Case research forestall your prospects from getting caught within the funnel.
That’s in all probability why nearly two-thirds of B2B content material entrepreneurs use the tactic.
Case research inform the story the potential buyer desires to know. Do you perceive their ache factors or want? Do you have got an answer? Does it actually ship outcomes? And case research give these solutions in a manner that communicates credibility that an intrusive advert designed to promote, promote, promote may by no means do.
Nonetheless, case research could be a problem to supply. You should speak to the gross sales and product groups to know which shoppers have had the most effective success tales. Then, you need to observe down the best particular person on the consumer firm to get permission to inform their story. Plus, you nearly all the time want numbers to show the case, they usually typically aren’t simple to seek out.
However it’s well worth the effort. Within the 2023 B2B Content material Advertising Benchmark, Budgets, and Developments, 36% of entrepreneurs cite case research as efficient – that’s greater than lengthy articles, podcasts and different audio content material, infographics, livestreaming content material, and print magazines and books. (And the quantity who cited case research as efficient was the identical as those that mentioned video – a quickly rising tactic – was efficient.)
Let these three methods and 4 examples aid you develop case research that may shake your prospects from the center of the funnel and switch them into prospects.
1. Inform a narrative the place your consumer – not your model – stars
Content material advertising and marketing ought to all the time deal with the viewers, not the model. In case research, customer-centered storytelling is much more essential. In any case, prospects eat case research as a result of they wish to see what occurred with individuals/firms in comparable industries and circumstances engaged along with your model.
If the case examine sounds too promotional, it should lead the reader to suppose it’s simply one other advert the place the corporate positions itself to sound nice or, even worse – too good to be true.
By making your consumer the hero or star of the story, you make the required shift within the narrative and point out to the reader that your model is all concerning the shoppers and prospects.
Xerox makes itself a secondary character in each of those case research. On this PDF compilation of case studies for banking and financial markets, the duvet contains the Xerox emblem decrease proper. It additionally does a pleasant job of utilizing a high-impact, non-product-related picture. Sadly, it opted for a boring label-type headline.
On the following web page, the case examine assortment features a high-level overview and doesn’t point out Xerox or embrace the brand. The language emphasizes the consumer’s significance by utilizing “you” all through the textual content and choosing first particular person (our) in solely a single reference.
“Buyer loyalty is closely influenced by how successfully you talk, and that, in flip, is dependent upon how simply you can also make data circulate …”
After this introduction, it shares eight case research in a easy format that highlights factors readers most certainly wish to know – the problem, resolution, and outcomes. Xerox explains the options from the attitude of the consumer with no point out of its product names. For instance, among the many bullets within the resolution class: “A single supplier with devoted operators to centrally handle the digitalisation (scanning and indexing) and onward distribution of incoming mail.”
TIP: Xerox doesn’t even identify the “stars” of this case examine assortment. Many firms can’t establish their shoppers by identify, and these case research illustrate the best way to convey the need-to-know data to the readers with out disclosing who the shopper is.
Whereas Xerox did a pleasant job specializing in the consumer, not the seller, it didn’t inform partaking tales. However it did within the video version of this case examine – Buena Park School District: Modernizing communication and today’s classroom with Xerox® Workflow Central.
In the course of the 2.5-minute video, the district’s COO (somebody doubtless concerned within the decision-making and who makes use of the product) and a secretary (a frontline consumer) inform the story of their college system, its multi-language demographics, and the significance of communication. Additionally they go into element about how Xerox’s software program product permits them to speak with mother and father in a number of languages extra successfully and effectively.
The B-roll video contains screenshots of the Xerox product in use, nevertheless it additionally showcases the district, lecturers, college students, and extra.
By having the varsity district staff inform their story and their expertise, Xerox crafts a extra fascinating story and fosters a extra credible case examine. (Mysteriously, it selected to not use these interviews within the text version of the case examine.
2. Create a well-known construction
Case research aren’t the place for revolutionary story constructions. All readers eat case research to seek out the solutions to the identical questions: Are you aware and perceive their drawback? Do you have got an answer for it? Does that resolution work?
Additionally they could also be doing comparability procuring via case research. If readers must work tougher to determine what they should know from a artistic story construction, they’re more likely to transfer on to easier-to-read case research.
Cognizant, a tech enterprise, hosts a plethora of case studies throughout the industries it serves. It follows a well-known construction – problem, strategy, and enterprise outcomes – for every.
On this example, they inform the story of their consumer, Deliberate Directors, Inc., working a legacy customer support utility that didn’t combine with its core administrative providers. The examine explains how that was problematic and particulars the shopper’s targets – “scale back time and prices whereas bettering operational effectivity to ship a contemporary buyer expertise and help new traces of companies.”
Then, it explains how Cognizant offered the answer. However the clarification didn’t cease with the answer’s description; the corporate additionally particulars the way it helped Deliberate Directors implement the brand new know-how. That’s an essential element for anybody contemplating Cognizant’s options.
Although they don’t label it “enterprise outcomes” within the net model of the case examine, they clearly element the affect within the descriptive concluding textual content and escape the all-important numbers – 10% discount in name time, $80,000 saved in annual IT upkeep prices, $138,500 in annual charges eradicated.
Cognizant hyperlinks to a four-page PDF of the case study for guests all in favour of studying the complete story. It contains a lot of the identical data however provides quotes from the consumer and a sidebar field (proven under) that summarizes key particulars – trade, location, challenges, services and products, and success highlights. That’s particularly useful for skimming readers.
3. Make it visually partaking
Simply because the story construction needs to be commonplace doesn’t imply the format should be. Readers often don’t wish to learn paragraph after paragraph. It doesn’t stimulate their mind. And a few readers would possibly study higher via visuals.
So take into consideration the best way to have interaction the viewers – from movies and pictures to textual content design (headers, callout bins, and so on.). Create a design that enables the at-a-glance readers to leap round and get the highlights and provides the entire story to readers who wish to eat each bit of knowledge.
Superior Essex, a producer of cables, opted for an interactive case examine expertise to inform the story of its work for the company house of Delos, a wellness actual property agency. (I encourage you to click on via the full interactive case study, as describing it could’t adequately seize the expertise.)
Superior Essex tells an identical story – explaining the consumer, its wants/ache factors, options, outcomes, and a testimonial quote. However it does it in a visually partaking manner the place readers can choose to maneuver the story alongside on their very own.
For instance, this display screen permits the reader to click on via every resolution with the product names recognized.
On this web page, the reader can study concerning the affect on the corporate (as proven under), then merely click on on the tabs (or advance the arrow on the backside) to study concerning the affect on the occupants and the atmosphere.
TIP: Don’t neglect the readers who would possibly have to obtain the PDF to share with their shopping for groups or executives. Superior Essex condensed the interactive content material into a less complicated, extra traditional three-page PDF.
Create convincing case research that encourage patrons
Case research assist content material entrepreneurs obtain a few of their commonest targets – constructing/rising credibility/belief, educating audiences, and producing and nurturing leads. However the energy of case research might be maximized in the event you make your shoppers the star, give your readers what they need, and throw in a touch of shock and visible curiosity.
Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute