Case studies are one of the most powerful B2B marketing tools.
B2B customers rely on them to make informed buying decisions and see social proof that your products deliver results.
In fact, DemandGen found that 73% of B2B buyers have used case studies to make a purchasing decision in the last 12 months.
The more compelling case studies you have, the more you can engage skeptical prospects and shorten your sales cycles. A well-written case study can capture a buyer’s interest and motivate them to reach out to you earlier.
Here are five keys to creating case studies that turn prospects into customers:
1. Exceptional Storytelling
Stories help you connect with customers on an emotional level, so you can show your value and stand out from the competition.
Compelling case studies tell stories that are emotional and agitate your prospects’ pain points. They also help leads envision themselves as your happy customers.
Here are some points to consider when you tell your customers’ stories:
- Choose a protagonist. Instead of talking about “Company X,” tell the story of a particular employee who benefited from your product. Readers relate to humans – not companies.
- Vividly describe the before state. Many case studies don’t go into enough detail on the customer’s pain before they bought the magic product. Be sure to talk about your customer’s challenges, including quotes that describe the pains in their words. Readers will relate to their frustrations.
- Show the results. Some case studies include just a few words about the customer’s results – almost as an afterthought. However, the results are the most important part of the story. Talk about your customer’s results in detail, including any unexpected benefits they achieved from your product. Be sure to include quotes and statistics on their return on investment.
- Keep it real. B2B technology implementations are rarely smooth from start to finish. Don’t be afraid to discuss any issues that you encountered along the way. Showing how you handled problems can speak volumes about your customer support.
2. A killer Headline
While 80% of your audience will read your headline, only 20% will go on to read the rest of your content. This means that headlines can have an enormous impact on your case study’s success.
A strong case study headline includes the following:
- Your customer’s name
- The problem that you solved
- A major result that your customer achieved, along with a number to support it
- Power words that elicit emotions
3. Quotes From Your Customer
Creating a case study can take a long time, especially when you need to wait for customer interviews and approvals. If you’re short on time, you might feel forced to write success stories from your perspective or forego quotes from your customers.
But a case study without quotes lacks credibility and kills your marketing magic.
Prospects are more likely to believe you if they hear from your customers in their words. It’s worth the time to interview your customers and add their voice to your stories.
Multimedia can make your case studies more engaging and help you connect with auditory and visual learners. Here are some ways that you can incorporate multimedia into your case studies:
- Add photos and charts to punch up your written case studies.
- Film video case studies and use them throughout your marketing.
- Turn your case studies into SlideShares and upload them to LinkedIn.
- Interview your customers about their successes in your webinars and podcasts.
5. A Repurposing Plan
Not everyone is going to find your success stories if you bury them on your website.
To get the most value from your case studies, you must get them in front of a wide audience. When you repurpose your case studies into other formats, you’ll reach more prospects across different channels. You’ll also save time on content creation, as you’ll reuse your existing materials instead of creating things from scratch.
Here are five places where you can repurpose your case studies to shorten your sales cycle and turn more leads into customers:
- Sales conversations. Drop a few statistics from a case study into your sales conversations to get prospects to take notice.
- Direct mail. Case studies can help you raise awareness around a new product or service. Include text from a case study in your next direct mail campaign to increase your response rates and generate more leads.
- Emails to prospects. The next time you touch base with a prospect, email some highlights from a related success story. You’ll be more likely to get a response.
- E-newsletters. Do you want more of your subscribers to read your newsletters? Try condensing a longer case study into a short article and sending it to your list. People enjoy learning how others are solving similar problems and will be more likely to read your newsletter.
- Proposals. Include a few case studies in your next proposal to increase your odds of winning the project.
Do you want more places to share your amazing customer success stories? Check out 21 Places To Share Your B2B Case Studies.
Read more: Go On Then, Tell Your B2B Story