variety of content available to a visitor to your site, it makes your website incredibly more user-friendly and interactive.

Helpful Sales Resources

Case studies and portfolios make excellent resources not only for your inbound marketing staff, but also for your sales team. These resources can be used throughout the sales cycle to highlight the benefits of your company to prospective clients, and ultimately help close deals.

A Word on Case Studies

Case studies are the most powerful weapon of them all. They combine story, imagery, customer testimonials and success proof with persuasive language to convince a potential client or customer that your product and/or service is the best choice for them.

It’s a quadruple-whammy.

The number of portfolio visitors interested in your products or services is actually quite small. The hard truth is that most visitors will never become your users.

However, the group of people potentially interested in your case studies in huge. Case studies carry a knowledge that appeals to a large group of people. That’s why through case studies you can convert these visitors, who have little interest in becoming users of your products, into followers of your personal brand.

Case studies hone in on a very specific goal that’s related to your product offering. As a result, you can rest assured your case studies are going to resonate with your target market. They are very targeted and niche-specific. In other words, if properly developed, you will never see a case study that’s vague or general.

There’s very little risk that your case study will miss the relevance mark.

Case Studies To Dos:

Repurpose & Recycle

Once you have a substantial amount of feedback from your customers, whether it is review from your Facebook timeline or in a private email of gratitude, repurpose the content on your website and in your marketing materials. For case studies, you’ll need images taken by your staff of completed projects and a list of client goals and results, which can all be pulled from reports your account managers create for client review.

Use Audio and Video

Audio and video are some of the most powerful ways to persuade prospective clients and customers.

It’s also often easier for clients to give you their best testimonial via one of these two mediums. There is usually a lot more work involved on their part and much more patience required from you if they actually have to write it out and send it over to you. It’s much easier to extract their words from the audio or video if you need them printed than vice versa!

If you have some room in your marketing budget or a creative friend with a high-quality camera, consider investing in videos for your business.

Get Creative with Applications and Programs

Web applications such as Canva have easy-to-customize web and print templates, and programs like Microsoft PowerPoint have slides you can upload and share on Slideshare; all of which are excellent tools that make building creative collateral (even without design experience) an easy task. Make sure you are using your predetermined company style guidelines and maintaining consistency in the use of logos, product names, fonts, etc.

Tip: As a general rule for creating compelling client case studies, think of creating them in terms of quality over quantity. Even if you only have a few slides or a small amount of video, make sure they are saturated with premium content.

Case Studies To Not Dos

Along with your new list of creative ways to create great case studies and portfolios, keep in mind the two top things you never do:

1. Never Publish Without Permission

Yes, you’ve put it in your contract, but that was to open the original conversation and get it down in writing. You really don’t want unapproved writing getting found online (especially via a Google search)!

The last thing you want is for your clients to be exploring your website and to find a case study about them that they didn't sign off on. That’s just bad business behavior and a great way to cause damage.

Instead, you should ask for permission and when you’ve got it, thank your client by treating the case in the best light possible. Your case study should never be "Our client absolutely sucked, and we rocked!” (Even if they did suck and you did rock!)

The way you position the case study is going to have a great impact on the permission you receive and the way that you're continuing your relationship with your clients.

2. Don’t Forget the Testimonial

Don't just ask for permission to show off your collaborated work - request a testimonial as well.

The best way to get the testimonials you want is to provide direction for what you're looking for. There's nothing worse than staring at a blank screen, trying to come up with something out of the sheer blue. Your clients will have the same trouble as well. It's your job to make it as easy as possible for them to put together an amazing testimonial.

To help them out with this, send over examples of the ideal testimonial. This gives them something to work with and helps keep the story within the guidelines of what you need. 

Need help working on your testimonial and case studies? Let us give your company advice, chat with us today!