Overlooked Best Practice For B2B Case Studies: Know Your Objectives & Audience
73% of B2B content marketers use case studies (according to the Content Marketing Institute). This is because case studies can help B2B buyers—who often have large investments and commitments at stake—get assurance and proof that a company’s claims are true.
Here’s a best practice nugget to get the most out of your B2B case study investment: Don’t assume that your case studies need to be in-depth narratives with an exorbitant amount of detail. This not only takes a lot of time and money, but may not be what is needed.
You should first think through the role the case studies will play in driving engagement and sales. Why? Your approach to the customer interview as well as to the content may be completely different if you decide you want to use the case study to generate new leads, versus to help Sales give engaged prospective buyers or influencers detailed examples.
Here are two sample objectives with best practices to help you approach case study development.
Objective 1: Engage new prospects quickly
Case studies can be a fantastic hook, but in-depth reading material may not be as useful in early stages because:
- The reader may not yet feel connected with your brand or
- People may not be inclined to read in-depth content when doing initial research.
If the purpose of the case study is to generate new leads or drive an immediate CTA, I have found that short and to-the-point or Q&A-styled case studies (with a few compelling data points and a good visual layout) are more effective for the scanning eye who just wants general validation that you can solve their problems.
Objective 2: Engage prospects further down the funnel
If the goal is to engage prospects who are in decision-making mode, more data and detail about your customers’ experiences and successes may be helpful. But even then, it’s important to consider the user experience for consuming such content. You still need to consider the best story and delivery method based on your target buyer’s persona and decision-making process to get a good return on investment.
The point is…
Know your objectives and your audience – what stories your buyers really want to hear/see and the type of information and level of detail they are most likely looking for. Also consider that you may need different versions or phased distribution of a success story based on your buyer’s profile and their stage in the buying journey.
There are many other ideas and techniques out there to help you get a great return on your case study investment. Here are several to look at:
- How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template – HubSpot
- 13 Brilliant Case Study Examples To Be Inspired By – Breadcrumbs
- Sharing Winning B2B Customer Stories: How to Showcase an Effective Case Study – Entrepreneur
- Use Case or Case Study? When to Use Each in Your Content Strategy – Tendo Communications