This post was originally published by the Content Marketing Institute.
According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing 2012 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends Report, 70 percent of B2B marketers find case studies to be an effective content marketing tool. That’s because they can increase customer confidence in your organization, educate prospects on how to solve their challenges, and provide social proof that your solutions are valuable.
However, many marketers often put case studies on the back burner while they pursue sexier marketing strategies. Putting off your case study development isn’t a good idea, because you may find yourself with new products or services and not enough proof that they provide ROI.
Here are three ways that you can get your marketing back on track and create compelling case studies that excite and influence your potential customers:
1. Use photos and videos
Multimedia can make your case studies more engaging and give you a way to connect with auditory and visual learners. Here are some ways that you can incorporate multimedia into your case studies:
- Add photos and charts to punch up your written case studies.
- Film video case studies and use them throughout your marketing.
- Create a video and text version of the same case study. Developing content in multiple formats will get your message across to a wider audience.
2. Don’t write case studies from your own perspective
One of the biggest challenges in developing case studies is getting detailed interviews from your customers. You may get frustrated trying to coordinate interviews, or your customers may tell you to “just write something” and they’ll approve it. However, if your case studies don’t contain quotes from your customers, they won’t be as effective or credible. Plus, your readers will be able to tell when you’ve written a case study from your own perspective.
When you take the time to get a detailed interview from your customer, you may be pleasantly surprised by the great things they say. If you have a hard time scheduling interviews, try using scheduling software that allows your customers to pick the best time. If you have trouble getting compelling quotes, be sure to ask your customers a range of questions that take them through their entire story — from the problems they faced before they started working with you to how they implemented your solution to the ROI that they achieved.
3. Create dual case studies/“how-to” articles
A great way to turn case studies into content marketing tools that will educate and inform your audience is to sprinkle in “how-to” tips. “How-to” tips can work nicely in the implementation part of a case study. Instead of just explaining how your customer implemented your solution, offer advice on how others can do the same. Here are some questions to ask during your interviews if you want your case studies to also function as “how to” articles:
- What steps should someone take to implement this solution?
- What should someone know before starting this process?
- What top five things should someone consider before purchasing a similar solution?
- What can someone learn from this process?
Also, remember to create case studies for all of your solutions and verticals. When a prospect reads a case study, they often like to envision themselves in the role of your happy customer. To make their visualization process easier, you should develop case studies for as many of your customers and solutions as possible. Go through all of your products, services and verticals and see where you are missing proof points. Then, make a list of customers in each area who may provide you with case studies.
What about you?
In your opinion, what makes a case study compelling? Feel free to share your thoughts below.