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If you’re like most people, you enjoy a good story. The more attractive it is, the better. Especially if it is relevant and there is something useful that you can learn from.
This applies not only to paperback novels and Netflix but also to the marketing avenues marketed by marketers.
Enter the case study, an often overlooked yet powerful tool that B2B content marketers will benefit from by incorporating it into their strategy.
What is a case study?
The case study is a story at its best. It is a poignant narrative describing how a company that is struggling in some respect meets another business that helps it overcome a challenge and achieve its goal – if not overtake it.
The case study is an example hero journey, But in business rather than romance or drama. It’s a sobering story about a relationship, expert help, success and transformation, and a client who ultimately is happy with the results.
A token business usually enlists the help of a second party to solve a problem, and it is this second party who formulates the case study to show the relevant possibilities why they should also hire the second party. After all, it’s a success story with data and metrics to back up its claims, and best of all, it has radioactive certification.
Why should you market with case studies?
The use of case studies is most appropriate in the thinking stage of the buyer’s journey. It is the point at which a potential customer becomes aware of the product or service you are promoting and considers it an option.
At this juncture, potential customers typically search for multiple companies and compare the advantages and disadvantages of each. While in the awareness stage they are not willing to invest the time or effort to learn about your offers, in the thinking stage they are actively looking for reasons to choose or decline you. Now they want information, and it’s in your best interest to provide them with the right content that keeps them engaged, convinces them that you’re the solution to their problem, and guides them seamlessly to the conversion stage.
The simplest way to convince potential buyers is to give them exactly what they want. In this case, they want statistics, facts, and direct reassurance that they shouldn’t search further, because they’ve found the answer.
Above all, the package should be presented to them as an adventure with the end of “eternal happiness” – what we all want.
Six Elements of Highly Effective B2B Case Studies
It takes more than bar graphs and pie charts to make a compelling case study. Everyone tells stories, but just as sensory detail and engaging writing lead to a Pulitzer-worthy journalism, there are certain elements that ensure that a case study achieves its goal.
Although there are many elements to case studies, here are the six indispensable to be effective.
“Empathy is the ability to understand emotionally how others are feeling, see things from their perspective, and imagine yourself in their shoes. Essentially, it is putting yourself in someone else’s situation and feeling what they ought to feel,” Kendra Sherry writes in Verywell Mind.
As marketers, to the point where we are able to empathize, our case studies will speak to the hearts and minds of our target audience.
It’s how we answer unanswered questions, overcome silent objections, and completely reassure the possibilities.
For the case study to be convincing, the initial problem of the presented firm must be clearly defined and the positive solution – transformative benefit– Highlighted.
There should be no ambiguity about that Who is the was helped, what or what was at stake, When It happened , where happened and how The product or service reported by the champion company.
Writing a case study is not the time to show off your highly accurate vocabulary or try to impress your audience with an onslaught of glamorous metaphors.
Keep it simple: “The average American is considered to have a readability level equivalent to seventh/eighth grade (12-14 years old),” according to the Simple Language Center.
- bulleted lists
- Bold and italic words
- short paragraphs (no more than five lines)
Finally, the subject is not you, so avoid self-indulgence.
4. Data and graphics
Include minute details with plenty of data to support your story that the company’s unique problem was solved in a cheerful way.
Use visuals when you are able. People respond well to pictures of others smiling. Include at least one with a happy customer as the face of the company.
Exact numbers (for example, instead of saying “growth is doubled,” say “increase subscriptions from 60 to 125 per month”)
There is nothing better than hearing that a product or service has improved a customer’s life and that they are happy with the middleware company’s experience.
Definitely ask for a positive review and include it in your case study. Positive comments and testimonials make people trust the business more. Think about how likely you are to choose a particular brand simply because you read positive reviews from customers who have used it before.
6. A call to action
Case studies are written for various reasons. A medical case study may provide an examination of the effects of a new drug or procedure on a specific disease. In such a situation, the goal is Tells.
When written for marketing purposes, case studies aim to convince a potential customer to take the next step in their buyer’s journey. This means moving from the stage of thinking to the stage of conversion.
With this in mind, craft your call to action around access to longer informational resources, such as comparisons and reviews between the representative company and its competitors, or hour-long educational webinars.
Or simply indicate that if readers would like more information, they can “click here” to speak to a company representative.
Case studies are highly effective marketing tools
A well-written case study that speaks to the heart and mind of the reader works wonders on the buyer’s journey. It can mean the difference between potential customers becoming somewhat aware before they retreat to Never-Never Land, and becoming interested enough in a company’s products or services to consider choosing the company over its competitors.
When written with a clear understanding of their goal and how to use their core elements, case studies are compelling stories that every content marketer should use to their full advantage. The payoff will be worth it.
More Resources About B2B Case Studies
How to Build a B2B Case Study Program to Promote Your Company
The psychology of case studies: Five ways to improve the impact of customer stories
Case Studies Have Real Value: Seven Tips for Writing a Successful Success Story