Case studies that matter: An important addition to your B2B content marketing mix
Case studies can serve as an informative way of delivering company highlights or research to an audience. However, they might not always drum up the same level of interest as a tweet or Instagram post. Why is that? Are our attention spans too short? Are they – dare I say it – boring? Case studies might bring back memories of university seminar discussions, but this doesn’t have to be the case (pun intended). They can serve as an important part of your company’s B2B content marketing efforts, and will bring a level of relatability to prospective clients that other forms of content cannot.
Commonly a long-form source of content marketing, a case-study can be compared to that of a lab report for a science experiment. The elements of both are quite similar: A question or problem is posed, along with the methods taken to solve the issue or learn more, completed by a conclusion of the findings. In this situation, your case study will also serve to showcase your company’s products and services to help fellow B2B decision-makers with their buying choices – and go a lot further than what you’d find in a lab report.
Don’t know where to begin, or looking to spruce up your company’s case studies? Consider the following:
Focus on the customer, not the product.
It can be easy to demonstrate your product’s strengths – you’re a marketer and it’s your job! But take a look at the challenges your clients were facing before using your product or service. How did that change once the business relationship was formed? Using the experience of other companies makes them seem relatable to your audience, who likely find themselves in the same position your starring company once did.
Give your customer a voice.
Narrating their experience is great, but can veer into a sales pitch or hyperbole if you keep it one-sided. Using interviews, quotations, or even embedded videos in your case study adds a sense of reality to your claims – and demonstrates theirs, too.
In a study by Radix Communications, it was revealed that 72% of B2B marketers say the customer’s viewpoint is essential. However, 78% of the marketers said gaining access to them was a problem! Whether it be lack of customer satisfaction creating barriers, or marketers not knowing how to use industry terminology effectively, this can serve as a roadblock for your efforts. Granting a satisfied customer access to their world and jargon will help a case study publish itself.
Keep it interesting.
Going back to my “boring” comment, be mindful of your audience’s attention span, knowledge of the industry, and the overall tone your case study follows. It can be easy to structure your case study like an academic report, but all one has to do is skip to the end to find the results – and chances are, it’s a positive ending. You don’t have to get too formulaic to get your point across. Take your readers through a process that highlights all the steps along the way. You’ll find you have a lot more to say than, “Challenge: Looking for a new software program to replace an outdated platform.”
Think of it as a conversation with your audience, and keep them engaged. Business 2 Community suggests getting interactive by including quizzes, calculators, and self-assessment tools. Where are your clients currently positioned? Spelling it out for them with the results of these reflective activities might serve as an added push towards what your company is offering.
Let’s face it – you’re a busy company, and case studies might seem more arduous than creating a set of tweets for the week. It can be difficult running multiple social channels and creating other marketing content. However, case studies will serve as long-standing reminders of what your company stands for, and how you’ve impacted your client-base over time. That can go a lot further than the tweet of the day for prospective clients researching your business. Over time, a set of case studies will show how you’re capable of helping industry clients, and devoted to archiving these successes.