How’s that for a testimonial?
I hope you’ll cut me a little slack here. After all, I’m not just a B2B copywriter. I’m a grandpa … with twin granddaughters!
They’re not quite a year old and not too picky about what I read to them. They grin no matter what I say. I could read The Wall Street Journal to them and they’d be happy as little meadowlarks.
But their big sister, the Bug, is different. If she’s heard a bedtime story before, I’d better read it right!
For example, if I pull Goldilocks and the Three Bears off the shelf, she’ll want to hear the whole thing. Not the condensed version. I got away with it a time or two.
But not anymore.
She loves a good story … so do your customers.
“Testies” versus “Stories”
When you’re promoting your product, you’ll use all kinds of marketing content and sales copy. You’ll probably use a lot of ‘testies.’
That’s direct-response advertising code for testimonials, by the way.
They’re short, to the point and usually only one or two sentences long. Maybe three at most. They’re written to drive home one point and one point only. Kind of like that headline at the top of this article:
The porridge was just right – Goldilocks
Testimonials are soundbites in print. Each one provides a little bit of social proof about your product’s worth and effectiveness.
But if they’re not written correctly, they can look contrived. In fact, I’ve seen some that are just as much a fairy tale as Peter Pan or Snow White.
If you hire me to write your copy, don’t even think about using fake testies. I won’t write them. Too much at stake for both of us.
But an honest testimonial is gold.
As good as short testimonials are, a well written story converts more prospects. And the most effective story is about a satisfied customer’s journey. About their experience with your product. Of course, that would be …
A case study.
The power of story
Had to teach my spell checker a new word today: pre-suasion.
When I opened my Kindle app this morning, the newest book by Dr. Robert Cialdini was waiting for me. (Available now at an Amazon store near you!)
The book is titled “Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade.”
I love what he teaches on the art and science of persuasion. I’ve devoured all of his previous books and learned a ton. Not just about what makes prospects and customers tick. Oh, no.
I learned much about my internal clockwork, too.
I started reading Pre-suasion this morning. I had to force myself to lay it down after consuming the first chapter, digital highlighter in hand. After all, I had to finish this article!
Then … it hit me.
A large part of why case studies – business storytelling – are so effective is that they are pre-suaders.
In effect, when our prospect reads a well-written case study, a sturdy bastion of buyer’s resistance is demolished, or at least weakened. They read a story of how one of their peers has used your product and won.
And it busts a chink in their anti-sales armor. They start to warm up to us.
All things being equal, it’s not price that concerns them nearly as much as results. Even the lowest priced model is a waste of money if their problems aren’t solved.
Case studies rock for that!
Sorry … I get carried away sometimes.
Case studies – just the basics
I’ll leave a link to a 5-page special report for you before I bug out of here. Things to do, clients to see. You know the drill.
You may be on your lunch break or something. So, here’s the short version.
(Remind me not to forget that link, though.)
First, you’ll introduce the company interviewed. The happy customer, as it were. Some details of what the company does, how big it is and other pertinent info. This gives your prospect an idea of what businesses use your product.
What follows is content written in a simple formulaic pattern: CSR. That stands for:
Pretty simple and straightforward, right? While it is simple, there are a few rules and best practices to follow.
For example, when describing the challenge or problem the satisfied customer faced, it’s vital not to promote them as, well, stupid. They aren’t. In fact, they were smart enough to know there was a problem and to search out a solution.
Yours, by the way.
Don’t make them look like dummies, OK?
Speaking of solutions, here’s an important concept. Everything doesn’t always go according to plan. There will likely be some glitches in the buying or execution process.
After all, this gives your customer service a chance to shine. And the reader will know that you’re committed to making sure the solution works as promised.
As for results? There are a number of ways to handle this. If you’re talking money, percentages often work better than dollar amounts. $100,000 in increased sales sounds great. Unless you’re a multi-billion-dollar company. Then it’s just chump change.
But who wouldn’t want to increase their bottom line by, say, 15-20 percent? Percentages scale easier.
There may be other results, depending on the product or service. Increased employee safety, a streamlined production process or increased bookkeeping accuracy are all benefits. But …
This is one place case studies coincide with testimonials. Keep the case study topic to one main challenge and result. Others may deserve a brief mention – “We also found this other benefit” – but the core subject needs to focus on one big idea.
Get too many irons in the fire and it gets confusing. The study may not get read. You’re paying good money to get one written, either in-house or from a freelance professional writer.
Get the most bang for your buck. “Waste not, want not,” my mom used to say.
Well, that’s the Readers Digest condensed version. A well-conceived and well written case study is one of the most powerful tools you have for social proof in marketing. For increased sales conversion.
Certainly an idea worth considering.
Have an excellent day … and get back to work!
Steve Maurer – B2B copywriter
Gosh, I almost forgot! Here’s the link to the free special report:
Social Proof in Marketing Content: The Case for Case Studies
Hop on over and download it now. Just takes a minute. You can save it for the commute home. Sdm
Article written by Steve Maurer – Steve Maurer Freelance Writing
Originally posted on my LinkedIn profle here.
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