Why Case Studies Should Be Central to B2B Content Marketing Strategies
Putting the SEO building blocks in place will boost your website’s search engine performance. Having a regularly-updated blog will give you a great platform to showcase industry expertise. Contributing guest articles to high-authority websites within your niche will extend your reach and allow you to build a healthy portfolio of backlinks. All of the above are part of effective B2B content marketing strategies and will drive targeted traffic to your website and sales to your bank account.
But how are you going to convert these visitors to your site into clients? Writing captivating copy can go a long way towards winning customers, and if you do a good job with each of the above you might find you’re soon inundated with website traffic. However, for my money, the most effective way of encouraging potential clients to move from browsing your site to picking up the phone is to have a good range of case studies - providing real insight into your way of working and detailing the success stories you’ve had with others.
Having a testimonial page is one thing, but purely relying on a few lines about how great you are doesn’t really allow much room to drill into the specifics. Case studies, on the other hand, allow you to map-out the full story of how you helped your client achieve their goals - the best way of convincing others that you can do the same for them.
Get on the case!
I’m sure many B2B operators appreciate the value in having comprehensive case studies, and how they can highlight the quality of their services, but it surprises me how infrequently most companies update them if they publish them at all.
If you’ve been working with a client for a number of years, but you haven’t updated their case study in the past 12 months, then presumably you’re missing out on all of the recent successes you’ve experienced. If you don’t have any case studies full stop, then you’re putting a roadblock in place that could scupper business growth; peer-to-peer influence is huge when it comes to purchasing decisions, so if you can demonstrate exactly how you’ve helped others, you’ll increase your conversion rate considerably.
You don’t need to write a case study for every single client, but it’s advisable to have a broad range that covers the different areas you work in and the range of services you offer. For example, our Telecoms Content Marketing Case Study tells a distinctly different story to our White-label Services Case Study because they demonstrate different skill sets - one working with a company that sells a range of B2B products and support services, the other working alongside an agency that discreetly enlisted our services to help complete their client work.
Why, what and what?
These are the three key questions to ask when conducting a case study:
#1. Why did the client contact you in the first place?
Here, you want to establish what the problem was. Did they need support to boost their web rankings? Were they looking for insight into social media best practice? Did they have a lot of traffic, but little custom?
If you pinpoint the reason behind them getting in touch, you can frame the case study as a blueprint for solving a particular issue.
#2. What did you do?
Once you’ve identified the problem, you can detail the measures you took to tackle it. Perhaps you conducted an SEO audit and made several recommendations for change. Maybe you created bespoke B2B content marketing strategies or refined their web copy with clear calls to action to aid the customer journey.
#3. What were the results?
Go into as much detail as possible to demonstrate how your services benefited the client. If you can prove that their monthly web traffic rocketed, show us. If their social media audience and engagement blossomed, give us the numbers. If their sales went into overdrive, show us the before and after figures.
Many businesses seem put off by the idea of case studies because it means contacting eternally busy clients, getting them to say a few words that tell the journey of your partnership and providing you with evidence of results. However, if you keep it brief and ask those three simple questions, you’ll find you can get most of the required information in a quick phone call or email.
There are various ways to make your marketing profitable in 2017, and there should be a real emphasis on quality output that naturally drives inbound leads. But once users are on your site, having a catalogue of case studies could make the difference between them getting in touch or hitting the back button.
Magnus Linklater is the MD of Content Marketing Agency, Bespoke Digital, producing tailor-made marketing strategies that get results. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.