Why Case Studies Should Be Part of Your B2B Marketing Strategy
A B2B marketing strategy differs in many ways from a B2C strategy. B2B customers are more difficult to convince, require more information, have to negotiate with different stakeholders, have to justify their investment and so on. It is therefore important to provide this type of customer with the necessary information and evidence required to convince them that your service or products are the solutions for them, even more so if you own a manufacturing or technology company. If this is your case, then including the writing and publishing of case studies in your content strategy is very appropriate.
What is a Marketing Case Study?
A marketing case study is an interesting narrative with a linear approach that shows a customer’s use of your product or service and how it benefited them. In essence, it is a business and customer success story. Case studies are part of an effective content marketing strategy and are particularly relevant to B2B clients. They are used to demonstrate how your company overcame a challenge through the story of a satisfied customer while highlighting the important features and benefits you can bring to your potential customers.
Why Creating Case Studies is Important for Your B2B Marketing Strategy
The organizational structures in which B2B buyers operate are such that several decision-makers may be involved in the final selection of a supplier, solution or product. A case study is a form of documented proof that serves to demonstrate your expertise through real data and results supported by testimonials from other customers. Because they highlight your qualifications in a tangible way, case studies can help generate interest in your company among the many people involved in the B2B buying process.
Creating case studies as part of your B2B manufacturing marketing strategy like the one offered by WSI Digital Marketing in Montreal has many benefits:
- Builds Credibility And Trust
According to the GlobalSpec and Trew Marketing 2022 State of Marketing to Engineers, 69% of B2B customers go directly to suppliers and vendors for information. However, the branded, self-promotional style typically used in website content, social posts and other marketing materials inevitably dilutes the credibility of this information.
Customers want to trust a brand they choose to forge a relationship with, but that trust is fueled by other customers already engaged with the B2B brand in consideration. Case studies rank high on credibility because they show that your customers have placed their trust in you, and your brand has lived up to their expectations. You have the opportunity to represent your business more effectively, include a customer testimonial, and go deeper than simple blog posts or social media.
- Showcases Expertise
A marketing case study can demonstrate your experience in the industry and reassure your B2B customers of your capabilities and expertise in a way that other types of marketing content aren’t always able to do. A creatively crafted narrative in your case study helps a customer clearly see what you bring to the table. More importantly, it enables customer confidence that your company has “been there, done that”, and can do it again for them!
- Provides Evidence
B2B clients want tangible, measurable results. Seeing how you have effectively helped another client provides them with proof that your organization and team are capable of successfully addressing challenges. It shows them how your expertise, services and products can be used to solve their own problem.
- Supports Sales process
Case studies help bring customers through your sales funnel because they are viewed as “useful content” when considering a significant purchase. The long-term relationship is important to a B2B customer. A case study shows how your business worked with another company successfully, even though there were some difficulties to overcome. Using case studies to showcase how you built a relationship with your customer can help a business feel more secure about your longevity and how you work with your customers.
How to Leverage B2B Case Studies
Having a marketing strategy specific to your manufacturing business that includes marketing case studies will allow you to maximize the full lead generation and conversion potential of this powerful type of content. You want your B2B customers to engage with your content, which means you have to find ways to encourage them into doing so. While this type of audience wants in-depth, ‘proof-of-the-pudding’ type of information, they are unlikely to have the time to go looking for information too deep into your website. They will want easy, guided navigation and fast access to relevant information such as case studies.
Add a Dedicated Section On Your Website
Make your case studies easy to find by allocating a section of your website to them. B2B customers appreciate well-written marketing case studies because they help them make an informed buying decision. You can direct prospects to your success stories from other pages and from your social media channels.
Use a Strong Call-to-Action (CTA)
CTAs clearly tell the user what step to take next, and that is why every page on your website should have one. After a visitor has browsed through your customer success story, you want to direct them further through your sales funnel. Ideally, the case study should have at least two CTAs to address different types of customers who may be at different points in their sales journey. For example, “use our online form for more information” or “book a no-obligation consultation and product demo”.
Share Case Studies
Don’t create content just to let it sit idle on your website. Promote case studies through your e-newsletter or email marketing campaigns. Offer the case studies to your sales team to use in their own presentations. If you host a webinar, use a case study as an opener or closer to remind the audience that real businesses are benefiting from your product. Share success stories on your social media channels. A customer featured in your case study may enjoy being in the spotlight and share your link with their own audience.
Create Multiple Formats
Most case studies start out in text format as an article, but you can get more eyes on your content by creating videos, PDFs, and infographics about your case study to promote it across multiple media options. Podcast listenership is on the rise. YouTube, the leading online video platform, is also a popular channel among B2B audiences. Share your case studies using these communication platforms.
Key Elements of a Case Study
Marketing case studies are a different form of content than blogs, press releases, or advertisements. You may want to promote your company, but for a B2B case study to be compelling, it must maintain its objective nature and narrative. The customer’s journey and story drive interest levels in a case study. A good case study is generally 500 to 1500 words. Use visual aids to break up text and make the content more interesting.
Here’s what to include in an online case study:
Headline & Logo: You want a good title that will let readers know what the case study is about. Put your logo on the title page and use the customer’s logo as well. Putting your customer in the limelight lets your reader know that this story isn’t simply promoting your brand.
Introduction: Describe the customer, their industry, and company. Who came to you, and why? Don’t be afraid to share the results early in the case study. You want your reader to keep reading to understand how you achieved those results.
Challenge/Problems: Explain the challenges the customer was seeking to overcome. Make it personal by including quotes or a testimonial. If possible, and with their explicit permission, include a headshot of the client spokesperson to add credibility and reinforce the fact that this is a real story about a genuine company.
Approach/Solutions: Discuss your relationship with the customer. How did they find you? What were they looking for? What kind of solutions did you suggest, even if those solutions were not chosen. Elaborate on how you overcame objections. Include any negative outcomes or hesitations.
Results: What solution did you ultimately choose and implement? If you have metrics and statistical data, this is the place to use them. Present before and after pictures, or social media proof. If you don’t have numbers, use quotes from the client to state the difference your business made for them.
Conclusion: If your audience stuck with you this far, give a small piece of advice or some kind of conclusion about what your business or manufacturing firm can do for them. Then, end with a call to action that links to more information or gives the reader an actionable next step.
Information on your business: Provide contact information about your business with a link to an important and relevant page or a form on your website.
Case studies are more compelling when you focus on interesting clients who had extreme, unique challenges. Incorporate the customer’s personality into your case study to make readers want to keep reading. But don’t forget to keep the narrative relatable to other industries and customers. Remember that the customer is the hero of the story. You are the supporting actor, so don’t steal their limelight! A marketing case study is a tool that can help convert a qualified lead into a customer. It’s important to remain objective without selling.
If you work with a reputable SEO agency, they’ve probably shared with you the kind of information your clients are looking for and identified target keywords for your industry. When selecting your case studies, keep these various elements in mind to get the most out of your marketing efforts.
Case Studies, An Essential Component of B2B Content Marketing
Case studies are an essential form of content to include in the marketing of manufacturers and technology companies. They are used to reach your potential customers by presenting them with important information and tangible evidence of your expertise and solution-building skills. As a result, customers have greater trust in your company and are able to make a more informed decision.
Case studies are valuable assets to incorporate into your inbound B2B marketing strategy to support your SEO campaigns. Post them on your website and use them in their entirety or break them down into various formats to share on your various communications platforms.
Need help attracting more leads? WSI Montreal helps B2B manufacturing companies increase their visibility and demonstrate their value to ultimately generate more sales. We use proven digital marketing strategies including SEO, content marketing and paid advertising. Contact us to find out how we can help.