Documenting successful projects and sharing them can be helpful for any business. That’s why B2B case studies are so important for both selling and content marketing.
Case studies are stories that describe successful customer relationships, about how your company managed to correctly identify your clients’ problems, proposed solutions, and finally how you solved these problems. Case studies can be very efficient because they prove your product is working for your customers with claims backed by their own words. This is the power case studies can have, a potential of immense and long-term benefit for any business or startup.
Why Case Studies Matter?
Case studies are an essential currency in B2B. They tell a story of what a great job you did for one of your customers, so prospective customers understand you can do the same for them. Prospects must see themselves in your examples and messaging, the examples must be relatable, they should see the real value that your company can provide. B2B case studies are good for quickly building credibility. The important thing is that they reflect the worldview of your prospects and buyers.
What are the Major Benefits of B2B Case Studies?
Case studies have many benefits. The stories are backed up by testimonials coming from real people, real customers whose work has been improved by your product. When a claim is backed up by real stories, it becomes a fact and that is very compelling to potential clients. Furthermore, case studies can be used in many ways: on your website, on social media, for PR and marketing purposes, for ads, presentations, and in your newsletters.
How to Find the Right Customers for Case Studies
In order to select the right customers for a case study, there are a few things to consider: your target audience, the story, their experience, and how long they’ve been customers. Always keep in mind who your ideal customers are to increase the likelihood of attracting the right audience. Featuring customers with recognizable names can also a good idea but, for that to work, they have to be companies your ideal customers respect and want to emulate.
You want to look for customers who have achieved exceptional results, or who got a significant return on their investment using your product. Their experience has to be positive and their words about the value they got from your product have to be true and genuine. This is why customers who have been with you for some time generally make the best candidates.
Customers that switched over from a competitor can also be good candidates. They’ll be able to highlight your competitive advantages and the ease of switching over from another vendor.
How to Motivate Customers to Participate in Case Studies
Melanie Crissey, former product marketer at FullStory, recommends working in case study discounts in contract renewals. Offering discounts for participation in case studies might be a good motivation for your customers. Make sure to select customers who have good product knowledge, have used your product for a long time or use it extensively. This will ensure that the information they provide is clear, detailed, and relatable for other customers.
What Questions to Ask to Create an Effective B2B Case Studies
The best way to interview your customers is in person. This way, you will build a better connection and get the best results. Be friendly, ask open questions and initiate a free conversation. Make sure to have a list of questions prepared ahead of time.
Here are a few questions you can ask to get meaningful answers:
- Tell me a little bit about your company, and what do you do there?
- What challenges did you face before coming to us?
- What solutions were you considering?
- What eventually made you decide to choose our product? Why?
- When did you start noticing the first results?
- How did our product impact your business operations?
- What do you enjoy the most about our product?
- Can you share any specific benefits of using our product?
- What would you tell other organizations considering our product?
How to Write Great B2B Case Studies
A reasonable length for a case study is around 500 words. It has to be short and easy to understand, while still being written well and captivating. You want to make sure your case study has a logical flow and tells the story from start to finish. A great case study allows readers to really get to know your customer. You’ll want to explain the problem, introduce their company/product, describe how the challenge was overcome, and sum it up, giving it a happy ending.
You should include real numbers and measurable results. Talk about the specific strategies used, and quote your customer in their own words. Your goal is to make sure your prospects identify with your current customers.
Consider sharing the draft of your case study with the customer before publishing. This will allow them to fact-check it and they might add some more valuable information along the way.
How to Use the Case Study
There are many ways to maximize the use of your case studies. The most obvious one is to feature your case study on the homepage of your website, or a dedicated landing page. Make sure visitors don’t have to look for it and that it’s highly visible. B2B case studies can also make great blog posts too, so you can put a quote from the case study on the main page and add a link to the full case study.
You can also create a PDF/Download version of your case study or include it in a newsletter to nurture leads or prospects. Reading how similar organizations are getting value from your product can help customers make their purchase decision.
Posting case studies on your social media is also a great idea. If you tag your interviewee and their company, it will likely be visible to their followers as well which will give you more visibility. Lastly, you can promote your case studies with paid ads to help acquire more users and customers.
What to do if B2B Case Studies Are Not an Option
There are times when your best customers won’t be willing to take part in a case study. Perhaps they’re limited in what they can say publicly, or they’re simply unwilling.
If that’s the case, you can make other arrangements, like using their logos on your website, asking them for a short quote, publish a joint press release, or do a joint presentation about the deal. There are always ways to use customer success to gain more customers.