When researching a potential purchase or prospective partner organization, 78% of business to business (B2B) shoppers report seeking out case studies during their research.
It’s hardly surprising. When you go shopping for a pair of pants online, there’s usually buyer reviews and customer snapshots available to help aide you in your purchasing decision. You can see if things are true to fit and what percent of verified customers would buy the item again. Case studies are like the business equivalent of that – they showcase outcomes of your work and convey your customer satisfaction.
You can scream about how brilliant your brand is until you’re blue in the face, but at the end of the day, it’s the words of others that validate what you’re saying.
Keeping that starting stat of 78% in mind, think about all the potential new business you might be able to capture -- case studies can help seal the deal on referral business, as well as help pull new folks in off the street.
Once you’ve identified a few past clients or projects you would like to highlight, it’s time to get the ball rolling. To help jumpstart your interview with your past customers we’ve put together a list of questions you can ask. These will help facilitate a useful conversation that should give you a few prime quotes to include in your case study:
Getting client feedback for a case study
1. How has our product/service helped your business?
Until businesses buy from you and experience your business for themselves, they’ll never truly know how much you can help them. So, let other businesses give them an insight into how you made their life easier. Chances are they’ll be able to see how your offerings would fit into their life as well.
2. What was the tipping point to buying our product/service?
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It’s not uncommon for businesses to do things a certain way because that’s “how they’ve always done it.” Long term, this can mean getting stuck in a serious rut – sometimes without evening realizing it.
By asking past customers what made them choose you you’ll be able to get a better idea of how to sell to new customers. Pay close attention to the pain points that customers site – what problem did you fix for them? Chances are, this is the same pain point a new potential client might have.
3. Which part(s) of our product/service do you find most valuable?
Get your clients to brag for you! It might even give you a new idea or angle to target in your marketing.
4. Would you recommend us to other businesses? And if so, why?
The all-important seal of approval. In a world where you’re constantly fighting for clients against your competition, shout about why other businesses opted for you over them.
5. If you had to describe our business in one sentence, what would it be?
Adding in a nice little one liner is a great way to get a short and snappy overview of your business. While questions one through four are all great questions, sometimes you just need something a little less lengthy.
If you’re lucky enough to get clients recommending you on camera, this one’s great for creating a to-the-point video compilation that brings the words of many together.
6. Do you think there’s any way we could improve our product/service?
This one’s not for your actual case study, but why not kill two birds with one stone and do a bit of market research while you’re at it? Use this question to find out where your gaps are, see if there are any trends emerging, and tweak your product or service accordingly.
What else to include in your case study
Now that you’ve got a handful of client testimonials, it’s time to put together your actual case study. There’s a few things you should include to give your client an accurate idea of the scope and effectiveness of your work:
- Give a little background around the client. If you need to keep it anonymous, no worries, just give an idea of the size of the company, industry, and a few of their products.
- Outline the goals they were looking to accomplish. What was your client or customer looking for when they came to you? Did you help them tailor their goals? What goals could you help them with – and what services should people go elsewhere for?
- Highlight the process, products, and services you used when working toward the client’s goal. This is your opportunity to emphasize the services you offer and show what sets you apart from the competition. Establish yourself as a subject expert by showing off what you know. You don’t have to give away your industry secrets, but showing you have a firm grasp on your field will help you build trust with a potential customer.
- Emphasize the outcomes. In conjunction with the client quotes you gathered, you’ll want to use hard numbers to prove your success. Personal relationships and client satisfaction are important – but when it comes to business, employees want to be able to show their higher-ups that you’ll be able to deliver on what you said. Facts and figures will help you drive home your pitch.
Distribute your new case studies
Now, it’s time to start capturing potential clients. If you’re taking the time to curate case studies, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of them. Once you’ve got a bank of case studies, you’re armed to hit every single marketing touchpoint.
You can spread the word about your case studies just about anywhere:
- Test out pop-ups on your website with a case study download
- Create tailored landing pages with different case studies that appeal to different buyer personas
- Share them on social media
- Distribute them in your email newsletter
- Create videos or motion graphics using the information and quotes
- Still utilize a print newsletter? Share your case studies there!
- Arm your sales team with case studies to help them close the deal
- Link a favorite case study in your email signature
- Highlight them in PowerPoint presentations or lunch n’ learns
- Use them as a training tool for new employees
Whether it’s splattering an excerpt on social media or including a banner in your emails, don’t hide them away. Use your case studies to support your messages, and take every opportunity to get your potential clients to read them!
Hue & Tone Creative: Marketing in Greensboro, NC
Completely stumped when it comes to your B2B marketing? Case studies need a design overhaul? Or maybe you just need help distributing them? We can help with every step on the process. Want to see what we've done for our other clients? Take a look at our portfolio.