Looking to add a new dimension to your business-to-business (B2B) marketing strategy? Think of a recent success story and turn it into a case study. Then, make it part of your ongoing workflow to consistently develop new case studies so you’re building a library of relatable marketing assets that you can use both immediately and for the foreseeable future.
In the B2B world, case studies show prospects how you can help them by illustrating how you’ve helped other clients. Aside from serving as real-world examples, case studies strengthen your marketing in many ways, including:
Case studies signal to prospects that you’re an established, reputable company with proven solutions and happy clients. The longer format of a case study allows you to explain your processes and capabilities with more context than you would include in shorter content such as social posts and email blasts. Case studies give you credibility, a prerequisite to building trust.
2. Name Recognition
If you work with well-known brands in your industry, you know a name-drop always carries weight in sales conversations. Take the name-drop a step further by writing a full case study. Of course, you’ll want to get your client’s permission to use their name and then get their final approval of the content. It’s worth the extra effort though to be able to showcase your work with your largest clients.
If a client doesn’t let you use their name, you can still consider creating a case study about them. It’ll just need to have a degree of anonymity. In that case, you’ll obviously lose the actual name recognition, but you’ll still get a similar effect in describing the size of the client and the magnitude of your work with them.
3. New Business Acquisition
What services are you currently trying to sell the most? Create case studies around those services to help drive new business that aligns with your goals and overall growth. If you have a relatively new service line that you want to promote, a case study featuring one of your first clients to sign on for that offering can help remove the perceived risk that prospects might have of trying something new when they see that it’s already proving to be successful.
Most definitions of a case study include the word, “detailed” (or “in-depth”). A case study is your chance to be a little longer-winded (though still concise and deliberate) with your content to educate prospects on everything you do behind the scenes to deliver on your promises. Take the opportunity to explain challenges and how you overcame them. Point out little things that you do differently than your competitors. And of course, don’t be shy about boasting the impressive results you achieved.
Speaking of results, the strongest case studies usually culminate with measurable and favorable metrics. Maybe you were able to reduce a client’s manufacturing costs by 15 percent, or increase their speed to market by 25 percent. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker if you don’t have stats, but without them, the conclusion of a case study can feel somewhat flat. Communicate with your client to try to secure at least one or two meaningful data points. If you’re still having trouble, we’ll point out another case study enhancer shortly.
Great case studies also lean into storytelling so that they read less like marketing collateral and more like a feature piece in a magazine or newspaper. If you can get people to truly read instead of simply scan, you’ll be able to thoroughly educate them on how valuable your services are. To give your case study the look and feel of a story, include any combination of photos, video, infographics, and quotes as available. Once again, the extra time and resources are well spent to spotlight your best success stories.
7. Industry Expertise
Many B2B companies have specific industries or “verticals” where their services are particularly beneficial, such as an accounting firm that works well with construction firms or a logistics company that offers solutions for e-commerce. A case study is the perfect “case in point” to flex your expertise in a given industry. If you’re able to generate case studies in the key industries you serve, you can then add them to or create new industry pages on your website.
Remember when we said data is ideal but not always accessible to support a case study? If you don’t have the data to top off the story, a client testimonial can be just as powerful. When asking your client if you can feature them in a case study, also ask if they’d be willing to provide a testimonial. Get the testimonial you really want by mentioning a few specific points that you would like for them to speak on so you’re leading them into a stronger and more focused quote.
Even the sharpest B2B marketing is inherently salesy and at times jargony. Quite simply, you’re trying to convince people to buy something. But when you shift gears to a case study, you’re giving your audience proof that other people have bought your services and are happy with the outcome. More specifically, case studies are a form of “social proof,” or the idea that people tend to follow the actions and influence of others.
You’re not just creating case studies for the sake of creating case studies. You’re creating them to help fuel your marketing. That’s where they’re extremely versatile anywhere and everywhere you market your company. You can cut case studies down into social posts, feature them in email blasts, mention them in related blog articles, talk about them in video interviews, use them in digital ads, pitch them to trade magazines, and the list goes on. Your sales team will be happy to have case studies on hand, too, as they’re talking to prospects.
Ready to create case studies for your company? See a few of our own case studies to get inspired about bringing real-world success stories into your marketing and advertising. Contact us to get started.