Showcasing examples of your work is one of the best ways to attract new leads and even close sales. But you can take it a step further than just sharing photos—and share the “story” behind the project.
Stories are where your prospective customers will find connections and relatability, which can be incredibly powerful. When you put together the story behind a project along with photos from it, these are called “case studies,” and can be an excellent selling tool.
What are case studies?
Case studies are basically articles that not only have photos of a project but they also explain how a landscaping company was able to help a customer with a unique situation—or even a challenge, explains Chris Heiler, founder, and CEO of Green Industry marketing agency Landscape Leadership.
When landscaping companies create case studies on “relatable” projects, it can help prospective clients to see how their own problems could also be solved.
Heiler says that Level Green Landscaping in the DC Metro area recently did a case study on a high-use patio that was located on the top of a building in DC. They had a pretty specific problem of having found that their Knock Out Roses had been infected with Rose Rosette Disease, ahead of a big company party.
“While a prospective client might not have a Rose Rosette Disease issue, they could need a landscaping company that can act quickly if there’s a problem,” Heiler explains. “This case study did a great example of demonstrating how Level Green could solve a problem under a very tight deadline.”
Who is interested in case studies?
According to Heiler, case studies can work for both residentially focused and B2B companies. The key is to find the pain points that will be most relatable to each of these types of clients. The potential challenges and needs of a residential homeowner are obviously going to be different from that of a property manager.
It’s important to understand your audience when writing a case study, Heiler emphasizes.
Once you find the problems or challenges that these clients are most likely to face, you can create case studies that will relate to them.
When to use case studies
In terms of using case studies in the sales process, Heiler says these are most often viewed on a landscaping company’s website during the “middle of the sales funnel.” They are usually not the first thing that a potential client will see, but they’ll find them on your website once they start digging into your company and want to learn more.
“Case studies provide credibility and validation,” Heiler says. “If a prospective client is looking into you, they can help validate what you’re capable of doing.”
Your sales team can also use case studies when they’re already engaging with a client. If they know that a prospective client is dealing with a certain challenge, it can be powerful to share a case study that demonstrates how your company solved it for someone else.
Writing and sharing your case study
If you’re going to create a case study, it’s important that you get it done right.
Heiler says that case studies should be at least 600 words—but closer to 1,200 is even better.
He also says that photos are a “must.” If you don’t have good photos of a project, it’s not going to be worth doing the case study. While there’s no question the written part of the story is important, high-quality photos should back it up. Heiler says that “before and after” shots are always helpful.
Once you have the case study written you can get it up on your website. It makes sense to have a section of your website dedicated to case studies so that they can be easily found.
“You can also go an extra step and share these with local media,” Heiler suggests. “If there’s a really good story and good photos, that’s something that local media might be interested in.”