What Are Case Studies?
This month, our Live Video Broadcast, Digital Marketing Success: 6 Real Advisor Case Studies, was centered around advisors using the FMG Suite platform to their advantage and generating business from their marketing outreaches. Here, we take a detailed look at what case studies are and how they can be used in marketing.
What are case studies?
Case studies are similar to testimonials because they establish proof that the tools or services you offer work. They are often framed as stories, showing the progress of one customer’s journey. A customer may have a problem, turn to a company, and find a way to solve their problem. For example, in our broadcast, we showed how advisors solved a problem using FMG Suite products. In contrast, a testimonial is often a customer saying something positive about your company but not sharing how they use the tools. Both are great marketing aspects, but it’s important to understand the difference.
According to Content Marketing Institute, case studies are the fifth most popular marketing tool for marketers. When clients or prospects see a real-life example of something working for someone in a similar situation as them, they are more motivated to reach out and try it for themselves.
How can case studies be used in marketing?
Case studies are a great marketing asset because they are a third-party confirmation of how your company is performing. While social posts, email newsletters, and blog posts are all useful and play key roles in content marketing, case studies provide an opportunity for a prospective client to see a different perspective of the same offerings. Some ways you can incorporate case studies into your marketing research are:
- Blog posts featuring your case studies
- Webinars or video broadcasts with individuals who are willing to share their experiences
- A page on your website dedicated to case studies and testimonials
- Landing pages that feature a case study, including either video or text
- Posts about your case studies on social media
- Including case studies in your email marketing. For example, you could include a new case study in every quarterly newsletter.
Everyone loves a great story. Case studies, at their core, are stories from clients about how a company helped them solve a problem or overcome an obstacle. They add a personalized touch and allow prospects to see themselves in the client’s shoes.
How can advisors use case studies as a “safe” form of testimonials?
Most advisors know that getting endorsements from clients is usually not allowed by their broker-dealer. The Securities and Exchange Commission’s anti-testimonial rule and the fear of regulatory repercussions make it difficult for investment advisors to share client-success stories as part of their marketing efforts.
While advisors are prohibited from using or making reference to testimonials that include any statement about a client’s experience, there are other related tactics they can use to establish credibility with and instill confidence in prospective clients.
Our Vice President of Compliance and Customer Service, Mike Woods, shares that case studies differ from endorsements because they are based on stories that actually happened. Case studies are a good marketing asset for financial advisors because they add dimension and show the power that advising can have with real people.
He does warn advisors to not share any specifics about client information or promote any products or services. An example may be:
“A 47-year-old single woman is contemplating selling her business to her 38-year-old niece. The niece has been working for the company for 12 years. The owner isn’t certain, but estimates she will need $5 million after taxes to accomplish everything she wants to do in life and retirement. She is uncertain about how to plan for the future.
The business owner is referred to our firm. Through an initial assessment, we identified her three primary concerns, which were health issues, tax minimization, and estate planning.
We then assembled a team of professionals to help her achieve these goals and continued to guide her investment portfolio, before, during, and after the sale is consummated.”
This example omits any personal details, doesn’t disclose any specific product offerings, and steers away from guaranteeing any results. It’s simply a story based on a real client experience. Many advisors we work with are proud of the fact that they address each of their client’s’ needs individually and craft plans accordingly. Case studies are an excellent way to demonstrate what these practices really look like.
Case studies add texture and reality to often two-dimensional marketing outreach efforts. Try sprinkling in case studies next time you are planning your content marketing strategy and feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know how it goes. Happy marketing!