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May 25, 2022

Crafting B2B Case Studies that Support Your Value Proposition

By Chantel Hall, Marketing Content Specialist

Case studies, which highlight the results of a business' work for one of their clients, can be an effective tool for both marketing and sales. When written and utilized effectively, they can help you demonstrate what your value proposition looks like in action and demonstrate the outcomes you provide for clients.

39% of marketers said case studies produced the best results of all their content assets

-Content Marketing Institute

 

In fact, 73% of the most successful content marketers use case studies, and 39% of marketers said case studies produced the best results of all their content assets.1 Case studies are also cost-effective, high-impact marketing assets that are highly buyer-focused and uniquely demonstrate value.

But simply writing about work you've done for a client isn't enough; you need to ensure you're focusing on your buyers and their pain points to develop the most compelling case studies possible.

Take a look at how Ironpaper uses B2B case studies to communicate the outcomes we create for our clients.

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Focus case studies on outcomes you provide for clients

Case studies show prospects and clients what you have accomplished for others — the key word being "accomplished." While case studies typically include some information about your team's work, they should be primarily focused on the outcomes for your clients and communicate it through statistics, before-and-after comparisons, and client quotes.

Ultimately, you should use knowledge about your buyer to create case studies that appeal to them and demonstrate that you can help them address their pain points and reach their goals.

Developing B2B case studies is a great project to involve sales in. They can provide insight into what value propositions and outcomes they employ to convert leads and even which clients would be a strong subject for a case study. Their insight into the bottom of the funnel will help you develop case studies that help you attract and convert the right audience.

Finally, align your case studies with your overall marketing messaging so they can be utilized alongside other content assets during the marketing/sales process. Messaging around your case studies should allow marketing and sales to slot them in with other assets in nurturing emails, newsletters, and possibly ebooks and blog posts. Overall, they should support your messaging and show your value proposition in action.

Write case studies to appeal to all buying groups

While it might be tempting only to write case studies about the biggest, flashiest projects, you should create a bank of case studies that speak to the unique groups included in your target audience.

For example, writing all of your case studies on outcomes you created for enterprise clients can demonstrate your ability to deliver results for large companies. But, if you're using those case studies when marketing to small businesses, it may leave them wondering if your business would even take them on as a client.

You should also create case studies that speak to different segments of your target audience. For example, if nonprofits are part of your target market, case studies focused on large, expensive projects won't speak to them. Case studies focused on outcomes you can create with limited budgets or unique solutions you've built for other nonprofits will show them what outcomes you can realistically deliver for their unique business model.

Developing individual case studies that speak to different segments of your target audience and represent the range of businesses you serve will help you equip your marketing and sales teams with content that attracts and converts leads who match all of your buyer personas.

Develop case studies in different formats

Case studies can be created and shared in many different formats, and utilizing different formats allows you to account for different leads' preferences and interests. Once you've done the work of developing the case study, you can adapt it into other formats.

  • Video case studies: Video is an increasingly popular medium because it generates engagement and interest. Sixty-nine percent of marketers estimated that video would be one of the top investment areas in 2022.1 Video case studies can be shared on social media, your website, and nurturing emails and newsletters.
  • Website case studies: Case studies hosted on your website can work overtime for you, providing both an engaging marketing asset and an opportunity for SEO optimization and lead generation. Including a form on your case study page can encourage interested leads to convert once they've seen an example of the outcomes your business can deliver.
  • Standalone PDF case studies: Case studies formatted in a standalone PDF can be used in various ways and accommodate buyers who share information among their buying group. Thirty-seven percent of buyers share case studies with their colleagues on a buying committee, and 66% prefer to share business-related content through email.2

Utilize B2B case studies throughout the sales and marketing process

Case studies help you build credibility and trust with leads, which is critical to a successful B2B sales process. You can use them throughout the marketing and sales process and in different formats to encourage leads.

Awareness-level case studies

At the top of the funnel, case studies can educate leads on their pain points and potential solutions. Case studies that get to the heart of what is causing an issue and show a positive outcome will help you attract leads who are still developing awareness about solutions.

Consideration-level case studies

In the middle of the funnel, case studies can help you plant your company in a lead's mind as a potential solution. Retargeting them with ads or nurture emails that include case studies related to the pain point they're interested in solving can bring them back to your website.

Decision-level case studies

During the decision phase, they can set your company apart from the competition and demonstrate the value leads will get when working with you. It's beneficial here to have case studies that speak to individual industries, pain points, company sizes, and product or service lines to show prospects what you've accomplished for companies like theirs.

You can even use case studies for upselling and engaging current clients. Whether you're pitching them a new service or showing them a new use case for a product they're already using, case studies can encourage them to take action.

Don't let your B2B case studies gather dust on a shelf

Writing case studies can be a lot of work and require collaborating with service teams and clients. Once you've put the work into developing case studies, look for new and engaging ways to use them, make sure you're updating them and adding new case studies, and encourage sales and marketing to use them in relationship building and creating trust with leads.

Sources

1Content Marketing Institute, 12th Annual Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends: Insights for 2022,  2022

2Demand Gen Report, Content Preferences Survey Report, 2021

HubSpot, 16 Important Ways to Use Case Studies in Your Marketing, September 8, 2020

Credo, The Value of Case Studies in B2B Marketing, August 18, 2021

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Grow your B2B business boldly. Ironpaper is a B2B marketing agency. We build growth engines for marketing and sales success. We power demand generation campaigns, ABM programs, create B2B content, strengthen sales enablement, and improve B2B marketing efforts.

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