Using case studies in your content marketing strategy may feel like ‘too much hard work’, but consider this: Case studies rank fifth out of 12 tactics UK marketers employ to win over customers (usually in those final stages of persuasion), according to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI). Research conducted by marketing platform BrightLocal indicated that around 86% of those surveyed in its annual Local Consumer Review Survey stated that they read reviews to judge the quality of a business’s offering. It makes sense, especially if you place yourself in your customer’s shoes. They’re ready to make a decision, let’s say, between insurer A and B. A’s website lists several case studies, showcasing a number of challenges; how the business went about solving them; and what the results were. Insurer B has none of that. Which insurer would you choose?
Why case studies are valuable
Case studies give you an edge over your competition; they show how you approached a problem, for example, a customer’s pain point, and how you solved it. Trust can be tenuous in the digital world, so providing concrete evidence will show how your product has helped a customer and, by default, entrench your business as an industry authority. HubSpot’s principle marketing manager Siobhán McGinty says case studies are an ‘invaluable asset when it comes to establishing proof that what you’re offering is valuable and of good quality’. That said, it’s obviously important to track your engagement honestly, and not try to reverse-engineer it, by working from the outcome backwards.
So, what should your case study include?
According to website optimisation company Crazy Egg, always try to include as many of the following steps as possible:
- Description of the subject matter: a customer’s problem/pain point
- Goal: what does your customer want to achieve
- Your strategy: the step-by-step process you used to solve your customer’s problem
- The results: how did it all work out? Go into as much detail here as possible, and include a quote or two from your client
- Findings: how did your method help your customer? What did you learn, and how can these lessons be applied to other customers?
How to make case studies work
McGinty offers a few invaluable ways to incorporate case studies on your website as well as via social media.
- A page on your site dedicated to case studies, where you list your success stories, each one structured into goals, approach and results.
- Customer testimonials on your home page that link to a full case study as well as a call to action (CTA). A CTA linking to case studies is a great way to incorporate content on product-heavy or catalogue pages.
- Summarise the case study in a blog post, concentrating on what the challenges were and how your business helped to solve them, and what your customer had to say. Be specific in your title, and use ‘A case study’ as part of it. (Don’t be afraid of using video in either creating or advertising your case study.)
- Share the information via links on social media, emailers (this is a good way to re-engage leads that may have gone cold) and newsletters.
Content marketing has evolved to become more personal; people respond to what’s familiar, so choose success stories you know your customers can relate to. Be personable in tone and style (case studies should not be dry and boring), use anecdotes, images, quotes, videos and infographics. Content specialists can help you craft your case studies, as well as track and measure their effectiveness. It’s worth going for gold here, especially as case studies are so successful in converting leads to customers. Need help with this? Get in touch with us.