When it comes to closing deals, 70 percent of B2B marketers, according to the Content Marketing Institute, find case studies to be a critical tool. Why? Case studies provide social proof that business solutions don’t just sound good, but that they work.
Clearly, case studies are important for your small business, because you’re using your client’s words to tell your story. They address roadblocks to your deal — cost, experience, quality, etc. — and reflect your client’s satisfaction to remove these barriers for you.
Most importantly, case studies help drive internal consensus, decrease decision-making friction and close the deal. So, why are so few businesses using case studies in their marketing mix?
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Many small businesses continue to put case studies on the back burner because asking clients for testimonials or permission to use their story can be downright uncomfortable. Once the customer does agree, however, crafting the case study can still be a challenge. By comparison, publishing another company blog can seem a lot easier!
If you keep ignoring case studies, though, you’ll continue to struggle with the final stage in the sales process. Remember, different pieces of content fit into various parts of the sales cycle: White papers are ideal for educating prospects about your services and framing business problems in your favor. Responsive email marketing campaigns can help move your leads through the sales process, keeping them engaged as they consider different options.
But once it’s time to close the deal, there’s nothing stronger than the words of a satisfied client assuaging fears and reassuring your lead that your business is the right choice. So, stop procrastinating. Here’s how to get started crafting compelling case studies that close more sales:
1. Select the right clients.
It’s a given that you’ll want to choose clients with exemplary results. Perhaps you executed a robust project under budget and ahead of schedule. Or maybe you completely turned around a customer’s business with a few simple, low-cost solutions.
While it’s great to get a solid testimonial from a big-name client, a compelling story and glowing review from a lesser-known business could ultimately be more valuable for your company. Finally, remember that variety is the spice of life. Opt for case studies that cover a range of industries, problems and solutions.
2. Convert; don’t bore.
The same best practices that apply to blogs, white papers and emails also apply to case studies. Keep them simple and interesting, and keep driving the action! Most case studies follow a straightforward problem, action/result format. There’s no need to get overly creative here. Just be sure to customize subheads to match your industry.
For example, the Portland, Oregon-based real estate merchant bank SKB uses a similar format with its case studies, labeling the different sections “the opportunity,” “the response” and “the targeted result.” SKB wisely includes bullet points to break up the copy. There’s also a sidebar “overview” that instantly conveys all the essential details, so anyone who skims the site will quickly pick up the highlights.
3. Boost your credibility and engagement with video.
What’s stronger than reading about a happy client? Hearing those words come straight from the client’s mouth. Video content marketing is having a huge moment, and there’s no better way to embrace the power of video than to use it in your case studies.
Video is also an ideal format for keeping leads engaged with more complex topics. For example, SAP uses a video case study to explain how the company provides data management solutions that power Meteo Protect, a company offering index-based weather insurance.
(Yes, you read that correctly: Check out the fascinating case study here.) Underwriting policies for index-based weather insurance is a complex and highly specific topic. The video case studies simplify many of these complexities so leads can better understand just how powerful, flexible and adaptable SAP’s solutions truly are.