Benefits of case studies
by Sophia Wells
When selling directly to other businesses (B2B), examples of previous successful projects are an increasingly important part of building trust and confidence that you can deliver the best solution for that business's needs.
Case studies represent a focused channel for your business to explain the types of work you're suited to and the businesses that can benefit from your services. By showcasing a real-life example of your team providing a solution to a problem you can highlight your experience and authority as a potential partner for similar businesses. It's for these reasons that case studies represent the perfect opportunity for you to promote your business in a value-added context for B2B buyers.
In this article we'll outline the key components of a business-winning case study and the format you can follow to begin creating your own today.
What is a case study?
A case study is defined as being an up-close and detailed examination of something your business did. It includes a beginning, an explanation of what happened next, and a resolution that explains how the company solved or improved on something. For example, an instance where your business excelled at finding an innovative solution to a new or existing problem.
Throughout your case study, there should be a story that unfolds. This story will consist of introducing your customer, hearing about their problem and having it solved by your product. This is a realistic and relatable way to show customers the benefits and value of your offering and what it can bring.
Extending the storyline and pushing it past the happy quotes, this is what is going to push prospects to buy. Prospects want to know the full journey, they need a context that explains the reasons for the raving review. Explaining the problems, its impact on the client's business and the process that the customer went through from their point of view will allow the reader to relate to the happy customer.
Within the customer's story the relevance and impact of the solution needs to be brought to life. Customers aren't going to be able to relate to a list of features, they are more likely to be able to relate to a customer like them by seeing their problems solved with the features that your product offers. Alter and develop the storyline to showcase the benefits that your product provides.
There is no point trying to persuade a customer to buy from you when you give them no evidence to back up your claims. Weaving in examples of work your brand has done throughout the case study will back up the points being made. Case studies include the word of the customer, but supporting their comments with evidence from your work will reassure the reader about the claims being made.
By including data and analysis in your case study you add value and credibility to the material. It also gives a potential buyer more confidence in you as a solutions provider and builds trust and credibility. Many customers will come to you in the hopes they can achieve similar results, so make sure case studies put your best foot forward.
Power of social proof
The way customers relate to other customers far surpasses the effect words from a marketer can have on anyone. Case studies outline the buyer's journey from their own perspective, this gives customers the reassurance and confidence that other marketing effort wouldn’t achieve. People copy what they see other people doing, why not take advantage of that and showcase case studies of people buying your product?
Transparency within the case study will help the reader to relate more to the character in the story. Presenting minor details that will build up a case for your product would be beneficial. Throughout the buyer's journey including the options that the customer explored but later dismissed would make the story have more credibility.
Case studies are a good way to boost your SEO ranking. The storytelling nature makes it easy to intertwine keywords that are related to your product – this will make your website rank higher in Google searches that contain some of the keywords. Consistently updating and adding new content to the case studies page will maintain your ranking in searches as google will recognise the new and consistent content.
The more you update your case study database the more you'll get from it. Adding more content to your website that is relevant to your product will reinforce to google that you are relevant in your field. These measures all help improve your rank on Google.
Use them to close
Case studies are not only a marketing tool but a very powerful sales tool as well. In the early stages of relationship-building, the sales team can reinforce the solution they're putting forward by including a link to the case study to reassure the prospect.
Case studies are unlike any other marketing technique. They tell a story where your business and solutions are the main character and your clients reinforce your authority in your market. They can be used to attract new prospects, place your business at the forefront of viable options, and even close decision-makers and win new business.
With word-of-mouth as important as ever, it is beneficial to optimise this tool in many different forms. From reviews to testimonials, case studies to referrals, leveraging the voice of the customer can prove to be an untapped sales and marketing resource of the highest value. Case studies give the customer more of a story and provide more influence than testimonials alone – one form of word-of-mouth isn't enough, optimise as many as you can.
Case studies might be overwhelming to think about, especially when you don't know where to start. And that's where we come in to help.
We've put together a free case study template to help you get started. It includes the questions you can ask the customer, and yourself to unravel the story behind your success. Remember to follow the three points below for a captivating case study:
- What was the customer's pre-existing situation?
- Why was this no longer acceptable?
- Where did they go for solutions?
- Which solution was the best?
- Why was it so well suited?
- Why was your business instrumental to success?
- Is the customer happy (in their own words)?
- What did your business like about the solution?
- What data exists to show the positive impact of your solution?
- Did you fix the initial pain point?
Get started creating your own case studies by downloading our free template below.
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