When prospects are considering your company, a compelling case study could be exactly what they need to have full confidence in purchasing your product. Case studies are success stories that create a visual of the results of working with your company for prospective clients. A great case study can boost customer confidence in your business by providing a path to a solution, educating prospective customers on how they can solve their own problems with your help.
CASE STUDIES, THEY WORK
In a 2015 study by B2B Marketing more than half (55%) of the 112 marketers surveyed found case studies to be the single most effective content format. Two-thirds of the respondents (66%) stated that the case studies were “very effective” at driving leads and sales. The 2016 B2B Content Marketing study by the Content Marketing Institute found that case studies were in the top for respondents in both popularity and effectiveness with 82% of companies surveyed using case studies and 65% of respondents rating them as effective.
CHOOSING A STORY AND CASTING IT
Case studies provide evidence that your solutions are viable and bring value for clients, but they must be presented in a compelling way to gain any traction with prospects. Telling a success story that focuses on the prospects’ needs will resonate the best with your potential customers. When picking the client story to highlight in a case study, consider what challenges your potential customers are facing and how you have addressed similar issues for clients in the past. Focus on telling a story that prospects will be able to relate to and apply to their own specific needs and goals whether that is lead generation, cost reductions, revenue growth, etc..
After choosing which client story to feature in the case study, you have to cast your story with a protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters. The first one is easy; the client is always the hero/protagonist. Your clients purchase your product or service to help them solve a specific problem they are facing. The client is the real hero of the story who has some sort of obstacle they are facing (the antagonist) that they need to overcome. Your company is a supporting character, the helping hand that assisted your client in their journey to achieve their objective. By casting the client as the protagonist, the reader will be able to relate to the problems of the main character and see themselves addressing problems and achieving their own goals with the aid of your product or service.
TELLING YOUR SUCCESS STORY
Effective stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Case studies too must be self-contained stories that introduce the main character, explain the problems they face and how they addressed them with your help, and the outcomes of the solution. The introduction of the client and their most pressing challenges should be concise, so that the reader can understand the situation and get to the action items quickly. When delving into the solution, it is important to be specific. If your company is too vague in this section of the case study, it is hard for the prospects to visualize how they could use your company’s help to overcome their own challenges.
The final section of the case study should highlight the results of the client’s actions. These are best expressed using customer testimonials and key performance indicators that were improved. Direct quotes from your client provide further validation and credibility for your product or service, allowing prospects to hear from those who have benefited from the use of them. The case study is a story, but the story needs to be backed by cold hard data to accompany the compelling narrative. Including the specific metrics measuring the client’s success adds credibility and shows evidence supporting the effectiveness of the solutions the client employed with the help of your business.
CASE STUDY IN ACTION
In a case study by content marketing company, Contently, the story of their client, Weebly, is presented in a clear, concise, and impactful way. Starting with the headline, How Weebly Saved “a Million” Hours on Content Production and Achieved a 3x ROI, Contently has made its client the clear protagonist and highlighted their results. Before delving into the problems that Weebly was facing, Contently introduced the protagonist and their situation in the text after the headline. This gives the readers an idea of who the hero is and the context the client is operating in.
After the introduction, Weebly’s challenge is explained through direct quotes from the client. This is effective in presenting the problem that other prospective customers might be facing from someone that they can relate to. The solution portion of the case study is specific, explaining what Weebly did in conjunction with Contently and uses client quotes to reinforce the value of Contently’s help. The results section employs infographics to allow the reader to grasp the effects on key performance metrics, breaking up the text and allowing the reader to absorb information in a visual manner. The case study is concluded with the action step of requesting a demo. This sets up Contently to effectively convert prospects into customers; the true purpose of a case study.
Case studies are an effective way to attest the value of your product or service in addressing the needs of your potential customers. They should tell a success story that is compelling, relatable, and highlights real results achieved by clients. When done right, case studies have the ability to sway purchase decisions and convince prospects that doing business with you is a great idea.
Ready to tell the story of your company? Tap into the power of story to create impactful content with marketing strategy and content execution company, Magic Flight Studios, here.