Storytelling is as old as humanity. We connect with them. Engage with them. And if the stories are good enough, we share them.
So when it comes to talking about how you rebranded a company, created a new website, or redesigned an urban restaurant, gone are the days of formal, boring case studies or product descriptions.
No one wants to read a book report read in the voice of Ben Stein. (anyone remember him?)
People want to see themselves and their situation in the services you offer. Personable, story-driven case studies do precisely that.
The conversation you have with potential clients is no longer, “Here’s what we do.” It becomes “Here is how we’ll do it for you and get XYZ result.”
Your story becomes about them and to the client; it feels more real.
So how do you go about telling a story that gets people excited about working with you?
Create a Story People Want to Read
Trying to remember all of the nit-gritty details of the project or asking the client about how you made them more money might not be your favorite thing to do.
Those details are what make case studies sound authentic and relatable. It’s what makes people thinking of working with you say, “Hey, this person knows what they’re doing.”.
So unless you’re a robot, chances are high that you’re full of life and it crosses over into your business.
Clients want to see the stereotypical (cough) creative spirit. Full of ideas. Easy to work with. Willing to take risks when they aren’t.
Bring this tone and personality into your case studies.
Don’t Be Afraid to Show Your Results
There’s a difference between:
“We created banner ads and a landing page based on an existing campaign. The ads were built to appear on financial industry websites.”
“ABC Financial had a problem. They wanted to expand their reach and target investment bankers and managers of multi-million dollar accounts. But how could they do it? When print ads in industry magazine failed, it was time for a change. As part of an integrated digital campaign, our agency designed banner ads and a landing page to gain new leads. While the ads drove the traffic, the landing page did the lion’s share of the work using illustrated elements to break up large blocks of text. Incorporating these elements enhanced the user’s experience and shortened the path gathering information. So what happened? ABC saw a 74% increase in leads captured, and 35% converted from the custom landing page.”
In the first one, the copy is focused on the company and gives very little information about what happened with the ads or landing page.
Client’s initial thoughts:
“Okay, they made some banner ads and a landing page. It looks nice, but other design agencies and freelancers can do this too. I wonder if I can get it cheaper.”
The second description talks about the type and purpose of the campaign. Plus, it includes one other very important detail: the results.
Client’s thoughts about this:
“Wow! The design looks great, and this agency knows what they’re doing. I’m going to contact them to see if they have the bandwidth to work on my project.”
Your case studies help to sell the client on your expertise long before you have a conversation with them.
So write them like you’re having an in-person conversation with a potential client. Keep it loose and show confidence. You’ve got this.
Simplify Complex Details
Want to make people’s eyes glaze over?
Start talking about the mind-numbing minutiae of how you got from “A” to “B.” In the voice of Ben Stein. (remember him?)
Unless your service is extremely technical and your audience is educated enough to understand, try to keep things simple.
What clients do care about is how the “B” will help them achieve their business goals. So talk about how your research helped you find a solution that got you to the end result.
For instance, if you’re selling custom jewelry or handmade furniture, you’ll want to be more in-depth. Bring them into the creative process.
Diving into the details of how you turned raw materials into a thing of beauty is especially engaging as a video case study.
Show the Benefits of Your Services
You want to differentiate yourself from all of the other designers, consultants, and makers who are competing for the same clients you are.
Are you saving them time? Can you help increase sales month over month? Are your products made with eco-friendly goods?
Don’t be afraid to share those details.
As a designer, if your email templates will save clients over 10 hours a month in design and coding time, then say it.
People want to know about the materials used for their handmade clothing. Does your company support the community? Show how the impact you’ve made.
Talking about these details and explaining the creative process gives people the opportunity to see you (and your business) as one with a soul.
It’s easy for creatives to minimize their skills, in an effort to remain “creative.” You aren’t a soulless robot though. You’re a creative who knows their sh*t.
But remember, you’re running a business.
And clients are buying your talent to help them promote show their products and services in the best light.
It’s On You Now
You have personality, and so does your business. When a person is making the decision to work with you, they want to get some insight into your character.
Creating a compelling story that positions you as an expert and not a creative robot, shows potential clients your value. They’ll respect you as a creative expert, instead of another resource.
How do you use storytelling to talk to clients?