Continuous changes to the economic environment mean organisations are constantly challenged to reduce overall expenditure and maximise efficiencies across all divisions. At the same time, organisations are repurposing increasing amounts of digital material as part of a solution to these challenges, but with so many options now available, how do you know which asset to prioritise first and which ones have the most value for your business?
In this current climate, the sheer quantity of content being uploaded daily has led buyers to become bored and complacent, after all, how much recycled or overly technical material can one person read without becoming bored?
One of the biggest dilemmas’ businesses face today comes down to quantity over quality, there are only so many ways you can reuse the same material and it remain relevant. To build authority, you need to strike an editorial balance between search-focused and thought leadership content and align this content with the challenges your business solves.
According to a recent survey by HubSpot, 65% of businesses rated case studies as an effective tactic amongst B2B users for converting sales, but oddly enough, only 60% of marketers stated that content marketing is very important to their overall strategy with a further 24% planning on increasing their investment this year alone.
So, what makes a case study so appealing?
Case studies are vastly under-utilised, yet wholly effective. In fact, case studies are often more effective than brochures and traditional sales collateral. People connect with stories, and there’s no better method of storytelling in business than using your customer’s voice to demonstrate your success.
Customers read relevant case studies because they find them authoritative and talk in a way that they can relate to and understand. Marketing is all about sharing your product or service to potential clients and storytelling is a great way to do this, it will produce unique, real, and interesting content that will generate social shares and have the ability to go viral. It really is about thinking a little bigger and stepping outside of the box!
How does a case study affect your brand?
In B2B marketing, case studies establish your credibility as a business and showcase the value of your product or service in a more tangible way. They provide evidence of how your product or service has been selected and used in real-time. The fact clients not only use your products or services but are happy to be quoted as a case study, only strengthens this credibility.
Today, with all the challenges your customers face, every purchasing decision must be justified. Case studies are an instrumental asset when it comes to establishing proof that what you’re offering is valuable and of great quality. These are your success stories that fortify your position as a market leader and champion your brand.
More than that, case studies are useful tools throughout the entire sales and marketing funnel; they can provide insight into your product or service offerings for potential customers, or give those further down the funnel the final push with a story they can relate to. Having a case study detailing how you helped a customer solve their problem is an extremely powerful tool; nobody wants to be sold to, but a convincing story helps consumers understand, identify and relate.
What makes a case study successful?
So, what makes a great case study? A case study needs to say a lot more than surface-level information on what the product or service does, even if it’s a customer doing the talking. Your website, advertising, and other marketing materials should already have those claims covered, so make sure the narrative fits.
Remember to show, not tell. You don’t need to tell the customer how great your product is, they get it! The reader should understand that your product or service is “efficient” not because the customer echoes the claim, but because the story of their experience shouts effectiveness without the writer once using the words!
After publishing a case study, you can then home in on specific takeaways and use them as building blocks for additional content. This could take the form of blog posts, newsletters, video features, or podcasts. Think of a case study as research and by regularly producing thought-provoking and insightful case studies, you’ll be able to fast-track your way to becoming a thought leader in your niche.