If you’re not doing case studies as part of your content marketing, you should be. As well as being one of the most widely used and effective formats in the B2B market – with 73 percent of businesses turning to them to inform purchasing decisions (DemandGen) – they are increasingly being recognised by B2C companies aware of their power to inform and convince in a non-salesy way.
It makes sense really, I mean, what business wouldn’t benefit from showcasing real examples of how their product or service makes their customers or clients happy? They are like testimonials on steroids. But why do they work?
1. They leverage the power of storytelling
Numerous scientific studies have shown that stories are a powerful way of communicating. By offering information in a relatable way, they help an audience engage with, remember and form emotional connections with what is being said.
Because a case study is essentially a customer success story, businesses are able to draw on these benefits and use them to influence potential customers into making positive purchasing decisions. To get it right, ensure you foster a solid narrative, beginning with the customer then following with the challenge, the journey, the discovery, the solution, the implementation and finally the results.
2. They enable others to do the selling for you
Customers love social proof. They like to know that other people have had a good experience with a company before they make the decision to do business with them. Although this can be achieved with reviews and testimonials, a case study goes one step further by offering a much more detailed account of how a solution was successfully delivered.
The most effective case studies are ones that are based around an interview with the actual customer or client involved. Why? Because quoting your customer in their own words will make the case study more authentic and therefore more believable.
3. They prove your marketing claims
While typically businesses try to sell themselves by explaining what they can do, a case study does one better by giving a real life example of what they have actually achieved, backed up by hard data. Because of this, they help lift your credibility in the eyes of even the most sceptical client.
The more factual and statistical information you can provide in a case study, the better. People trust facts much more than marketing blurb, especially in the B2B market where they often look to case studies towards the end of their decision-making process and want that final reassurance.
4. They give you a competitive edge
Although case studies are effective, to get them right you do need to invest a bit of effort into compiling and creating them. But herein lays your advantage. Because they are much more involved than your standard testimonial, and often require time spent pulling together information and interviewing customers, it means fewer businesses use them and therefore they can help you stand out in even the most competitive marketplaces.
With a customer teetering on the edge of a product or service purchase decision, if your website has some solid case studies on it and your competitors don’t, it’s more likely they’ll be picking up the phone and calling you because you present less risk.
5. They teach you a lot
A less obvious benefit of case studies is that they provide you with a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your customers and your product or service. Through the interview and information gathering process, you’ll likely find out things you didn’t know before and, because of this, gain a better understanding of how people use what you sell.
This is beneficial for two main reasons. Firstly, the more you know about your customers the better you can tailor your marketing communication efforts. Secondly, it can point you in the direction of improvements that could be made, therefore assisting your businesses R&D.
When done right, case studies can become one of the most effective forms of content for your business. If you’re not sure how to get started, contact us today for a chat.