How Freelancers Can Use Cold Calling

I spent three years working in my school’s call center while I was in college. It was a student call center, where we would call alumni to raise support for student scholarships and other projects around the University.

 

It wasn’t exactly cold calling, but it was pretty close. On some nights I would make as many as two hundred calls. (Of course, the nights when I managed to get through two hundred calls were the nights when virtually no one answered the phone, but that’s as may be.)

 

Here’s the thing: when I first started, I was terrified of phones. As a child (and as an adult) I would shy away from answering the phone at the slightest excuse. I’d pretend not to hear it ringing. I’d run around the house shouting, “Phone’s ringing!” Heck, I’d even pick up the phone and hang it up again. (This was back in the old days, when you would actually “hang up” phones.)

 

So it took some doing for me to warm up to making phone calls. But over time, I became better and better at it. I ended up having some pleasant conversations during those evenings at the call center.

 

When I became a freelance writer, I decided I wanted to master cold calling. I still don’t love the process, but now I can safely say I can use the cold call to rustle up business whenever I’ve got a slow week.

 

If you’ve never done cold calls before, it can seem pretty daunting. And there is a learning curve when it comes to cold calling well. But I want to share with you how I got over my fear of cold calling, and how you can do the same in your freelance business.

 

How I Got Over My Fear

I made phone calls every day for three years, but I still have butterflies in my stomach when I pick up the phone for cold calling.

 

When I first decided to make cold calls, I hadn’t called regularly for years. My old fear of phone calls was at it again, holding me back. I knew I had to start making cold calls if I was going to get the business I needed, but at the same time I wanted to shrink back and avoid it.

 

So how did I get over my fear?

 

I didn’t just jump in and start making calls from the get-go. “Taking the plunge” might work for a one-time thing, but I meant to make a habit out of cold calling for as long as I needed to do it. I had to get my mind in the right place first.

 

Instead, I did all I could to prepare for cold calling as well as possible. I took time to put together a list of contacts. I took time to write out a script—which helped me map out what to expect from the process. Most importantly, I listed everything about cold calling that scared me.

 

Because when you’re afraid of something, the worst of it is that your fear strikes you as a vague, undifferentiated mass of awfulness. The simple act of naming all the aspects of cold calling that scared me broke up that undifferentiated mass into specific, small fears. Instead of saying I’m afraid of cold calling, I could say I’m afraid of rejection, or getting yelled at, or awkward moments with strangers. And now that I had a group of specific fears instead of one big vague fear, I could come up with ways of dealing with those fears.

 

Being afraid of rejection turned into, “What do I do if a prospect says no?”

 

Being afraid of getting yelled at turned into, “What do I do if a prospect yells at me?”

 

Being afraid of awkward silences turned into, “What do I do when there’s an awkward silence?”

 

By analyzing my fear into its component parts, I gradually turned it into a plan for making my calls as good as possible. And when I no longer had any excuse left for not calling, I started.

 

So let’s address some of the major fears that might be holding you back from making cold calls.

 

What’s Holding You Back?

If you’re anything like me, the idea of cold calling gives you a cold feeling of dread in your stomach. What if you get rejected? What if you get yelled at? What if there’s an awkward moment? And worst of all: what if things get so bad and you get so embarrassed that you die?

 

Let’s address the first of these fears: the fear of rejection.

 

Let’s face it: if you’re trying to sell your services, you’re going to be rejected more often than you get accepted. Particularly when you’re starting out, many more people will tell you no than yes. The fear of rejection is only going to hold you back. Which means you have to think of a way to reframe the situation.

 

One way you can do this is by realizing that it’s actually a good thing when people tell you “No, thank you.” When people tell you they’re not interested in your services, it means you no longer have to waste time on a prospect who isn’t interested in what you have. Rejection always stings a little bit, but it’s not a disaster. So you don’t have to worry about it.

 

What if you get yelled at? First off: while it does happen, it happens so rarely that it’s hardly worth mentioning. Remember, you’re a skilled professional calling during business hours to offer a valuable service. It’s not like you’re calling people in their homes to ask them for donations.

 

And second: even if someone yells at you, you’re not obligated to stay on the phone with them. Once a prospect raises his voice, you’re more than welcome to hang up. Think of it this way: as soon as a prospect starts yelling, you can feel pretty safe putting that company in the “no” column.

 

What if there’s an awkward silence? Honestly, this is a problem I’m working on right now. I’m not exactly the smoothest or most natural conversationalist in the world, although I’m working on it. One thing I’ve noticed is that you can’t go too far wrong by asking a question. You should be able to avoid awkward silences by preparing a list of questions to ask in the event of an awkward moment.

 

Lastly: what do you do if you have an experience so bad that the person on the other end laughs at you, the earth breaks open beneath your feet, and the bowels of the earth swallow you up?

 

My advice: don’t worry about it. Remember: cold calling can’t kill you. The worst thing that can happen is that you might feel embarrassed for a few moments. Maybe, once in a million years, somebody will yell at you and hurt your feelings. It’s not that bad.

 

Seriously. Cold calling is no big deal. The only reason you’re worried about it is because you’re not familiar with it. But if you commit yourself to making a few cold calls every day, you’ll very quickly reach the point where you don’t even worry about it.

 

So let’s get you started.

 

How to Get Started

 

Let’s say you want to get started cold calling today. Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to cold calling success.

 

  1. Put a list of prospects together.

Find a few companies that fit your ideal client profile. You can look for them on social media sites like LinkedIn, or some more niche sites like CrunchBase or AngelList (if you want to work with startups). Most companies will have a phone number publicly available, and it won’t be too hard to identify the person you’ll want to talk to. Most likely, you’ll want to talk to the head of marketing, the creative director, the editor, or someone with a title along those lines.

 

  1. Write your calling script.

This doesn’t have to be fancy. Remember, you’re mostly doing this so you can get used to being on the phone. It’s okay if you only say something like, “I’m Geofrey Crow and I’m a freelance copywriter. I’m calling to see if you need any writing work done.”

 

It’s not a fancy pitch, but it gets the message across. You can always come up with something more sophisticated later on.

 

  1. Make five calls today.

Now that you’ve got your script and your list, it’s time for you to get on the phone and start dialing.

 

Full disclosure: if you’re making five phone calls, it’s extremely unlikely that you’ll actually make it to talk to more than one decision-maker. That’s just fine. The point of this exercise is to get you comfortable with dialing the phone. If you actually get to talk to some prospects, that’s icing on the cake.

 

  1. Take notes when you’re finished calling.

Take notes after every phone calling session. Figure out what you did wrong—and when you’re first starting out, there’s plenty you’ll be doing wrong!

 

This is crucial. If you want to be an effective cold caller, you need to be able to identify what you’re doing wrong. This can be as simple as saying “uh” too much, and it can be as complex as, “I think I’m emphasizing the wrong benefits in my pitch.”

 

Cold calling is always a work in progress. There’s always something you could be doing better. Make a habit of identifying problems and you’ll be in great shape.

 

  1. Make ten calls tomorrow.

You made five calls today. Make ten tomorrow. Keep building up that number until you can’t build it any more. If you really need business, you can keep building till you’re making calls all day long.

 

The point is that you should keep making calls until you don’t mind making calls anymore. Then you’ll still make calls, you just won’t think about it.

 

If all this sounds unpleasant and overwhelming to you, I can sympathize. It’s not the easiest thing in the world. But it’s also not impossible. Get in touch if you need help.

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about freelancing. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.

 

And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com if you’d rather do it that way.

 

Good luck, and good copywriting!

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

AIDA: How Can Freelancers Write Seductive Copy?

 

The first time I landed a copywriting client, my blood ran cold.

 

I sat in front of my laptop, staring blankly at the screen. My stomach felt like a giant empty hole. I only had one thought in my mind: what do I do now?

 

I felt like a fake. I felt like a sham. I felt like I was about to get found out.

 

Let’s be honest: I was so shocked and so anxious that I couldn’t think straight. I wanted to dig a hole in the ground and bury myself in it somewhere where nobody could ever, ever find me. Especially my client.

 

Because here’s the thing: I’d never really done copywriting before.

 

Sure, I’d read blog posts about it. I’d read stacks of books about it. I’d even copied out great pieces of long-form copy by hand just to get a feel for the style. But I’d never actually taken a copywriting project from beginning to end before.

 

How could I do it?

 

For several weeks up to that point, I’d been thinking of nothing except how I was going to get myself some clients. Cold calls. Prospecting emails. Social media promotion. It had been a constant grind to sell my work.

 

Suddenly it dawned on me that now that I’ve sold my work it was time to do the work. I felt like the proverbial dog chasing a car. I didn’t know what to do now that I’d caught one.

 

If you stick with freelancing long enough, you’re going to run into this problem. How do you deal with it? One word: AIDA.

 

AIDA

A good writer knows that structure is one of the most important elements of writing. A good essay follows a certain structure. A good screenplay follows a three-act structure. A good poem is almost all structure.

 

AIDA is the acronym that gives you the four ingredients of good copy, in the order you need to provide them. Those four elements are:

  1. Attention

First things first: you have to find a way to get the reader to look at your writing for more than a couple of seconds.

 

  1. Interest

Once you’ve got the reader’s attention, you have to tease out her curiosity. Address her interests and convince her that it’s worth her time to read what you’ve written.

 

  1. Desire

Gradually, you convince the reader (or even better—you allow her to convince herself) that the product or service you’re selling is valuable and desirable. This is a subtle thing. You don’t push it on her: you invite her to see what’s good about your offer.

 

  1. Action

Granted, there comes a time when you have to ask for the reader to buy, or to take whatever action you’re interested in having her take. This doesn’t have to be forceful to be effective. If you’ve done your job in the other sections, the right reader will be eager to take action by this point.

This is the basic structure of all good copywriting. Granted, you can experiment with this structure as you learn what you’re doing and improve your craft, but these are the fundamentals.

 

Those are the basics of the AIDA acronym: attention, interest, desire, action. The most effective copywriters already use this method, and it’s a crucial part of any copywriter’s education.

 

So let’s get in-depth about the application: how do you put AIDA to work?

 

Attention

I want you to imagine something for me. Imagine you’re scrolling on Facebook. You see two links come up, back to back.

 

One of them says “Hey, click the link and buy my thing!” The other one shows a picture of an attractive young woman looking sadly off into the distance and says, “17 Things Only People With Anxiety Understand.”

 

You probably already know what I’m going to ask, but I have to ask it anyways: which one are you more likely to click on? We both know it’s the second one.

 

Now, why is it the second one? Speaking for myself, let’s throw out a few possible explanations:

 

  • I can identify with the title. I’m neurotic as all-get-out, and I know clicking the link will probably show me a lot of experiences I can personally relate to.
  • It makes me feel a little special to feel like I can understand things that only people with anxiety can understand.
  • The number 17 is a little off. It’s an unusual number, and it catches my attention because of that.
  • I hope you won’t judge me too harshly for this, but (speaking only for myself) there’s no image more likely to get my attention than a picture of an attractive young lady.

 

Now, I know what you’re thinking: all I’m doing here is analyzing how clickbait headlines work. And you’re right.

 

But here’s the point: clickbait headlines work for a reason, and if you want to catch attention online you have to understand those reasons. Nothing in the online world gets read unless it gets clicked first.

 

Titles. Images. Headlines. These are all critical elements of making sure your content gets read.

 

That’s attention.

 

Interest

Now that you’ve convinced the audience to click your link, you have to show them it’s worthwhile to actually read your content. How do you do that?

 

There are any number of ways to solve this problem but they all boil down to this: you need to show your reader enough of what you’re going to say that she wants to know more. This is key.

 

If the reader isn’t curious, the reader isn’t going to take the time to read your copy.

 

Understand this: it’s hard to get your content read. You’re competing against the rest of the world for your reader’s attention. For the moment, you have to be more interesting than Neil deGrasse Tyson. You have to be more inspiring than Oprah Winfrey. You have to be more seductive than Kim Kardashian.

 

That’s the crucial challenge. In copywriting, you have to achieve two things: you have to A) convince the reader to read your content even after it becomes clear that you’re selling something, and B) convince the reader to actually take action.

 

If you can’t seize the reader’s interest, you’ve got nothing. If you can’t keep the reader’s interest, you’ve still got nothing. Without interest, there is no copywriting.

 

Make your reader feel something. Emotion is the trigger to action.

 

Desire

Now that you’ve hooked your reader, it’s time for the fun to begin. The magic happens when you’ve caught the reader’s interest enough to keep reading, but not yet enough to get them to buy.

 

This is the part where you seduce the reader. You show the reader how wonderful things will be if he buys what you’re offering.

 

You show the reader what’s so great about your offer. You have him imagine buying from you—but you don’t directly ask him to do so yet. You show the reader how great it will be to own your product or service.

 

You show him why it’s desirable. But you don’t only do that.

 

You also show him how bad it will be if he doesn’t own it.

 

Because that’s the subtletly of desire: it’s not only a matter of wanting to have something pleasurable. It’s also about avoiding something painful.

 

You have to make not buying appear as painful as possible. You have to show the reader how bad things will be if he misses this chance to buy. You have to make the reader feel that intense fear of missing out.

 

That’s the key to copywriting: you have to show the reader how good it will be to buy from you and how bad it will be not to buy from you. Ninety percent of copywriting is emotion.

 

So tell the reader that buying your product or service will lower his monthly costs by 50 percent. But also tell him that the window of opportunity to get the edge on the competition is shrinking. Alternate positive and negative emotion, and you can work wonders.

 

That’s desire.

 

Action

In a way, this is the simplest part of copywriting. You’ve already got the reader’s attention. You’ve already convinced the reader to read your content. You’ve already given the reader the chance to fall in love with your product.

 

So you’ve put in the leg work. But a bad call to action can kill all the hard work you’ve put in up to this point. It can take all the tension you’ve created and leave it flat.

 

So what are the elements of a good call to action? Let’s name a few:

 

  • A good call to action doesn’t pressure the reader.

If there’s any time for pressuring the reader, it’s in the “desire” phase. Sure, you might add in a few phrases like “Act now!” or “Supplies Limited,” but you don’t try to make the decision for the reader. It’s always the reader’s decision.

 

  • A good call to action tells the reader exactly how to order/buy.

In other words, make sure your instructions are clear. You don’t want somebody to give up on the buying process because it’s too complicated, do you?

 

  • A good call to action gets written.

I’ve seen amazing pieces of copywriting go south because the writer was too afraid to actually make the ask. Copywriting is not for the timid. Ask for the purchase or suffer the consequences.

 

That’s your call to action.

 

AIDA: Yes, You Have To

I know you might be thinking, “This is all good and well, but do I really have to write this way?”

 

The short answer: yes.

 

The long answer: yes, but after years and years of practice you might be able to figure out a better structure if you happen to be a genius.

 

These are the fundamentals of copywriting. The best way to learn good copywriting is to practice using these techniques till you’re sick of them. Write, and write, and write. Try, and try, and try.

 

AIDA has been developed over the long history of the profession of copywriting. It’s the best basic structure anybody’s been able to come up with.

 

Remember what we were saying earlier about three-act structure in filmmaking? Well, three-act structure has been around since the time of Sophocles. Maybe we’ll never know why that’s the most effective way to write a story, but it is.

 

It’s the same with AIDA. This is the way you convince people to buy. As long as there are copywriters, copy is going to be written this way.

 

So it might be worth your while to get in touch with an experienced copywriter who can help you along your way. The experienced copywriters of the world probably know a little more about the subject than you do. You could definitely do worse than to put their expertise to work for you.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about freelancing. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.

 

And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com if you’d rather do it that way.

 

Good luck, and good copywriting!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Where Can You Start Your Freelance Writing Career?

When I started out as a freelance writer, I had no idea what I was doing. I was a wide-eyed dreamer fresh out of college, and I was looking for a way to use my philosophy degree.

 

Let me tell you this: freelance copywriting is a far cry from reading Donne’s poetry on the weekends while writing essays on Heidegger during the week!

 

I’ll admit I was a little out of my element at first. Learning how to find clients, write for an audience, and build my portfolio was a major challenge.

 

(The fact that I was guzzling coffee the way a Hummer guzzles gasoline didn’t do much good for my anxiety in those days…)

 

It was a rough time in my life. If I’d been smarter I would have had a plan for when I got out of college. But I learned my lesson, and now I’ve managed to come through with no harm done.

 

Why am I telling you all this? I’m telling you because I want you to know I started from the bottom. But with help from the right books and the right mentors I learned how to win high-paying clients, run my freelance business, and provide my clients with the persuasive copy they want so badly.

 

But here’s the thing: all that takes time.

 

It Takes Time to Build a Freelance Writing Business

No matter how much experience you’ve got, it can take some time to build up your freelance business from scratch.

 

There are a million little problems you’ll run into along the way, ranging from obviously important stuff like “How am I going to get enough business that I won’t end up on the street?” to less obviously important stuff like “How am I going to motivate and manage myself when I don’t have a boss to do it for me?”

 

(The flipside of being your own boss is that you have to be your own boss.)

 

I don’t want to scare you off by making these problems seem insurmountable. You’re not going to have to do anything you can’t do. Running your freelance writing business means you’ll have to stretch yourself, but if you want to do it, it’s just a matter of time and diligence.

 

But again: it takes time. Let me take a minute to show you a few of the ways building your freelance writing business is going to take time.

 

First off: it takes time to learn how to work with yourself.

 

Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of the time life feels like a constant battle between the part of me that’s gung-ho and wants to take over the world and the part of me that wants to sleep 20 hours a day and go for months between showers.

 

The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed part of me that’s always motivated and the part of me that wants to fling boogers at the wall all day long.

 

The thing about freelance writing is that you have to bring those two halves of yourself into balance. It takes some time to figure out how to do that.

 

Second: it takes time to learn how to get clients. (And it takes even longer to figure out how to win well-paying clients.)

 

You have to figure out your way of promoting yourself—and yes, you have to promote yourself.

 

Even when you’re a mega-successful freelance copywriter making gazillions a week typing up copy from your yacht in Honolulu, you’re going to have to promote yourself.

 

If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of self-promotion: get over it or get out.

 

Third: it takes time to develop a method and a feel for each type of project. I’ll get into more detail about types of projects in a later post, but the point is that you need to have procedures together for how to handle each type of project.

 

Does the client want content marketing? You need to nail down your methods.

 

Does the client want direct response copy? You need to be able to tell them what to expect when they work with you.

 

Does the client want you to do a case study? You need to have procedures in place for doing your interviews and getting the material together.

 

To sum it all up: at this point, you’re like Christopher Columbus right after he landed on the coast of San Salvador.

 

Freelance writing is a vast landscape full of brilliant opportunities and unknown dangers. It’s a great, dark, empty space on your map.

 

Before you can make the most of freelance writing, you have to learn all you can about what’s on that map.

 

Let’s take our first few steps.

 

Start With the Job Boards

If you want to get your feet wet in freelance writing, the job boards are a good place to start.

 

The job boards are the Caribbean Islands of the freelance world. You don’t want to stay there forever, but it’s a good place for the new explorer to start.

 

(Note: there are problems with the job boards. I’ll tell you about them a little later, but for now keep in mind that even though they’re a good place to learn what you’re doing, you don’t want to stay there forever.)

 

There are many, many job boards full of opportunities for freelance writers. Maybe you’ve heard of a few of them. You could try out Upwork, ProBlogger, or FreelanceWritingGigs if you’re interested in starting out that way.

 

(Technically, Upwork isn’t a job board, but it’s enough like one that it might as well be.)

 

The companies you’ll find on these sites are already looking for writers. They know what they want, and they already know what they expect from you. This gives you the chance to practice selling your services in an environment where your prospects are already in the market for your writing.

 

With the online job boards, the work comes to you.

 

You develop a feel for the process of selling your freelance writing services.

 

You learn how to manage the different types of freelance writing projects.

 

Most importantly, you get a life raft you can use to learn how freelancing works while you’re hunting for bigger and better jobs.

 

Why You Don’t Want to Stick With the Job Boards Long-Term

You’ll never hear me say a word against the job boards. They’re a brilliant way for a beginning freelance writer to learn the ropes and build up a portfolio.

 

That being said: you don’t want to depend on the job boards in the long term.

 

Think about it: businesses that are already looking for writers go to the job boards because they know there are hundreds or thousands of writers there, looking for work.

 

That means the average writer’s odds of getting picked for a specific job are pretty low.

 

It also means the average writer isn’t going to be able to command a good price.

 

I don’t want to say that all of the companies you’ll find on the job boards are looking to get low-quality work done on the cheap, but many of them are.

 

And the ones who are looking for the best work are still drowning in applications.

 

Perhaps the best reason to avoid the job boards: lack of respect.

 

In the eyes of the companies who hire you, you’re just another employee.

 

You’re not a skilled professional offering a valuable service. You’re just another shlub who found the way into a stack of applications.

 

If you became a freelancer because you wanted to be your own boss, don’t spend more time in the job boards than you have to.

 

As a way for learning the ropes and doing your time, the job boards are great. But they still won’t beat finding an experienced mentor who can guide you through the process.

 

Let me know if you have any questions or concerns about freelancing. I’m always trying to tailor this blog to your needs, so I’d appreciate the help.

 

And I know some of you don’t like to post publicly, so feel free to contact me by email at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com if you’d rather do it that way.

 

Good luck, and good copywriting!

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

What are Case Studies? (Part 3 of 3)

 

We’ve spent the last couple of days talking about what case studies are and how you can create one. Now, that’s great and wonderful, but in the end there’s only one real question: what are you going to do with your case study once you’ve got it?

 

I think we can all agree that that’s the real question here.

 

And what’s the answer? Here’s the short answer: plenty. A well-written case study is a versatile marketing tool, so it’s not really limited to one use.

 

I’ve taken a little time to get together ten of the most common uses. But before I do that, I’ve got a little admission to make: a case study is usually only cost-effective in an industry where you’ve got a high Customer Lifetime Value. So if you’re selling bubble gum, you might want to move along.

 

Now that we’ve got that caveat out of the way, here’s our list:

 

  1. Build credibility for your solution.

This is the value of the interview. if you want to show your prospects why your business is great, who are they more likely to believe: you or your customers?

 

That’s pretty obvious, I know. If they’re going to be putting their money on the line for your solution, they’ll want to hear from your customers. They’ll want to hear about how your business has added real value.

 

With a case study, you’ve got an accessible and compelling way to demonstrate that value. And if you pepper your case study with the customer’s own words, you add another layer of trust and credibility.

 

  1. Prove your industry knowledge.

How many of you have ever had a prospect who was just perfect for your offer, but they kept dragging their feet and saying, “But I don’t know if it will work for me.”?

 

We’ve all been there before. And we’ve all wracked our brains now and again, trying to come up with a way to dissolve that resistance.

 

When your prospect reads your case study, they should see a person a lot like them, in a company a lot like theirs. That way, when they see how your solution worked for this other company, they’ll be able to understand how you can help them.

 

And if you can make it personal to them, you can build a relationship.

 

  1. Engage your prospect’s imagination.

We’ve talked about this before, but one of the most important things about a case study is that it’s a story.

 

Now why’s that so important? We’re all human beings, right? Well, as human beings we’ve evolved to pick up information through stories.

 

Why’s Harry Potter so popular? Why did Disney pay George Lucas a billion dollars for the rights to the Star Wars franchise? Why do people dress up in elaborate costumes to go see the latest Marvel movie?

 

Simple: because it’s a great story. With a case study, you have a chance to tell your prospects a great story.

 

Now, I know it probably won’t be anything as dramatic as stopping Voldemort or blowing up the Death Star, but your story has a drama and a value of its own. The people who are meant to work with you will recognize that drama and value.

 

But they’ll only recognize it if you get that case study.

 

  1. Educate your prospect about your offer’s value.

Let’s face it: sometimes your prospects don’t immediately understand the value of your offer.

 

Maybe it’s an older prospect who doesn’t understand your software. Maybe it’s a first-time business owner who can’t see why this equipment is necessary. Maybe it’s an executive who’s worried about passing up a major chance.

 

Here’s the thing: we’ve all got our areas of expertise, and sometimes you’ll be working with a prospect who needs your solution but just doesn’t get your offer.

 

With your case study in hand, you can show those prospects why your offer will help them. When they see the way your solution has resolved a problem similar to theirs, they’ll be much more interested in discussing what you can do for them.

 

  1. Accumulate social proof.

In his classic book Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion, Dr. Robert Cialdini spends a chapter on the concept of social proof. He says the principle of social proof “states that one means we use to determine what is correct is to find out what other people think is correct.”

 

So how does a case study create social proof? That’s simple enough. When you show your prospects that others like them have benefitted from your offer, it’s much easier to convince them they could benefit.

 

When you were a newcomer, it was hard to show a prospect the value of your solution. But now that you’ve built a base of loyal clients, you can leverage that social proof to scale your business.

 

Case studies are a way for you to get that leverage.

 

  1. Learn what your best customers value in your offer.

This is a bit of a hidden benefit, but if you think about it for a minute it makes a lot of sense. Think about it: if you’re trying to improve your business, what do you want to know?

 

That’s obvious, you think. You want to know about the problems customers have with your offer and what you can do to improve it. It stings to hear those customer complaints, but they’re awfully valuable, right?

 

That’s a good answer. But it’s not the whole story.

 

Of course you want to know what your unhappy customers think you’re doing wrong. But isn’t it at least as important to know what your happy customers think you’re doing right? Of course you want to know what you need to change. But isn’t it at least as important to know what needs to stay the same?

 

A solid case study can get you that information. Sure, it’s mostly a marketing tool. But it’s also a valuable insight into what excites your best customers.

 

  1. Repurpose your case studies (Both on- and offline).

Now, a lot of the things I’ve been talking about here are geared toward softening up a sales process. That’s definitely one of the strong points of a case study. But it’s not the only use, and more often than not it’s not even the main use.

 

Post your case studies on your website. Convert them into infographics and YouTube videos. Blog posts, podcasts, press releases, you name it! With a little extra work, you can get out feelers on all your marketing channels.

 

And when you do that, you can have a self-selected group of warm prospects approaching you. In that way, case studies make a great hammer in your marketing toolbox.

 

  1. Remind yourself what your business is all about.

Now, I know this isn’t really a business benefit. But doesn’t it happen sometimes that we forget what we’re in business for? We find that routine that works, and we fall into it so deep we lose track of what it’s all about.

 

It’s so easy to get caught up in the everyday. We get so caught up in running our businesses that we start to forget they’re about people.

 

Your business is about serving people, in the end. So sometimes the real value of the case study can be to show you the difference you’ve made. Because we’ve all got to take care of business, but in the end “taking care of business” is just another way of saying we take care of each other.

 

Business is about the relationships we form along the way. And at its best, a case study can be a way to remind us of that.

 

As always, thanks for reading and best of luck to you and your endeavors. Be sure to take a look at yesterday’s article if you want to know more about case studies. Feel free to get in touch if you’ve got any questions. You can reach me in my comment section, or if you like you can email me at geofreycrow@crowcopywriting.com.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail