I often tell my clients that people buy from people they like and trust and they are very often inspired to buy by people they identify with.

In B2B circles, it stands to reason that a businessperson is more likely to listen to a recommendation from a similarly placed businessperson about a product or service than the pitch of a sales professional – no matter how well positioned.

Solve Problems

When we buy products or services, we do so in the hope that they will solve a particular problem. Only someone who has walked a mile in your shoes is ever really likely to understand the difficulties you face and how a particular product or service can solve them.

Note: There’s no difference in B2C marketing. The problems might be a little different – but at the end of the day, people look to people they admire or aspire to be like when making their buying decisions. This goes some way to explaining the importance of today’s social media influencers and why so many brands desperately seek their approval.

Testimonials and Case Studies

With this in mind, testimonials and case studies featuring happy customers explaining how your business solved a particular problem for them, should be front and center of your email, content, social media strategy.

However, many businesses struggle to create and publish compelling testimonials on a regular basis. This could be for many reasons, however, in my experience the number one reason is due to the following two reasons:

  1. They don’t ask for them and if you don’t ask you don’t get.
  2. They do ask for them but expect their clients to produce them for them. While many of your clients would love to help you, they are busy people and just don’t have the time to doing your job for you.

It’s Your Job

Note: As a marketer, it is your job to write any copy that your business wishes to utilize as part of a marketing campaign. I’m constantly amazed at how many “marketers,” in what should be a creative industry, tell me they haven’t got the skills or basic desire to do this.

So how do I go about creating testimonials and case studies? Here’s a simple 10 step process.

The 10 Step Process to Writing and Publishing Awesome Testimonials and Case Studies

  1. Identify Clients: I work with account managers and salespeople to identify the hottest prospects for a testimonial or case study. They tell me how the client has used a particular product or service and how it has delivered them success.
  2. Email Introductions: The account manager or salesperson than contacts them with an email telling them that I would love to speak with them about their success for a possible case study.
  3. Email Questions: I then send an email introducing myself and invite them to join a call at a specific time (asking for alternative times if the initial time isn’t suitable). I explain why I want to speak to them (to write about their experience) and send them over a few sample questions.
  4. Meeting Software: I then send them a link for them to join an online meeting – I use a software service called Zoom.us. This allows me to record the conversation, so I don’t have to rely on hastily scribbled notes.
  5. Get Them Talking: I prefer to just chat with the client rather than interrogate them. This sets them at ease and gets them talking about their business. Don’t worry if the conversation goes a little off-piste occasionally – sometimes this will reveal some real gold. Just be sure you have a bank of questions at hand to get you back on track.#
  6. Transcribe Your Notes: After you have completed the call, listen back to your recording and transcribe your notes into text format. I prefer to do this myself – as it enables me to listen back on the conversation – but if time is short, you could find a freelancer on a service like Fiverr to do it for you quite cheaply.
  7. Write the First Draft: Once you have the transcript, the copy will almost write itself. Don’t worry about moving things around and tidying up quotes. Your clients will expect you to do this (people want to look and sound knowledgeable and eloquent) and you should have set expectations during the call.
  8. Send for Approval: Email the draft text to the client and ask if they would like you to make any changes. In my experience, edits rarely exceed one or two sentences.
  9. Design, Proof, Publish and Promote: It really couldn’t be any simpler. The whole process shouldn’t take more than a few days to complete (on average, it takes me around 8 hours) and the end results can be used across multiple marketing channels – think email, your corporate blog, social media, any printed materials, etc. etc.
  10. Bonus Points: If the audio recording of your meeting with your client is suitable, why not edit it into a podcast? You may even be able to use the video if you connected via webcams.

How do use testimonials and case studies in your marketing? Share your comments below:

This post first appeared on the iContact Email Marketing Blog.