It can be challenging to tell a story about your value proposition; being able to show potential clients that you are capable of providing services that are catered towards them, their niche, and actually produce results, is a hyper-valuable marketing tool. The ability to demonstrate your relevance to the client can help foster “preference’ compared to other likely options.
If your company has made it to the shortlist, then you need to overcome objections. Why your company when others offer similar services? The answer is in the evidence.
This article is focused on explaining “how” you can use case studies in various parts of your marketing system, but if you’d like to know more about case storytelling, make sure to read “How to Write Project Case Studies.”
Proving your capabilities lies in examples of how your company has solved similar problems in the past or how your company has solved problems that your potential clients aspire to be like. Just like a court of law or a science experiment, your prospect is looking for “evidence.”
This content asset is a use-case, project profile, or a case study. They all serve the same goals. Let’s go over what a case study is, why 63% of organizations want to know how to use business case studies in marketing, why they find them and find them useful, and some tips on how to create ones that compel clients as much as they do convince them.
What is a Case Study?
A case study uses your work with a previous client as an example of what your service is and why it’s valuable. It provides a prospect, an impression of your capabilities, how it relates to a specific company within an industry, and how your service provided value to that client.
Case studies will measure success, and in doing so highlight your abilities. Any case study with value will highlight specific actionable metrics and show their overall improvement through the use of your services.
Because case studies require you to highlight a past client, case studies aren’t overtly promotional, and, instead, they rely on a more journalistic tone and neutral voice.
How to Promote Case Studies
Case studies are valuable at every stage of your marketing process — as they act as evidence of your value. They are one of the most flexible content-assets that you can leverage throughout your marketing opportunities because they demonstrate who you’ve done work for and how you solved their problems and met their objectives.
Let’s go over a case study marketing strategy – stage-by-stage and see how you use them in regards to your overall sales funnel.
How to Use Case Studies to Drive Traffic
The top of the funnel (or the awareness stage) is the stage where potential clients are looking around for a service that solves a problem that they currently have. Case studies provide them with valuable evidence of your abilities while simultaneously providing them with information regarding your overall service.
Potential clients at the top of the funnel are going to want to know what you offer. Case studies can give examples of what your services are and how they are actionable in real-life scenarios.
You can use your case studies in paid promotions to highly targeted prospects on LinkedIn or Facebook and bring them into your website or digital channel. A significant number of new prospects may find you via organic search, as they are searching for project scope, brand names, capabilities, etc…
Using Case Studies to Help Reinforce Positioning
The middle of the funnel (or the consideration stage) is where case studies start to become integral, and they act as the primary medium for highlighting your services.
The middle of the funnel is when potential clients are going to be searching for exactly why you’re the solution to the problem that they have, and what separates you from your competitors. This is the “why you?” phase.
A well-crafted case study should serve as a reminder of your solution, and how you positioned that solution in a way that improved actionable metrics and resulted in increased KPIs. All the while, it shows clients your experience within an industry and how you tackle unique problems.
The Bottom of the Funnel
The bottom of the funnel (or the purchasing stage) is when your clients are verified MQLs that are reaching for their wallet.
Case studies serve as a reminder of your overall value, evidence to mitigate risks, and leverage to help clients overcome objections.
In this stage case studies act as a sort of proof-of-concept for any additional worries that the customer may have. You want to be referring customers back to case studies if they have existing concerns about your ability to position a valuable solution to them. This is especially true if the case study exists within the same industry as they do.
What Elements are Critical for a Compelling Case Study?
As you can see, case studies are hyper-valuable marketing tools, so it’s crucial to craft them with care and diligence. Here are some of the critical components that make case studies engaging for the client.
Potential clients will want to know the overall context of your involvement. Before you get to the actionable metrics, your overall role, and the solution/s you provided, you need to make sure that your potential customer understands why your previous client required your services. What’s the overall picture? Is there a trend that you are combating? What gap did you fill?
Don’t forget your customer’s pain point(s)
Remember, the person that’s reading your case study is going to be applying all of the value you provided to this organization as value that they can apply to their own. Highlight the pain points. What is the main issue you are solving and how can it be applied to any business.
The proof is in the numbers
Since case studies should act as evidence of your abilities, actionable metrics are critical. People want proof. Make sure that you really buckle down on the specific improvements that you were able to provide in the form of KPIs. Give them numbers, and make sure that the results speak volumes.
The Caveat: Complexities
Depending on your service, KPIs may be more complex for you than others. If you mainly address presenting issues that vary from company to company, it may be challenging to give metrics that will immediately apply to another potential client.
For example, let’s say your service is to provide data analysis. So, you work with companies one-on-one to restructure data in a meaningful way.
If that’s the case, it may start to get a little complex when it comes to actionable metrics. That’s fine. Make sure that you structure your case study in a way that shows your value at tackling specific issues, and explain what solutions you provided to your customers.
Case Study Tips
Here are some tips that will help you write that perfect case study.
Demonstrate Your Value
Case studies are a great place to highlight your uniqueness. Your company doesn’t exist in a black hole, and you surely have some competitors who offer similar services to your own. Make sure that you highlight the things that make you unique.
Case studies should still be wedged into your overall marketing strategy, so make sure that you craft a title that is compelling and has a keyword in it. Note: Bonus points for #hashtagable and tweetable titles.
Always include a CTA. You should be used to these by now.
Make sure that you have a space on your website reserved for your case studies. Go ahead, send out links to them in emails, market them on social media, make some high-quality videos about them. Go out there and market them.