We sat down with Joel Klettke, founder of Business Casual Copywriting and Case Study Buddy, to talk about:
- How to get case studies and testimonials for your agency
- The proper conversations to have with clients to get success stories
- His process to writing copy for an agency website
- How to write killer cold outreach emails for link outreach and sales prospecting
Let’s get into it!
How important is a case study as a marketing tool?
Case studies are marketing assets that you can use across the entire funnel to generate leads and sales. You can use them to upsell. You can use them to win back leads that have disappeared on you.
A case study, done well, is an asset that commands a premium because it is hard to do it the right way. You have to be able to analyze and dive deep into the data to tell a great customer story.
How to approach a customer to participate in a case study?
There is something you should be doing before you even ask anyone to participate in your case study.
What if you haven’t spoken to that client in a while?
The big tip here is that you should systemize your communication and feedback to your clients. Check-in with them on a monthly or quarterly basis depending on what is appropriate for your vertical.
A scheduled approach to communicate with your customers will make it easy for you to get a yes from them. You must develop that kind of familiarity.
Whether you do it by email or on a phone call doesn’t matter. It all comes down to the relationship you’ve nurtured with them.
Here are some pointers to keep in mind while asking them to participate in your case study.
- Explain why you chose them
- Brief them on the timing
- Tell them what will you get out of it?
You can say something like, “Hey, we want these case studies because we’re putting together a marketing strategy for the coming year. We’re proud of the work that we did together we’d love to show you off. ”
When you are emailing them or on the phone ask if you can FEATURE them. Make it sound exciting as if that is something they would want to be part of.
Always give them a deadline so they don’t deflect your request.
What if the client says no?
That is one of three things typically. Either it’s fear so they don’t know how they’re gonna be presented. They’re not quite sure what will be disclosed. Fear comes out of not understanding the process.
So get back to them with the process. Show them how it will look like. Tell them how long will it take and what will they be asked etc.
And most importantly, tell them that nothing will be published without their approval.
Nothing puts them at ease more than that. Let them know that they will get the chance to review everything and make any changes they want.
Next comes the time question. Never leave that open-ended. Tell them how much of their time you’ll need and be realistic about that.
Next, they would want to know why they should do it. What’s in it for them? And this is why you always cultivate a relationship where such questions need not arise.
You can also incentivize them by offering, for example, a month of free service, a discount, a social media mention or a backlink, etc. In short, make it worth their while.
If possible send them a sample of how it will look like. It doesn’t even have to be yours. Take any sample resembling yours and show them what you’re aiming for. It’s easy to say yes to something they can see and touch.
How many clients should I touch to get one who agrees?
I don’t have any hard data to answer that but I’d suggest that you should aim for the low hanging fruit first. Clients that are happy with your product or service will be easier to convert. Once you land one client then snowball effect kicks in.
But it’s not like you need thousands of customer stories. It’s not a numbers game. It’s more about the relationships than numbers.
Think more in terms of how can you create an environment that makes it possible.
What is the most effective strategy to ask for testimonials from clients?
Ask every single person who comes in a few simple questions like:
- Why did you join us?
- What problems are you hoping to solve?
- What hesitations did you have at the start?
Then as the course progresses check-in with them halfway and note their feedback. Remind them of the problems they had and ask how is it going for them.
That will not only make your training and relationship better but it will also show them that you care.
With this background when you will approach them later on for testimony or story they’ll be happy to oblige.
Someone came in knowing nothing, learned exactly what he wanted to and then leveled up. That makes a story powerful, and that is the kind of story you want.
With your customers, you got to find stories that support and align with your goals as a business.
Remember the relational component that people don’t just hire you for the results, they hire you because they want to work with you. They like the way you do things and the way you communicate.
So when you’re telling a story, it’s not only about the KPIs and sexy metrics. It’s about how you got them from point A to B. It’s about the human impact.
For example, let’s say that you improved office admin efficiency by 50 percent. That’s fine but when you couple that with a quote like, “Now the secretary doesn’t have to chase people around the office for invoices.”
Now that human impact is what makes it real for the person reading that. They relate to it because they face the same problem.
And that’s how you go from this nebulous like efficiency to something tangible, real, relatable and desirable.
Can anyone learn how to write a good copy?
Absolutely. There is this misnomer where everybody imagines that you have to be some creative genius type to write great copy.
I think the best quote for summing this up comes from a book called Breakthrough Advertising.
“Copy is not written. Copy is assembled.” – Eugene Schwartz, 1966
And so the science part of it is when you know what to look for. When you understand your customer’s needs.
When you understand the formulas and the way people think and their pain points, you understand anxieties, you understand hesitations.
Now you can put them together in any way you want.
It’s like playing an instrument. You learn all the scales, you learn all the notes, you do all the practice so that you can then blow the doors off with creativity because you know where to bend and break and how to put it all together.
Some of the best copywriters weren’t creative people. They were analytical and it came through in creative ways. They were just good at researching and empathizing.
Copywriting is less about individual word choice and more about pulling mental levers like what are people’s pain points, what are their anxieties and hesitations.
How can an everyday marketer write copy for their website?
First talk to people. Don’t start with the blank screen. Structured feedback is something anybody can go out and collect.
Ask the right questions.
You can steal a lot of your best copy straight out of the mouths of your customers.
So start calling them and send out surveys and then structure the feedback to make it practical and tangible.
Understand five things about your customers.
- What are their pain points?
- What are their desires?
- What makes them anxious?
- What are their priorities?
- What is their awareness level regarding your product?
Your copy is shaped by these questions.
As for the pages, I think the “About Us” page is an often-overlooked page.
I mentioned earlier people want to work with you because of what you’ve done. The way you think. The way you communicate.
And that is where the “About Us” page ties into it. It brings along with it your history which attracts people towards you.
“About Us” pages are more like “Why Us” pages. They provide a reason for the right people to work with you.
It is more of a decision and conversion page than people realize. It’s the page where you give them your best pitch.
It’s about who you are. What you’re all about. What you stand for. What you believe in and what the experience of you will be like.
A lot of people forget that the goal of your website is not just to show up. It’s not just to educate people on what you do.
It’s to help people get a taste of working with you before they work with you. That’s why case studies can be such a powerful asset.
How to structure link building pitches?
Link building, to me, has always felt like swimming upstream.
These days websites need stats. Everybody wants to cite a study. Everybody wants to have a metric. Everybody wants to be able to point it
to something that’s a trend.
So given how cheap the tools have become and how accessible it has become, you should try sending out a short survey collecting feedback and metrics.
You can then find out the complementing blogs writing posts around that topic and inform them of your study. If it proves their point they would usually link to it.
Look back and identify the common denominator in the cold outreach emails you responded to.
You’ll see that you respond to the remarkably genuine emails. Emails that make you feel that they were meant only for you.
Emails in which the senders share some aspect of their story and they know enough about you to know that their story is something that will click with you.
Use your story and connect with people using these kinds of storytelling facets in the emails you send.
You will get a better response from them and maybe, eventually a backlink as well, if your proposal aligns with their goals.
More on Joel Klettke
- Follow Joel on Twitter
- Check out Joel’s copywriting agency, Business Casual Copywriting
- Hire Joel’s firm to document customer success stories with Case Study Buddy