“...[C]ase studies led the pack in terms of the content format that resonates strongest with buyers,” says Demand Gen’s 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report.

 

DGR also added 78% of buyers accessed case studies in the past 12 months. That’s slightly up from 72% the previous year.

 

Demand Gen’s 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey revealed 86% of respondents found case studies “...are triggers that influence their purchase decisions.”

 

BrightTALK’s 2016 survey of 600 2016 marketing pros found, “Case studies take the top spot as the most effective content marketing tactic and format.”

 

Shockingly, blog posts came in a close second:

 

(Image Source: BrightTALK)

 

Finally, Eccolo Media’s 2015 B2B Technology Content Survey Report found 42% of respondents had read case studies to evaluate a purchase in the past six months. That ranked case studies third out of 18 content types analyzed.

 

So you just can’t argue about buyer demand for case studies, or this content type’s ability to convince.

 

...But B2B Case Studies Routinely Don’t Have These 5 Essential Elements for Generating Qualified Leads

 

Many B2B case studies simply don’t get written in the most persuasive way possible. That means more prospects never turn into qualified leads. But the mistakes aren’t complex to fix.

 

Ever read a case study that’s just a list of bullets? How’s that enough information to convince you the vendor can deliver on their promise?

 

Your case studies need these essential elements to persuade:

 

  1. A Title Showing Specific and Concrete Results

 

Many case studies have vague titles:

 

“Company XYZ Improves Retention with New Customer Service Software Solution”

 

Okay...what does that mean?

 

That title confuses.

 

You’ve seen case study titles just like that many times. A far more convincing and credible title goes like this:

 

“Company XYZ Boosts Customer Retention 33% in Less Than 9 Months”

 

Buyers know exactly what that means. And, they can apply the number to guesstimate the exact benefit for their own company.

 

2. Begin with the “Feature Format Lead-In”

 

Not every case study has to do this. If you do with yours, it becomes obvious and repetitive. But you should absolutely add this technique to many of your case studies.

 

What is it?

 

Since your case study’s really your customer’s story, begin in the middle of the story rather than with the boring (though necessary) customer profile. Veteran case study writer Casey HIbbard highly recommends it.

 

Why?

 

It commands attention.

 

Think of your favorite movies. At least one or two began in the heat of the action and grabbed your attention immediately.

 

3. What Implementation Errors Did You Make?

 

What B2B company wants to admit where a process didn’t go smoothly?

 

“There is no perfect implementation of any complex product like enterprise software,” says B2B marketing legend Steve Slaunwhite.

 

Snags always happen during implementation. Your customers get that. Sharing those issues doesn’t make you look weak. You come across as honest and having high integrity.

 

Further, your prospects know you can help them overcome those hurdles. Since your competition likely won’t discuss these, you create an advantage when you talk about obstacles to implementation.

 

It’s quite refreshing to prospects who usually hear how great every B2B company thinks they are.

 

4. Customer Quotes Should Discuss Results

 

Any customer quote works better than none at all. Even better is having a quote the discusses results and benefits the customer experienced.

 

But customers don’t freely offer that information, do they?

 

They will. You just have to ask the right questions.

 

This simple process elicits the data:

 

  • Tell me how the solution addressed your problem.
  • Tell me about your experiences with your new solution.
  • What benefits did you get from the solution?
  • What measurable impact has the solution had on your business?

 

Your prospect may balk at the last one. So, simply throw out a number, like 28%.

 

The prospect will either say,”Yes, that’s close.” They might give you a more accurate number. Or, you can ask,”What number comes reasonably close?”

 

5. How Persuasive is Your CTA?

 

Most calls-to-action only say “Learn more about Company ABC.”

 

Weak.

 

Your prospects may be motivated to act after reading a convincing story.

 

However, close with a weak CTA, and you’ll lose some.

 

Your case studies’ CTA should try one of two things to boost the chance of your prospect calling or emailing:

 

  1. Re-emphasize the benefits your prospect gets with your solution
  2. Remind them of the pain they can avoid by using your solution (more effective)

 

So, something like,”To learn how you can never forget to contact a lead again and leak revenue, call Company ABC at 555.555.5555.”

 

How Do Your Case Studies Measure Up?

 

Done right, case studies become your most potent lead-generating weapon.

 

So, analyze these five elements with yours.

 

How do you do?

 

Do you have room for improvement?

 

If you do, take action now.

 

Your CEO would love to learn sales has so many qualified leads they don’t know how to close them all.

 

Find out how you can get seen by additional bottom-of-the-funnel prospects so you drive more qualified leads.

 

Author:

dan-headshot-oval-JPEG.jpg

B2B direct response copywriter Dan Stelter is the “secret weapon” who writes engaging copy that convinces prospects to act - almost against their own will. Competitors slam their fists on their desks in frustration while you get up to 200% more leads. Learn more about Dan’s B2B lead generation services at B2BLeadGenGuy.com