So you’ve decided to write a case study…
Smart move. Studies show that nearly 90% of consumers refer to online reviews (i.e., case studies) during their buying process.
But what’s your next step?
The key to an effective case study is profiling the right client.
Here are five things to consider when evaluating clients in order to make your case studies stand out.
One of the most important aspects to consider for a case study client is to select a customer with expansive product knowledge.
Imagine picking a client that’s only used your product/service for a short time and is still learning how to even use it in their business. That client may be able to provide you with a couple good lines of the short-term benefits they’ve experienced, but it’s unlikely they’ll be able to discuss the impact in detail.
As a result, prospects who view the case won’t find the case study very impactful and would rather hear from a current customer who can speak to the ins-and-outs of your product/service. Find an experienced client who truly knows the value your business has provided for them!
In a case study, the one area that stands out more than any other is when a client can point to tangible data and impactful results.
For example, you have two clients to choose from….
One client claims to have seen great benefit from choosing the product. Efficiency is up, production is up and costs are down.
The other client also has seen great benefit from choosing your product or service. Efficiency is up by 20%, the client is 30% more productive and they’ve saved more than $10,000 a year.
Both clients may very well have experienced the same changes, but which one would be more impactful to the reader?
Always choose a client able to produce metrics that help prove all of the value props your company advertises. There’s no better evidence.
Ideally, you would have a variety of clients to choose from for a case study. Eventually, you’ll get to all of them, but what client would have the most impact? Another aspect to consider is name recognition.
Small business case studies certainly can have an impact on prospects, especially if they have the expansive product knowledge and tangible data we’ve discussed earlier in this post. However, sometimes nothing can surpass the name recognition that comes with some clients.
Case studies about larger companies or businesses with more clout in the area will often establish more credibility for your business. If prospects trust that business — and see how it’s benefited from your products or services — that trust will likely carry over to your business as well.
If you’re just starting out on creating case studies, you’re not in a position to be selective. However, if you’ve established a group of case studies, consider client variety for future case studies.
Case studies, as a whole, lose their impact if all of the case studies profiled clients that are very similar — whether it’s a specific product or business type. Prospects ultimately want to see a case study from another business similar to theirs in some capacity.
By profiling a variety of different clients, not only do you show how your company can benefits so many different types of businesses, but you’re also less likely to turn a prospect off by not having a case study that matches with their needs or situation.
Switched From a Competitor
Creating a case study from a client that’s switched from a competitor is another great way to produce an effective case study.
If your company plans on reaching out to a competitor’s clients, these types of case studies are practically a necessity. Nothing conveys your company’s competitive advantage in the industry more than marketing a client’s success story after switching to your business from a competitor.
Including these types of case studies in your campaigns will help catch the attention of prospects, especially those from the same competitor.
Ok, it’s not like case studies are some big secret. But in a content marketing world full of blog posts, infographics and more blog posts, sometimes case studies get lost in the shuffle.
And they shouldn’t.
88% of consumers incorporate online reviews into the buying process
92% of consumers now read online reviews
63% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a site which user reviews
Online research — and the opinion of those who have used a company’s products or services — can significantly impact a customer’s ultimate buying decision.
Clearly there is a need for case studies in a content marketing strategy, but how does a company get the most out of them?
Here are three tips on how to produce effective case studies.
Easily digestible information
Ideally, a case study helps to prove all of the lofty value props and benefits a company claims in all of its marketing and sales content.
The worst mistake a marketer can make is to inadvertently hide this data, reducing the overall impact of the customer’s testimony. Ensure the most impactful information from the case study is both easily visible and digestible for the reader.
What are some ways to accomplish this?
Place the data in a sidebar — The data can be included throughout the case study, but make sure to highlight the data in a sidebar. This keeps the impactful data separated and will make it more visible, especially to readers who tend to skim rather than pour over every detail.
Be straightforward with the data — Do not make the mistake of “beating around the bush” when it comes to the important metrics from the client. This example is from The Kapost Blog:
By using our product, company XYZ was able to significantly increase customer retention rates
Over a three-month period of using our product, Company XYZ doubled their 34% customer retention rate to over 70%
Which one sounds more impactful? Be specific and straightforward and the data will jump off
the page, more likely to produce results.
Pull from a wide variety of clients
No two clients are the same and neither should be case studies.
When putting together a case study strategy or reaching out to clients, make sure to pull from a wide variety of customers. This ensures that there are case studies available for more kinds of clients and specific products.
If a potential client came across a company’s case studies, but was unable to find one that was similar to their business or need, it’s hard to imagine that prospect would stick around long enough to find out the benefit the company could provide.
On the other hand, a case study that matches well with a prospect’s current situation will make a significant impression on the prospect that provides a strong foundation for future conversations about the company or product.
Creating case studies about different products or from a variety of clients is the best way to minimize any potential missed opportunities.
Distribute on the website
Distribution is always crucial to the effectiveness of content marketing. Case studies present a number of distribution opportunities for a company, especially on their own website.
Feature on the home page — What’s more straightforward than a case study on the home page of the website? Premium placement on the front of the website ensures that a satisfied client is one of the first things a website visitor sees.
Dedicated case studies page — As long as the page is easy to find for website visitors, placing case studies all in the same place allows the visitor to see all of the different kinds of clients that have benefited from the company’s product or service.
Videos — Not only does an effective case study video add quality and substance to a website, it provides a different perspective for prospects when seeking out a case study. It never hurts for a prospect to hear the client’s story from the client itself.
Case studies are an effective way to convey a client’s story and showcase how a company or product can bring great benefit or value. These three tips will help increase conversion rates and maximize their visibility and impact.
Content marketing has become one of the most effective ways to reach potential clients, generating three times as many leads while costing 62 percent less than traditional outbound marketing.
One form of content marketing that’s become very popular for businesses is blogging. Maintaining a corporate blog is almost essential any company these days.
Despite the importance of blogging, companies are still struggling to figure out how to maximize its impact. Here are three of the most common blogging mistakes companies make and how you can make sure to avoid them.
1. Inconsistent blog contributions
Consistency matters a lot in content marketing and blogging.
A consistent approach to blogging helps foster a more trustworthy relationship between the client and company. A study conducted by McKinsey & Company of 27,000 Americans discovered “a consistent customer experience across the entire customer journey increases customer satisfaction, loyalty and trust.”
So what’s the magic number in how often a company should blog?
HubSpot found that companies who posted 16 or more times per month (roughly once every two days) received almost 3.5X more website traffic than companies that posted 0-4 times per month.
Consistency may not sound sexy, but it could make the difference in setting your company apart from its competitors.
2. Too much focus on the company
Promotional content is appropriate in certain scenarios, but rarely should it appear in a company blog. Unfortunately, many businesses do just that. They fill their blog with only heavy promotional content and it becomes an extension of the company brochure rather than a vessel to establish the company as a thought leader in the industry.
Instead of speaking solely on the company’s specific products or services, use the blog to discuss hot-button industry topics.
Weave the value proposition of your product into blog posts about big-picture issues. This will help point prospects to your product without being too pushy and in their face. By taking this approach, your blog will become much more credible, and as a result, prospects will view your company as knowledgeable and trustworthy.
3. Ignoring blog content promotion
Distributing blog posts is just as important to a company’s content marketing strategy as creating the actual blog posts themselves
If a company fails to promote and distribute blog posts after they’re written, will anyone see them? Those blog posts aren’t going to promote themselves! Subscribers to the blog will likely catch the new post, but the potential audience will be dramatically reduced.
Once the blog post is written and posted on the website, the hard work is far from over. Whether it’s through an email blast or exhausting every single corporate social media account, the key to generating traffic — and potential leads — lies in promoting the blog content.
For starters, try Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ for your social media promotion. Not only does this promote your blog content to the masses, but it gives your company an opportunity to engage with readers and potential clients.
Promotion may seem like a simple task, but it’s often one that either is overlooked or undervalued by companies.