There’s no denying the power of case studies, especially for landing B2B clients. They can tangibly demonstrate your value while explaining the story of how your solution helped a real-life client meet a need or overcome a pain point.
Importantly, they showcase your effectiveness without being too salesy and are proven to work. In a recent survey by the Content Marketing Institute, 60% of B2B marketers reported that case studies have been effective for them. Sound like a must-have addition to your content marketing toolbox? Here are some of the benefits of case studies and how to create a great one for your business.
Why Case Studies Work
What makes case studies such terrific marketing tools? A few different factors contribute to their power:
- People love stories: Good content marketing is all about storytelling and case studies are no exception. People tend to tune out when they feel like they’re being fed a sales pitch. However, one survey found that 92% of consumers say they are more open to receiving media messages in the form of a story.
An effective case study contains all the elements of a great story – it features characters that potential customers can relate to and it helps readers understand the benefits of your products or services. Best of all, it always has an ending where everyone is happy.
- Case studies offer valuable social proof: When you’re planning to purchase a product or service, what do you do first? Chances are you ask family, friends or colleagues about their experiences with a product or service. You probably also do some online research. These word-of-mouth recommendations are powerful – studies show that 9 out of 10 consumers check out online reviews before making a purchasing decision. Case studies are a little like reviews and testimonials, only better. With B2B buying cycles usually requiring more in-depth information for decision makers, they give prospective customers a sneak preview of what they can expect if they purchase the product or service.
- Case studies help your business get exposure: You can publish case studies on your website, but you can also take advantage of other outlets to help your business gain visibility and leads. Try sharing a case study on a LinkedIn group that’s specific to your industry or you can even turn your case study into an infographic to share on social media.
Developing a Killer Case Study
Case studies are powerful, as long as they’re well-crafted. Here are a few tips to help you create case studies that convert:
- Keep your ideal customer in mind: When a potential customer reads your case study, you want them to feel confident that your business understands their needs and can deliver results. So, if your ideal customer is someone in the field of education, write a case study about how your product or service was implemented at a university. People who read success stories that occurred in their own industry will believe that the same solutions are likely to work for them as well.
- Find an ideal customer to collaborate with: One of the more challenging parts of doing a case study is finding a compelling and willing customer. Try to choose a customer you already have a good relationship with and do everything you can to make it an easy decision for them. Make it clear what you would need from time in terms of time and you can even throw in an incentive if they are still reluctant.
- Tell the whole story: An effective case study will tell readers quite a bit about the featured customer – their needs, their goals, how your business helped them and the results. If you want to score extra points with your case study, follow up with that customer later and update your case study to illustrate how your products or service continue to deliver value. This shows that your business sets out to provide long-term benefits to customers, not just short term sales.
- Provide real numbers: Your case study should be as clear as possible, so avoid any discussions of data that can have ambiguous meanings. Don’t just say you doubled your website traffic – “doubling” could be nothing more than an increase from 50 to 100 visits, or it could be a huge leap from 20,000 to 40,000 visits. When your readers see real numbers, they can better envision what your products or services can deliver for them.
- Don’t forget about formatting: Treat your case studies the same as you would blog posts and informational articles on your website. Importantly, break up text with various formatting elements to avoid a “wall of text.” You can do this with headers, bulleted lists and images to help readers skim to find what’s most important to them.
- Help people find them: There’s no point in having a treasure trove of great case studies if nobody can find them. Make sure your website is organized so that visitors have no trouble locating your case studies. Have a dedicated page devoted to “Case Studies,” “Solutions and Use Cases” or even “Success Stories,” and link to it from your home page or product page.
An Essential for B2B
If you need to attract and convince more customers, a few good case studies might be exactly what you need. Creating a case study may seem like a daunting task at first, but breaking it down into smaller, more manageable chunks can help you stay on track. With a few strong case studies in your arsenal, your sales team will have a much easier time convincing customers to purchase.