Ah, the good old fashioned B2B case study.
Safe, reliable… not particularly exciting. The Ford Mondeo of the marketing world.
Case studies CAN be interesting.
(And no, they don’t have to be formulaic and shoved into a *problem, solution, results* template every time, dammit!)
But more importantly—done well—B2B case studies are powerful sales tools that can dramatically increase your marketing results.
We’ve just lost the art of writing good ones.
Here are five tips to revitalise your approach—and win back some of those disinterested customers.
Dig deep: find the story
Before diving into your case study, ask yourself: where are the gritty, visceral parts of this story that will poke my prospects in the heart and gut (while yanking persistently at their pockets)?
In other words, the bits that speaks to them at an emotional level?
Too many B2B marketers underestimate the personal value a buyer gains from a purchase. They imagine faceless organisations making decisions based purely on fact, logic and business value.
So they write case studies like instruction manuals, or worse, glorified adverts.
Yet, it’s the people within those organisations that make the purchasing decisions. And they’re just as influenced by emotion as every day consumers.
A Google study of 3000 B2B purchasers showed them as being more so…
“B2B purchasers are almost 50% more likely to buy a product or service when they see personal value — such as opportunity for career advancement or confidence and pride in their choice — in their business purchase decision. They are 8x more likely to pay a premium for comparable products and services when personal value is present.”
The only way to achieve that in your case studies is to liberally sprinkle excitement around the benefits of your product or service… the promotion, the smashed targets, the kudos, the… going home on time for once.
Listen closely to the customers whose lives you’ve improved, and find out what your product REALLY means to them.
Then write what they say.
Cut, prune, edit: respect your readers’ time
Write for the time-starved and the frantically busy. We all know that, right? But go one step further, and leave out the features, the company history, the ‘how they found’ you bits. All the meaningless and clumsy padding you think needs to go in, but really, REALLY doesn’t.
Because when you take a scalpel and surgically remove the deadwood, you’re left with crisp, clear case studies that crackle with intrigue… case studies that are irresistible to your target audience.
But don’t just take my word for it—
—A hefty 66 per cent of B2B marketers say case studies are THE most effective means of attracting their target audiences.
Make yours better than average (really not difficult), and I’ll bet my cheese panini you’ll join them.
You can still reference the *problem, solution, results* arc; but craft it as a story (or conversation)—and not a case study. Keep this in mind while you’re writing and you’ll auto-weed out the superfluous.
A sure fire way to persuade cynical customers
When your sales team meet with potential customers, a white-hot case study adds the kind of clout that gently prizes open your customers’ confidence. (Much like a hearty gin and tonic).
Imagine a value-ramping case study for the CFO. A time-crushing belter for the Head of Resources. The more B2B case studies you have at your fingertips… the more opportunities you have to connect with as wide a cross section of your target audience as possible.
And, tapping into the personal side of your customers’ success—sidestepping the uninspiring templates of yore—helps prospects connect on a level that gets them right where it counts.
Make like a buffalo: respect the herd mentality
Simply put: people no longer buy things without checking out what their peers have to say on the matter.
I mean, when was the last time you didn’t consult the reviews on Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Ebay or Amazon? So why should B2B be any different?
Remember: EVERYONE wants social proof that something’s going them to get the results they seek. And hearing it from peeps who aren’t on the payroll?
- B2B case studies humanise your brand. They put your solutions into context and allow prospects to see how you solved actual problems for real people.
- Case studies are your customer success stories. They directly influence your prospects, attract high-quality leads, build trust and boost revenue. Fact.
- Case studies provide third party endorsement: The most powerful way to motivate potential customers, show them how you can help and why you are their best choice.
Case studies are evergreen.
Just as a conifer tree stays lush and green throughout the year, and into the following season, good case studies retain their value—year after year. Unlike ephemeral blog posts or the driftwood of social media.
And, once you’ve got all those ripe, juicy case studies in your arsenal, you have acres of content to repurpose; reaching an even wider an audience than you ever thought possible.
From dissecting your case studies into blog posts; pulling out quotes for social; crafting them into beautiful sales materials; spinning them into press releases and media-friendly features; to optimising the content for your website…
Case studies offer a deep well of opportunity for revving up your sales cycle.
But, if you’re like a lot of marketers right now, and skipping over them in favour of ‘new and shiny’ marketing tactics, you could be denying yourself busloads of hungry new customers.
Isn’t it time to revive the lost art of B2B case studies?
Rethink your approach. Build yourself a library of revenue boosting B2B case studies. Educate early stage prospects. Drive sales—and prove why you are the number one person for the job.
There ain’t no better way.
Don’t have time to interview all those happy customers, and turn their words into compelling, persuasive B2B case studies? I can help.
Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org