Hey, where are your case studies?
This is a question I have asked so many marketers over the years. They’re killin’ it with other marketing initiatives, but their case study game is either weak (some dusty content about customers they haven’t worked with for years) or completely nonexistent.
The weird thing is that these marketers get the value of case studies.
They’ve seen classic stats like this one: 78% of B2B buyers use case studies for purchasing decisions. They even understand that neglecting the creation of case study content can result in reduced sales and client retention rates, missed opportunities, and slower business growth.
So, what gives? Why are case studies underutilized in so many content strategies?
Potential Reasons You’re Not Committing to Case Studies
You may think you have valid reasons for not committing to creating case study content. Here are some of the most common reasons I’ve heard, and the rebuttals and recommendations I make.
“We’re worried about annoying our customers.”
“Annoying customers” is the top concern I hear from marketers. It’s totally understandable since your customer is already paying for your solution and now you’re asking them to do you a big favor.
Even though case studies are some of the most valuable content you can create, the process of creating them requires tact, timing, and an understanding of your customer’s journey. Overcoming the fear of irritating customers will only be made possible when your case study production process is dialed.
Your outreach email should spell out your process, your customer’s time commitment, and how this will be an opportunity for shared success stories between your two organizations. Also, to address any confidentiality concerns, reassure your customers that they will have a chance to review and approve case study content before it’s released.
“We’d rather focus on SEO instead.”
It’s true. Case studies are not big SEO plays since they typically will not rank as well in search results. They’re a different kind of content intended for prospects in the middle Consideration stage of the buyer’s journey.
Heavy-hitting SEO content that ranks well tends to follow a specific formula and structure, with keywords stealing the spotlight. With case studies, your customer is in the spotlight. It’s about their success story and how you helped them win.
Indirectly, your case studies will still support your SEO content strategy.
Since you’re collaborating with your customer’s organization, this is a perfect opportunity to extend the reach of this content on their marketing channels and earn backlinks. And, since case studies are relatable stories that offer social proof, they’re great for increasing time on page and improving engagement metrics…big plusses for SEO.
“We just can’t deal with case studies right now.”
The vague “we just can’t deal” reason is probably related to resource challenges.
Maybe you don’t have someone in-house who has the expertise to execute case studies effectively, or you do, and they’re underwater. Another concern might be opportunity cost—you think that every hour spent on creating case studies is time not spent on other more important business growth activities.
The concern about the effort it takes to produce a high-quality case study is understandable, especially in a resource-constrained situation. But the rewards are worth it. Case studies provide real-world examples of how your solution can benefit others, which is the secret weapon to getting new customers.
The Benefits of Sharing Case Studies
Now that we’ve addressed the root cause of your case study commitment issues, it’s time to motivate you to create some case studies by focusing on the benefits you’ll start to see.
Demonstrate Success and Expertise
Buyers want to know how you solve problems in the wild and what the experience will be like if they choose to do business with you. They crave content that delivers real examples of how you used your expertise to help someone like them overcome their challenges and succeed.
By highlighting the unique approaches and positive outcomes you achieved for your customers, you have a much stronger chance of differentiating yourself from your competitors. When buyers are considering different options, this matters…big time.
Build Trust and Credibility
There’s a reason people call case study content social proof. Without social proof, you’re talking about how great your solution is left and right but you’re not proving squat to your buyer. How can they trust that what you’re saying is legit?
They probably can’t. But, they will trust their peers. Before committing to a solution, buyers need to know that you helped others facing similar issues. Sharing your customers’ success stories provides that evidence.
Move Buyers From Consideration to Decision
Consideration content supports buyer research and evaluation. This midpoint in the funnel (otherwise known as MOFU) is a critical time when a buyer wonders if your solution is better than someone else’s.
Case studies are a fantastic way to communicate the value of your solution through the voice of your customer. This content is incredibly effective at helping a buyer understand that your solution is the right fit for them and that they are making the right purchase decision.
What Does a Good Case Study Look Like?
Okay, I’m going to shoot straight with you. Case studies can go really wrong, really fast.
Bad case studies are:
Good case studies are:
Don’t worry. I won’t just leave you hanging with a bullet list of antonyms. Here’s a little bit about how to create effective case studies:
- To make them interesting, use the customer’s name and use the third-person narrative throughout. Your customer is the hero of your solution’s story. Only do an anonymous case study as a last resort when your customer doesn’t approve the use of their name and/or their organization’s name.
- To make them engaging, include quotes throughout the written content. And if possible, capture a video testimonial during the interview that you can share across social channels to maximize engagement.
- To make them smooth, follow a tried-and-true storytelling technique of the hook, challenge, solution, and the positive impact you had on their lives. Like any good story, it needs to flow.
- To make them purposeful, add any results you can scrounge up—these can be quantitative or qualitative. Always put your customer at ease during the interview by saying “ballpark results” are fine.
A Couple of Video Case Study Examples
When you sit down with your customers, don’t just interview them on a call and capture audio that you will never use again. Record a video testimonial, which you can do easily with remote video production.
Video case studies will always make a bigger splash and get people’s attention. When it comes to building trust and credibility, a video of your customer is as relatable and authentic as it gets. You can always create a written case study from the video footage.
Here are a couple of our own video case study examples so you can see this solution storytelling in action…
Case studies are worth the commitment. They’re a proven content marketing method for demonstrating your solution’s value, building trust with buyers, and driving business growth.
If you’re not investing in case studies, now is the time to get after it.