You know that your company has a great product or service to offer. How can you convince other businesses that your company’s product or service is worth investing in? One option is to invest in traditional advertising, flooding the market with commercials and print ads. Another option that might be more effective is to produce case studies that highlight the experiences other businesses have had with your company. B2B content marketing case studies combine the best of both worlds when it comes to establishing trust with potential new customers.
A Nielsen survey found that 70 percent of people trust the content they find on a brand’s website, and 66 percent of people trust the opinions of others posted on online. Cases studies are a mixture of both. They appear on your brand’s website and reveal the experiences and opinions of your company’s customers.
What Are B2B Content Marketing Case Studies?
Carnegie Mellon University defines case studies as stories. According to the university’s Eberly Center, case studies:
Present realistic, complex, and contextually rich situations, and often involve a dilemma, conflict, or problem that one or more of the characters in the case must negotiate.
In other words, case studies are dramas that can and should keep a reader or viewer on the edge of their seat. At the end of the case study, the brand should have swooped in like a hero to save the day.
B2B content marketing case studies give a brand a chance to demonstrate how its products or services helped a customer solve a problem. Case studies need to be drawn from real-life and real-world experiences, otherwise they will ring hollow.
Why Do Marketers Use Case Studies?
According to research from the Content Marketing Institute, case studies are the second most commonly used B2B content marketing format. Around three quarters of B2B content marketers use case studies.
Why? Well, for one thing, case studies can be exciting. They present a problem, show the struggles the company with the problem experiences, then have a tidy resolution during which the brand solves the problem.
A well-crafted case study should be convincing enough to make the company that’s reading it or looking at it say, “Hey, that’s exactly what we need!”
B2B content marketing case studies have a reputation for being effective. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s research, nearly half of all marketers rank case studies as one of the top three most successful formats.
B2B content marketing case studies are also pretty flexible. You aren’t stuck with one format when you create a case study. In fact, you can spin a case study off into multiple formats. For example, you can create a video case study during which an interview subject shares their story. You can also produce a written case story in the form of a blog post or, in the case of longer length case studies, an ebook.
What Makes a B2B Content Marketing Case Study Great?
When you’re creating content marketing case studies, perhaps the most important thing is that you create something that other businesses (and the people who work for them) want to engage with. A few features separate a great case study from one that’s ho-hum:
The right sample.
The sample or customer you choose to highlight in a case study should be a business potential customers can relate to. For example, if you’re targeting medical practices, you’ll want to tell the story of another medical practice. You want potential customers to see themselves in the sample customer. They would be more likely to take action and believe that your brand can solve their problem.
A compelling story.
People love stories. A case study should tell an engaging story, one that has a beginning, middle, and end, and some sort of resolution.
Facts and figures.
While a great story might get and keep people’s interest, concrete data in the form of facts and figures will help to convince them that what your business has to offer is the real deal. Don’t just say that your company helped Customer A increase sales — show the numbers that back up that claim.
Make your case studies easy to read, or, if you’re creating video or visual case studies, easy to digest. Use headers and images to break up text, and keep your sentences short. You can draw attention to data and figures with bulleted lists or graphics.
Call to action.
A potential customer has just looked at your case study. They’re interested — but now what? Be sure to include a call to action (CTA) that tells potential customers exactly what they can do next to learn more about your company or to get in touch.
Google has produced several content marketing case studies highlighting how brands have used YouTube to reach customers and improve sales. The case studies feature bulleted data points, the occasional pull quote, graphics, and videos. There are calls to action in the case studies, encouraging viewers to subscribe to get more news and info from Google.
How to Create Your Own B2B Content Marketing Case Study
Ready to get started creating your own B2B content marketing case studies? Here’s what to do, step by step.
Find your customer.
This first step might be the most challenging. First things first, look for customers who are similar to the businesses you’re trying to connect with.
Next, look for customers who have worked with your company for a while and really know what you offer. You also want to find customers who have had some sort of dramatic result or change in their business because of their connection to you.
It can be helpful to create a case study about a customer that has some name recognition. If you’ve delivered great results to a well-known company, other businesses are likely to be more inclined to work with you.
Finally, get permission from the potential case study subject to use their story before you do anything else.
Interview your customer.
You need to get the facts, and the best way to do that is to interview your customers. A few things to focus on when putting together your questions are:
- How did your brand’s products help the customer (ask for data and numbers)?
- What did they try before?
- Was there something that made your brand stand out from competitors?
- What are the details of the customer’s business (how big is it, what does it do, etc.)?
Put the case study together
Once you’ve got the details from your subject, it’s time to assemble the case study. Choose a catchy title, describe the company that is the subject of the study, then lay out the story.
You can use headers to break up the details of the story into easy-to-scan chunks, such as “About the Customer,” “Challenges,” “Options,” “Solutions,” and “Results.”
Publish and promote the case study
Once your case study is created, it’s time to publish it on your website, then spread the word. You can use social media posts to promote the case study, as well as email marketing, blog posts, and landing pages.
When it comes to finding new customers for your brand, you want to show them why you’re the best company for them. Case studies let you do that by highlighting how you’ve solved other company’s problems.