If you’re not using case studies yet, what are you waiting for?
According to The 2015 B2B Small Business Marketing Report from The Content Marketing Institute, case studies, also known as customer success stories, rank among the top five content marketing tactics for B2B companies.
How do these stories work their magic?
The Power of Credibility
When you’re on the road and get a hankering for pad Thai, you don’t have time to waste. You go to Google or Yelp to search up locations and reviews. And the reviews rule. All the hotel lobby coupons in the world won’t distract you from Bob’s two stars and Linda’s “barf” regarding the Thai Pit on Main Street.
But Melanie’s five-star, gushing celebration of the transcendent noodles at Bangkok Heaven? There’s power in Melanie’s voice, even if you’ve never met her. You believe her words because she speaks from experience.
If a three-sentence review can get you to choose a restaurant in less than thirty seconds, how much more can a 1-2 page customer success story influence a prospect to convert to your biz’s product or service?
Biz owners and purchasers don’t have time to personally research and experience all the options available to them. A case study vets a product or service, building a sense of safety and security through the story and voice of an actual human being.
The Power of Story
A case study is often called a customer success story because it’s a story in every sense of the word. Remember the plot graph from high school English?
Prospects read some exposition (background) on the protagonist (customer) who faces a conflict (business challenge), works through rising action (implementing your biz’s solution), experiences the climax (your biz saving the day), and, as a resolution, lives happily ever after with future plans for success.
There’s a reason the story structure has captured the human imagination–through movies, novels, and oral histories– for millennia. Unlike testimonial quotes, story has visceral human power. It helps an audience identify with a character, visualizing the experience and feeling the same emotions. Naturally, the prospect then imagines him or herself riding off with the same knight in shining armor: in this case, your biz.
The Power of Information
Identifying with another happy customer builds credibility and and emotional connection. But case studies aren’t just touchy-feely tales. They’re data powerhouses, too.
A good case study showcases specific outcomes in the form of solid statistics, often with powerful graphic representations that draw the eye while providing logical validation for choosing your biz’s product or service. It’s hard to argue with numbers that show how your company saved another company serious time and money.
The Power of Versatility
Case studies are content workhorses. When optimized for SEO, they’ll draw countless prospects in the research phase–exactly where you want them–to your site.
You can also highlight case studies regularly in blog posts, repurpose them as press releases, distribute them in print at biz conventions, and use them in e-newsletters and direct marketing materials. And the more case studies you create from a variety of prospects’ perspectives and experiences, the greater the audience you’ll reach.
A case study, like a good friend, is forever. Anchoring your site with these compelling stories will reap returns well beyond your initial investment for years to come.
Pad thai, of course, is important. Your biz? Much more so. Now is the time to harness the power of human connection for your own B2B sales success.
By: Tania Runyan