May 25, 2022
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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