73% of B2B marketers cite case studies as one of their main channels to market their products and services, but how many of them actually use them effectively? The internet is plagued with bad content, and if you don’t build yours right, it could end up not converting.
Case studies are about creating trust in business relationships. They are a great way to showcase your products or services are without being overtly “salesy”. You are giving your prospective customers the equivalent of a screenshot of your successes and a view of the potential roadmap to their own.
Now is always the right time to approach your clients. Select candidates who you worked closely with or know your product or service(s) well. Never expect to get every agreed upon case study published. Our experience is that for every published case study, there will be 2 to 3 that were asked for, agreed upon, but never published. If a case study doesn’t ultimately get published, these mini-interviews with your clients will provide valuable review information and even metrics for your company, so it isn’t a total loss!
So, how do you build the ideal sale-generating case study?
Think About Your Prospective Client
By focusing on what the client needs, you will be able to provide more valuable and meaningful content from the start. When your prospective client is looking at your case studies, they want to feel that you are comfortable with their specific industry, that you know their particular needs, and have dealt with people like them before. Ultimately, they want to know that you understand them.
You know your business well, and you know the industries you work best in. Whether you are breaking into a new market or trying to increase presence in an already established one, industry-specific research is key to building a useful case study. Every industry will have unique customer pain points, jargon, and an industry-specific tone; your offering(s) should be positioned as a solution to a particular problem, not a cure-all for any business woes.
Give Them Something Valuable
Think about what you can offer your prospective client on top of the already valuable information in the case study. Whether it’s a laundry list on how to optimize their website or a checklist for ERP implementation success, give your customers something valuable or give them something they can actually use.
Display Real Metrics
Far too many case studies go unread because they don’t offer any real information. Try to stay away from more ambiguous terms like “doubled traffic” or “tripled conversions” and show the actual numbers. Your prospective client wants to see what is possible, and this transparency of information will help build trust in your offering.
Let the numbers contribute to and drive your overall story. When used properly, they can be a great indicator of where your client started and where they ended up with your services.
Talk Business Strategy
As one of the last steps in building a case study, it is essential to have some kind of meaningful conclusion, although it doesn’t necessarily have to be labeled as such.
Take this opportunity to explicitly tell them how your product or service benefitted your customer and how it helped them reach a specific goal. Highlight specific points that were addressed and build on the narrative of your client’s success.
Don’t Forget a Call-to-Action (CTA)
Your call-to-action can be any number of things: a button, a quick sentence and link, a fillable form, or contact us information. Whatever you choose to use should be specific to the type of client and industry you plan to target.
As a general rule for B2B clients, your CTA should always be at the end of your case study after you have presented all the relevant information and they are ready to convert into the next phase. Anything too large or too flashy will come off as unprofessional, so it is best just to keep it simple and straight-forward.
By following these basic best practices, you’ll be able to create case studies at scale that actually convert readers into new leads for your sales team. No matter what type of content you produce, keeping your audience first is absolutely essential. When it comes to case studies, keeping a highly specific focus will lead to the most success.