Did you know 78% of surveyed buyers accessed case studies in the past 12 months...making them the most frequented of all content types?
The research comes from DemandGen’s 2017 Content Preferences Survey Report:
That’s actually an increase from 72% in 2016.
But...here’s the thing: many B2B companies don’t even create them.
And I’ve got the data to prove it:
- Survey data from Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 B2B Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report doesn’t even list “case studies” as one of the top eight types of content produced:
(Image source: Content Marketing Institute)
In fact, they even Tweeted case studies “...aren’t content marketing.” The author of the blog post discussing it suggests it’s because they’re written too poorly to spur any prospect action.
- Just 48% of B2B marketers believe case studies rank as one of the three most effective content types.
- My own personal research of 101 randomly chosen B2B websites found just 55 used case studies of any kind (not accounting for well versus poorly written ones):
(Image source: Dan Stelter, B2B Copywriter)
Why Do B2B Marketers Not Create More Case Studies Even Though Buyers Clearly Want Them?
I couldn’t find any data on this. But from personal experience and professional judgment, these could be reasons why:
- Compelling Stories Are Hard to Find
Many customers will happily do an interview after your provide them with a valuable business result.
Case studies aren’t the easiest content to create. Ideally, you track down your customer and have an interview. But sometimes, you can’t get a hold of them.
Solution: Ask your sales team to submit their customer stories. Offer $1000 (or another agreed-upon reward) to the team member whose story is chosen.
If you absolutely can’t talk with a customer, interview your sales team member who closed their deal. Consider one with your customer service team too.
2. Most Aren’t Written Persuasively
B2B copywriting vets create case studies 800 - 1200 words in length. That’s the space they need to tell a gripping story.
I routinely see case studies 200 - 400 words long that follow the oh-so-boring “Challenge - Solution - Results” format. You can tell a short story in that space. But it’s going to lack the detail your prospects need to sell themselves that you can solve their problem.
Accordingly, many B2Bs don’t get the results they should. So logically, it makes no sense to create case studies.
Solution: Hire an employee or contracted copywriter to interview and create your case studies. They’re simply too valuable to your marketing to do half-heartedly.
3. Case Studies Often Get Hidden on B2B Websites
Do you know how your prospects use your site?
Hint: they won’t dig through your “Resources” page, identify their stage in the sales cycle, and find the exact content they want.
Check your analytics to see how many buyers actually visit your “Resources” page, and how much time they spend on it. Those stats will both be low relative to your other pages.
Solution: Instead, you have to actively promote your case studies to your prospects. On your website, you might create “Industry” and “Role” pages, which buyers use more than a “Resources” page. Include case studies that perfectly match the industry and role targeted on each page.
Or, educate your sales team on case studies’ ability to help them sell faster and easier, and tell them to email case studies to every prospect they interact with.
4. Many B2B Companies Don’t Know Where to Find Specialist Case Study Copywriters
You know the value of a specialist...but where do you find one worth the money?
The easiest place is Upwork, where freelancers can bid on your job. But, sites like this don’t attract the most talented writers. Because it’s so easy to get in touch with prospects, these sites get writers of widely varying skill levels.
Typically, the best stay away because they know they’ll get underbid, and prospects at Upwork usually go with the lower bidder.
A few good ways to find skilled B2B copywriters who make your life easy and write lead-generating case studies include:
- Niche blogs (Content Marketing Institute, Kissmetrics)
- Googling keywords related to your niche
- Tapping your network privately (not a public Twitter message)
- LinkedIn research
Review their portfolio. If you like their work, set up a call. Expect to sign a contract and pay mid-to-high prices.
Case Studies Should Be Your Company’s Smartest Investment
Case studies don’t cost a ton to write. They create some additional work for you in finding a copywriter you like.
...But when you compare the time and financial costs to the business they generate, they make amazing sense. True for every B2B company (and many B2C companies too).
Veteran B2B copywriter Steve Slaunwhite sums case studies up well when he says:
“Dollar-for-dollar, case studies are the best marketing investment a company can make. I recommend them to 99 percent of the companies that I work with.”
B2B direct response copywriter Dan Stelter is the “secret weapon” who writes engaging copy that convinces prospects to act - almost against their own will. He crafts B2B content and case studies that increase your revenue. Competitors bang their heads on the wall in frustration while you get up to 200% more leads. Learn more about Dan’s B2B lead generation services at B2BLeadGenGuy.com