The marketing world gets more complex day by day. When you’re trying to stand out from the crowd and attract more B2B clients for your services, case studies provide a perfect marketing vehicle for your efforts. At its most basic, a case study explains how a current customer used your products or services to overcome a specific problem or enhanced their business. This provides B2B customers with proven, real world, practical solutions that your products solve. Instead of you tooting your own horn in your marketing material, a third party is explaining that your advertising is more than just hype. Effective case studies are more involved than writing a standard brochure or fact sheet for your business, but the return on investment is well worth the time it takes.
Choosing a Subject
Send out a survey to your current customers, post messages on your business’ social network profile, or invite specific companies to share their story with you. Try to get small, medium, and large sized businesses to respond so you have material for case studies that appeal to a business of any size. Once you find a business willing to help you with your case study, gather the following pieces of information:
- What problem did the business face?
- What product did they use to solve that problem?
- How did they use that product?
- Is there statistical data available for tangible benefits of the product implementation?
- What was the return on investment for using the product?
This information forms the basis of your case study. Gather as much data as possible from the company, especially any hard facts and statistics they are willing to provide. If possible, offer an incentive to the company to encourage participation in the information gathering, whether that’s a discount on future orders or early sneak peaks of your latest products.
Formatting the Case Study
Case studies don’t have an industry standard format they need to adhere to. You want to keep the case study relatively short compared to a white paper, since you’re focusing on a single client or group experience. Use bullet points and subheadings to organize the information and make it as readable as possible. Strive for a paper that shows off the most important points, such as return on investment numbers, at a glance. Pull quotes for major facts and statistics work well with case studies.
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Engage your audience by presenting the case study as a story. Start off by explaining who the company is, how they became your customer, what problems they needed solutions for, the products they selected, the end results, and an overview of how that specific solution benefited the client. Case studies don’t need to be dry pieces of technical or research information. Gain emotional investment from your potential clients with anecdotes and other personalization techniques.
Adapt the size of the case study to the medium that you’re publishing it in. For web based readers, keep in mind that the average attention span of an Internet user is much lower than someone looking at a physical copy of the case study. You can, however, incorporate supplemental media such as an effective video presentation. For Power Point presentations, divide your case study into a few key points per slide, and try to keep it under 10 slides.
Call to Action
Don’t forget to set an ultimate goal for your case study. Do you want potential clients to go to your e-commerce store, stop in your physical storefront, or call you to discuss customized solutions for their business problems? Include a clear call to action within the case study so you don’t put in all of that information and fall to convert readers into clients.