A rising, powerful tool in business marketing is the case study. Some estimates have the case study as the second most powerful selling tool behind the white paper.
But many green businesses are falling behind, even though a green business is in a perfect position to offer case studies.
Green businesses offer a buyer something unique. And sometimes, unique can translate to risky. And buyers can be fearful of risky.
But if you can offer a case study – essentially a short success story – as proof that your product or service does what it says it does, you’ll have a powerful selling tool that won’t read like a selling tool.
Let others sing your praise
A case study takes a bit of space, usually one or two pages, to describe a before and after scenario. Here, you’ll tell the story of a customer who had a particular challenge, and then you’ll demonstrate (with solid proof) how your green product or service was the perfect solution to this challenge.
Another way to look at a case study is like a long testimonial.
Testimonials are frequently presented something like this…
Danielle Vick is the greatest environmental copywriter ever! My company now rocks because she writes for us. You’d be a fool not to hire her!
Green Company X. Denver, Colorado. May 2016
Testimonials are also powerful, and should have a firm place in your marketing strategy.
But case studies, in the right setting and presented the right way, can be even stronger.
Embrace the struggle between good and evil
In a testimonial, we get a great soundbite. But in our world today, where soundbites are everywhere, we’re less and less willing to believe them without double checking their facts.
A case study, on the other hand, is something a bit more believable.
Because of the format.
Case studies are stories, and the human mind has been conditioned over thousands of years to remember, believe, and respond to a story.
In a case study, we find out about main characters, their struggles, challenges, and the specifics of how they overcame those challenges.
Those small but essential details are what makes stories believable. We can relate to Green Company X, because they have the same challenges we do!
So, therefore, we can now believe their success, and maybe, make it our success as well.
Write your way to success
As with all stories, there’s both a science and an art to it, and the ability to present a well written case study with all the pertinent details and compelling structure of a story… well, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the demand for the case study is only on the rise.
If you’re a B2B green business, case studies will swiftly become your most successful marketing tool, and are the very best way to build trust and credibility with new prospects.
But case studies aren’t only for B2B companies. Any green company from an environmental organization dependent on donors to Patagonia (ever seen those page long “stories” in their catalogs? A case study in disguise!) should consider the case study.
Reading a personal story about someone just like you who was positively impacted by a business, organization, product or service is ridiculously powerful.
If done right, when a prospect is done reading your case study they’ll ask for your product information, brochure, specs, and prices. The emotional hook has been embedded, now you simply need to back it up with the details that will support their emotional decision.
Of course, writing a solid green case study is only the first step. Then, you have to make sure it’s read by the right people. Telling a good story is all well and good, but it has to help you reach your marketing goals and in the end, propel your company forward.