The Power of Case Studies and Testimonials, for your Complementary, or Therapy Practice
People love stories, we are drawn to them and naturally want to know what happens next. Stories are an incredibly powerful way to communicate and illustrate how you help people. The way to do this in your practice, is by using case studies and testimonials.
A case study outlines a client’s journey, in order to illustrate their experiences. These can be from an actual client, hypothetical, or a hybrid of the two.
Testimonials are basically an expression of thanks, or a statement of recommendation.
Your client’s success stories are a huge asset for your business. They provide potential clients with powerful marketing messages, and assist them to decide on whether to work with you, or not.
Why case studies and testimonials are important
People like to know exactly how you can help them. Understanding how you have helped others, is a brilliant way to demonstrate this.
They will help to alleviate any fears, potential clients have around taking the next step with you. Client stories also provide you with credibility.
They can be used in any of your marketing activities, to reinforce messages and points you make. They are especially important on your website where they can be sprinkled throughout different pages, or on a page of their own.
What to include
What the ideal testimonial or case study needs to demonstrate are three main things:
- Why your client wanted to work with you
- What issue(s) you helped them with and how you did this
- What difference working with you made to them
Avoid using the testimonials that are just complimenting you, on how amazing you are. We all love to hear: ‘Helen was fabulous!’ That says absolutely nothing about how I helped a client and won’t do anything to support my business.
How to get case studies and testimonials
Start by identifying clients who you have a great relationship with, and you think will be happy to share their story.
If a client drops you an email to thank you, and letting you know how they are doing, ask permission to use it for your marketing.
A story written in your client’s own words may not be a literary masterpiece, but their choice of language will resonate with your potential clients. If they have included something that does not fit with your ethical guidelines, suggest changes, and send it back to your client for approval, prior to publishing.
If someone provides a written testimonial, ask if they are willing to include a photo as this provides another layer of credibility.
You can protect your client’s identity by using only their first name, using their initials or giving them a different name (although for clarity, mention this). This is particularly important if the work you do is of a very sensitive nature.
Ensure your clients do not feel pressured, or obligated to provide a testimonial for you.
Have a process
Create the habit of requesting testimonials once a client has finished working with you. The best time to ask is when they still feel motivated from the results they have got and remember the details of working with you.
Different types of testimonials and case studies
Traditionally, many testimonials and case studies were written. With the ownership of smart phones and other accessible technologies, there are so many other possibilities available.
It is often easier for clients to produce video, or audio testimonials. These hold incredible power as they provide a ‘real person’ for potential clients to relate to.
Another option is to interview a client once they have finished working with you. This can be in person, remotely, on video, audio recording, or taking notes. By you taking on the creation of the case study, or testimonial, you are increasing the chance of client participation. All you are asking your client for, is a little of their time. If you do this, always show the finished piece to your client for approval, prior to publishing.
Word of caution
Don’t just publish anything. Make sure it fits with the guidelines of your professional body. Some bodies have very strict rules on the use of case studies and testimonials.
If your UK based and your body states you must comply with the ASA/CAP codes, you can find more information here .
Make sure you have the contact details of your client and written permission to use their story. The Data Protection Act is changing in May 2018, it will require you to have permission for exactly how, when and for how long any data is going to be used.
Be reasonable about what you include ensure you (or your client) are not making any claims that cannot be substantiated if challenged.
What if I don’t have testimonials?
You may be limited on what you can publish due to your professional body. You may be just starting out as a new practitioner, or therapist and don’t have any testimonials.
In either situation, consider doing a hypothetical case study (professional body permitting) to demonstrate the journey of a client working with you.
You could also request endorsements from your colleagues, your school, or employers to provide proof of your capabilities and credibility.
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