When it comes to sales, it doesn’t get much better than a really powerful success story. But how do you translate that into conversions?
A case study could be the answer—if it’s done right.
You may already know that B2B case studies are useful marketing tools utilized by many companies. As real-life evidence of how a product or service directly solved a customer’s problem(s), it doesn’t get much better than that from a sales perspective.
Add the fact that today’s consumers place a high value on customer opinions, and it seems like an even easier sell. Case in point: millennials find user-generated-content, such as the customer opinions and experiences in case studies, to be 50% more trustworthy than native advertising.
This means that an effective case study can make the difference between a dead-end lead and a loyal customer. But how many case studies have engaging content that people actually want to read? Sadly, very few.
We’ve seen it time and again: case studies that follow the typical formulaic structure (yawn!): customer background, problem, and solution. This unimaginative approach gets old quick.
To make a difference, marketers need to instead shift their approach to case study writing and think of it as storytelling. We’ve put together a few tips to help get you started crafting a compelling story that leads will love!
Every Story Has an Audience
It’s easy to identify the main characters in your case study: your business and your client. Remember, though: a case study isn’t meant for either of those parties. It’s intended for your audience—your potential customers and leads.
Visualize who your case study is meant to impact. Keep that audience in mind as you write your case study. What specific needs do they have that you were able to address for your previous client? How can you tell the story in a way that will grab their attention—make them say, “Hey, that’s exactly what I need too!”
For any case study writer, audience is always the most important factor.
Every Story Needs Conflict
The conflict in a case study story is the problem faced by your customer. What challenges were they facing? How did your company help them overcome these obstacles?
Case studies work best when you can describe very specifically how your product or service helped your customer. Often, your potential customers have a variety of options to choose from when selecting a solution to their problem. So, in illustrating how your company helped resolve the past customer’s challenge(s), you should make sure to differentiate your approach from competitors. Consider these questions:
- What is it about your company’s product or service that is unique?
- How did you solve your client’s problems in an original or particularly efficient way?
- How did your client describe their experience working with your company?
Take the time to do your research. Contact the customer and interview them directly to get their perspective on why their experience with you was a success. Incorporating direct quotes from satisfied clients into a case study is incredibly important to tell a compelling story. Try to use the same phrasing as customers when writing up the case study—the way they described your offerings will likely resonate with other potential leads.
And remember, it doesn’t have to be a doomsday situation to make a good story. Your customer didn’t have to be on the brink of failure before you stepped in to help. Even if your business or product solved a relatively minor challenge for them, it’s the positive results and success that matter most.
Every Story Needs a Hero
The hero of the case study isn’t your entire business—it’s an individual or group within your organization who solved your customer’s problem directly.
This could be the sales associate who helped your client choose the most appropriate product or the technical staff who tailored a package to meet your customer’s specific needs—whoever it is, feature them in your story.
Pointing out a specific individual or team who was responsible for meeting your customer’s needs lends a personal touch and validity to your case study. It features the real employees that your future customers will work with and showcases how effective they are at their jobs.
Stories Are Best When Shared
The story you’ve woven in your case study took significant time and effort to develop, so once you’ve completed it, be sure to share it widely!
Disseminate case studies across your newsletters or email lists. Highlight these success stories on social media and your company website. Share them with potential customers and loyal clients alike. Remember that existing customers may not be aware of all the products and services you offer, and upselling current clients that are already invested in working with you will likely be an easy sell!
Don’t forget to update your older case studies once in a while, too. Check back in with clients featured in past case studies to document the long-term results and benefits of your solution. Evidence of a loyal customer base goes a long way in establishing your organization’s trustworthiness and reliability, so keep developing those case studies—and feature them prominently for all to see!