Think about a time you shopped for clothes online. Because you couldn’t virtually try on anything, you had to dig through customer reviews to see if the fit and material matched the description on the site. Seeing multiple five-star reviews probably made you feel more inclined to make a purchase. Browsing through one-star comments? Not so much.
When you’re looking for a shirt online, you want real-consumer feedback before you bust out your wallet. These same principles apply to the prospects of B2B companies as well. However, they’re looking for information about experiences with a product or service and how it helped eliminate someone’s issue they faced within their job role.
Enter the case study.
While this staple of marketing is already popular among many B2B businesses, an argument can be made that they are underutilized. When you consider the benefits case studies offer, you should consider writing more. Here are a few reasons why you should incorporate more of this type of collateral into your inbound strategy.
What is a Case Study?
Unlike consumer reviews for B2C businesses, case studies are self-published blogs or PDFs that showcase how a real customer overcame an obstacle using your product or service. During the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, leads have fully become aware of a problem they’re facing and have decided to explore options to rectify the situation – making case studies a perfect consideration-stage tool.
What Are the Benefits of Case Studies?
According to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 73% of B2B marketers are currently using case studies. Consumers love them, too. Ninety-seven percent of B2B customers said they’re the most reliable type of content when evaluating services. Outside of cold-hard facts, there are numerous other reasons to employ case studies, including:
They Tell a Story
First and foremost, case studies are stories. They involve characters, conflict, and resolutions, and all of that showmanship brings your product or service to life. Without them, you can’t illustrate the ways your product can be used. Instead, you’re merely depicting the basics like where, when, and how your service came to be. While that information is important, stories are a more powerful way to activate the brain and persuade someone.
They Provide Peer-to-Peer Proof
Most company websites focus on the features of a product or service and briefly describe the benefits. Plus, all this information comes from the perspective of the brand. Case studies break this up by focusing on a customer’s experience. It comes from their eyes, which is a great way to move attention from yourself and shine a spotlight on a real-life consumer.
They Increase Credibility
It’s unusual to see a case study that doesn’t feature a company name, employee, and testimonials. In fact, case studies are some of the most hyper-targeted pieces of content you can write. You can highlight how you help niche business verticals solve industry-specific problems while backing up your work with customer quotes. Because of this, they can generate word-of-mouth quickly across mediums like social media platforms and elsewhere.
They Demonstrate Expertise and Success
When selecting a topic for a case study, it’s best to go with a complex challenge you solved for a customer. Doing this emphasizes your expertise in your industry and how your product achieves success. It explains the “why” behind the “how” of your service. More importantly, your sales team can use them to help establish your company’s capabilities when a potential prospect is deciding to go with your company or another.
In a perfect world, marketing departments would have stacked budgets. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for many teams, but luckily case studies are inexpensive to produce. When compared to a more significant project, like an explainer video, most of the work can be done internally. All you have to do is take the time to interview, write, and in some cases, design.
They’re Beneficial for Both Companies
Plenty of marketers feel stressed trying to get a customer to agree to be featured in a case study. Case studies portray the success of everyone involved, including how your customer was willing to get assistance so they could provide better services to their own clientele. Additionally, they can help with both sources’ backlink and anchor strategies, positively impacting SEO.
They Can Be Turned into Other Content
Once you publish your case study, you can repurpose it in different formats to extend its shelf-life. Think of it as a year’s worth of research and the resulting blogs, videos, emails, and more as your term papers. Even better? All of that content can be incorporated to lead nurtures to help generate continuous views. If you don’t have the bandwidth to create that much material from it, you can pull quotes or other statistics and place them around your website.
Get Help with Your Case Study Strategy
The next time you sit down to strategize your editorial calendar, be sure to consider adding more case studies. From providing credibility to validating your product’s value, they’re immeasurably useful to your marketing toolbelt.