When it comes to demonstrating value, B2B marketers confront particular obstacles. It's difficult to illustrate how you'll supply solutions for your consumers or clients if you're selling a service that your purchasers can't see or touch. Your buyer may or may not be your end-user if you sell a product.
Fortunately, case studieshave been offered to us B2B marketers, and they are ideal for illustrating how your company provides solutions. Case studies are my favorite type of research since they are (or should be!) brief, easy to understand, and, most importantly, benefit-oriented. The ideal case study will depict a client's businessdifficulty, the solution you designed to address that problem, and a summary of the results backed up by evidence.
So, once a B2B marketer has developed fantastic case study material, what should they do next? Of course, you should share it! The beautiful thing about case studies is that they can be presented in a variety of formats. Add the case study to your website as a natural initial step, but don't stop there.
Here are eight strategies for maximizing the impact of your customer success stories. Read about leverage surveys in your B2B marketing case studies.
When B2B buyers look for your products and services online, they'll find both your company's and competitors' websites. And they're seeking for more than just marketing messaging when they do. Your prospects would most likely like to hear from satisfied consumers in order to feel convinced that your items can truly perform what you say they can.
As a result, make sure that your case studies are easily accessible on your website.
Don't just put them on a "downloads" or "resources" page, or bury them so far that users have to use your site map or search function to discover them. Provide them with a number of options that will guide them directly to the customer tales that they are most interested in. On your home page, highlight a recent case study. You might request that your webmaster create a display that displays a different case study each time a visitor navigates to a new page or returns to a previous one. You can do the same thing with tales about the highlighted product on your product pages. If the highlighted story does not meet the visitor's interests, make sure you include a link to where they may find other case studies in both circumstances.
Consider making "Success Stories" or "Case Studies" a tab on your main navigation menu if you have a huge library of case studies. I'm not talking about a drop-down menu. I'm referring to a visible menu tab.
Organize your case studies so that prospects can quickly identify tales that relate to them. Allow visitors to search for stories by product, general solution type, industry, or even geography... whatever is relevant to the nature of your business. Provide search and filtering capabilities – perhaps a drop-down from the aforementioned menu tab – to allow visitors to search for stories by product, general solution type, industry, or even geography... whatever is relevant to the nature of your business.
Many businesses are torn between requiring registration or providing free access to their case studies. Years ago, I would have recommended registering for full-length PDF case studies, but my opinion has since changed. I now advise against gating case studies. Case studies are, after all, third-party proof – testimonials – of how well your product or service works for clients. Why would you want to place a stumbling block in the way of your prospects receiving such stories?
However, if you decide to gate because you have a particularly compelling customer tale with a wealth of solid problem-solving material and believe it may generate some leads, proceed with caution. Only ask for as much information as you need for follow-up. Also, before registering, provide a brief synopsis. Before presenting them with a registration form, give them a solid notion of what they're getting. Your conversion rate will be maximized if you combine an intriguing synopsis with a quick, "no-brainer" sign-up form.
Any material you add to your website can help you rank higher in search engines. Case studies are the same way. In reality, case studies are one of the most effective pieces of material for capturing the attention of search engines.
The currency of SEOis keyword phrases. Your case studies will almost certainly contain multiple instances of keywords and phrases relevant to the product or service they feature if they are well-written. However, it's not a bad idea to encourage your writer to optimize for one or two phrases, or to go back and update old pieces with your desired keywords.
Links and meta tags are two additional strategies for improving rankings. Because links have a high value in Google's eyes, make sure to link back to your case studies in press releases, blog articles, and forum conversations that mention them. Encourage your consumers to use your website to share their success stories. Trade groups may also be ready to link to case studies relevant to their business from their websites – or to publish them as articles in their blog or e-newsletter, including links to the full online or PDF editions.
Meta tags can also have an impact on search engineresults. Include your target keywords in the title and description tags to get the most out of them. Last but not least, make sure your stories are SEO-friendly. This won't be an issue if the entire text is displayed as HTML on a web page. If your case studies will be in PDF format, however, check with your graphic designer or SEOfirm to ensure that they are search engine friendly.
Do you have a case study that demonstrates how a client used your product or service to solve a problem that affects the entire industry? Maybe your solution was created to solve that nagging problem in a novel way. If that's the case, you've got the foundation for a successful lead-generation white paper.
The essential framework of case studies and good lead-gen white papers is the same: problem/solution. Other white paper formats exist, but the problem/solution style is the most effective for generating leads.
As I recently did for a customer in a white paper for a requirements analysis product, you'll need to expand on the problem section, evaluate past solutions and why they don't work, then introduce your answer as part of a generic class. You can explain your specific product via an abbreviated version of your case study after you've described your solution in generic terms. This not only demonstrates that the general solution you just described is currently available. It also shows the reader what kind of consequences he can expect if he implements your solution.
Many businesses find it beneficial to create online customer community sites where current customers may learn how others are succeeding with similar items to their own, as well as how they might succeed even more with related products or add-ons.
Case studies are frequently used as part of this process.
These user groups aren't just a great way to promote your already published case studies. You may also encourage users to share stories that have yet to be published with the community. This is a terrific method to find new customer stories for publication and cooperative marketing campaigns.
Case studies can be shared with target prospects via social mediain a variety of ways. There are numerous additional venues to post links to new stories besides Twitter and LinkedIn updates.
Do you have a corporate blog? If a new customer story suits the goal, write a post summarizing the story and linking to the complete case study.
Customer success stories can also be shared on forums. Thousands of tightly targeted forums across a wide range of industry verticals and interests are available through trade associations and LinkedIn Groups. Most will also allow you to submit links, making it easy to target stories to certain groups of people. However, don't just post links. These are the groups to follow. You might come across talks about the issues that your organization solves. Participate in the conversation and provide links to your own tales as examples. Above everything, follow the forum's rules. Explicitly promotional posts are frequently frowned upon. However, if you provide true, useful information, you should have no problems.
Newsletters are an excellent way to share client success stories with prospects, customers, partners, and employees.
Case studies in prospect newsletters allow you to highlight your solutions as well as the numerous sectors you service. This aids in the long-term development of trust.
Case studies allow you to discuss best practices with current customers. Giving them new ideas for how touse the things they already own, as well as suggestions for how they could use your other offers, underlines and reinforces the value of your brand.
Case studies are also useful for informing partners and re-sellers on how customers are utilizing your products. By providing new ideas for them to convey to clients, you'll be assisting their sales efforts. You'll also keep them interested in your collaboration, as well as your products and services.
Last but not least, don't forget about your coworkers. Many personnel in most businesses have no direct touch with clients. They aren't likely to be familiar with every product or service you offer. And they're probably unaware of all the different ways people use your products. As a result, including case studies in your employee newsletter can be educational as well as inspirational. Customer success stories provide information that can be used to improve the product. They also provide actual proof to your staff that what they do matters - that they are contributing significantly to the success of both your company and its consumers.
Case studies will fit right in at your company's annual customer conference. Allowing customers to share their success stories allows them to promote their own products and services while also offering other users with specific examples of how to get more out of their current solutions and how other solutions might work in their context.
Smaller eventscan benefit from the same concept. Customers can participate in webinars and teleclasses to talk about their experiences. Mentioning the clients and tales you'll be showcasing in your event promotions will tend to raise interest and participation.
Case studies are also ideal as handouts at trade shows. Ensure that you have a wide range of options accessible to cover all of your goods and target sectors. Being able to offer an example that closely matches the prospect's situation when your marketing and sales staff engages prospects in conversation can be highly stunning and compelling.
Three seconds have passed. With a direct mail or email marketingpromotion, you have roughly that much time to attract your prospect's attention. Otherwise, it'll end up in the garbage.
And it's in your lead - the headline and first few lines – that you attract your prospect's attention. Leads can come in a range of shapes and sizes. We use the Problem/Solution lead the most in B2B. However, there's also the Offer, Invitation, and "How To" leads...
Then there's the story's protagonist.
A story is at the heart of many of the most successful direct mail campaigns of all time. For example, a sales letter beginning, "On a beautiful late spring day, 25 years ago, two young men graduated from the same college," was mailed for 28 years and sold over a billion dollars in Wall Street Journal subscriptions.
Stories are interesting to read. We've seen them before. They guarantee information as well as amusement. They automatically pique our interest. As a result, story leads are the most effective sort of lead in direct marketing. However, because a strong tale is required to make a story lead work, they are rarely employed in B2B marketing.
That's when case studies come in handy.
A well-written case study can serve as fantastic lead material for a direct mail or email campaign. They can, of course, be utilized to effectively sell the same product or service that helped your customer succeed. However, they can be used in lead-generation campaigns that include white papers, e-books, podcasts, webinars, and even the case study.
Plus, a story lead based on a recent case study will not just grab your prospects' interest right away. With a real-world example of what your product has previously done for others, you'll also get credibility.