Part 3: Why Customer Case Studies Pack The Most Marketing Punch
Part Three: Out-of-the-box Case Studies
Out-of-the-box Case Studies
Go outside the format box
The traditional case study format with four subsections isn’t written in stone. Shaking things up can grab a prospect's attention and provide a bit of entertainment along with education about your product.
- Make it eye-pleasing. I’ve seen a case study that placed just Problem and Outcome side by side at the top of the page. I have to say it looked less like an ugly homework assignment than those case studies with long bullet lists at the beginning.
- Slideshares can present key info in an inviting format that’s quick to go through for prospects with little time to spend reading. And who can resist clicking those arrows?
- Infographics are great for presenting key numbers and stats you’d like to boast about.
- Video case studies are an increasingly popular alternative to long-form text case studies. One study found that 72% of consumers prefer video messages over text. Consider the power of marketing content that combines their preferred media (video) with their preferred message (real customer review). A three-to-five-minute video featuring a customer can give a prospect a personable introduction to the brand that’s hard to achieve in text -- and it can be less time consuming for fickle searchers at the beginning of the sales funnel.
- Some of the best case studies combine text, video, images, etc. on the same page, immersing prospects in a multimedia experience of the product and customer.
Use visuals -- and not just pie graphs
Photographs, pictures, vivid colors, animations and video -- especially video -- can all help bring your customer story to life.
- If your numbers -- for increased sales, growth, etc. -- are impressive, consider placing them at the top of the page, enlarged and in color.
- Visual elements are especially useful if your case study text content is limited. A large photo with some punchy text and blown-up statistics or percentages can make an impact on prospects.
- Dramatic before and after pictures that demonstrate a product’s effectiveness can be compelling. If you can get your client to collaborate, you can also make a photo story following the company from initial adoption to results.
Use a different variant of the case study for each part of the sales funnel
Show B2B buyers at the beginning of the sales funnel case studies in the form of infographics and video (actually, video’s a great converter at any stage); show those at the middle of the funnel articles, interactive content, webinars; and give those at the end longer case studies that emphasize ROI.
This is especially important for companies with dense or difficult material in their case studies. Technology companies, for instance, might do well offering a light video testimonial as an introduction rather than a long text filled with technical terms.
Make a sidebar for long text-based customer stories that gives an overview of the story with important data. Use color or images to make it stand out and attract the eye. Those without time to read the full can read the sidebar to get the gist of the problems and outcomes.
Combining text, video, infographic and slide share on the same page offers a version of the case study for every kind of prospect in one place.
Repurpose case study material
The material in one case study can be spread and repurposes all over your online sites. Not only can you can publish the case study on your company website, Medium, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. You can also place glowing customer quotes on product pages and near CTAs, tweet them out and post them on Facebook (and use them in FB ads) and LinkedIn. Passages can be used in emails, presentations and eBooks. They can be used in white papers to make them less dull. They can be referred to in subsequent blog articles on your site.
The cross-promotional potential of case studies presents a particularly interesting opportunity for exposure. Request that case-study participants -- which may be just the person interviewed or every person in the company, depending on how you look at it -- to pose the story on their social channels. That will instantly put your brand in front of all of their combined social followers. After all, you are giving them exposure to your audience by posting it on all of your pages, so they probably won’t mind reciprocating.
True customer accounts are what customers want to see when they have a buying decision to make. They are also the kind of high-quality original content that search engines reward with high rankings. A great case study combines so many high-power marketing elements in one package -- real reviews, unique material, authentic quotes, data and stats, a relatable story, etc. They answer your customers’ pressing questions about how your product or service performs in real life in an enjoyable format. Competitors publishing rehashed mush from around the web or tooting their own horn with overused buzzwords won’t be able to compete with that.
Contact CMHWorks today to find out how we can help you reach your marketing, content and social goals.