Case studies are one of the top dogs of B2B content marketing.
B2B customers rely on them to make informed buying decisions, as case studies give customers social proof that your products and services deliver results.
It’s no surprise that 71% percent of B2B buyers in the awareness stage and 77% in the evaluation stage cited that testimonials and case studies are the most influential types of content.
But it’s not always easy to get case studies.
For example, you may be launching a new product and can’t get case studies until your customers use it. Or you might be in an industry where your customers can’t identify themselves due to legal, security, or privacy issues.
So, what can you do if you can’t get case studies?
Don’t worry. Chances are you have some great options and can draw from other content sources. Here are five ways you can unleash some powerful content while you get your case study ducks in a row:
1. Ask for reviews.
If you can’t get a complete case study, you might still have customers who are willing to post reviews on a site such as G2Crowd or TrustRadius.
The Demand Gen Report B2B Buyer Behaviour Survey found that 53% of business buyers rely on peer recommendations when they make a purchase. This number has increased from 19% in 2012.
Focusing on peer reviews can enhance your credibility and boost your sales.
2. Let your subject matter experts shine.
Buyers value your subject matter experts’ opinions. According to ITSMA’s 2015 How Buyers Consume Information Study, B2B customers want to know what your subject matter experts think. In fact, vendor subject matter experts were rated the most trustworthy or credible source of information – beating even peers, analysts, and digital influencers.
Ask your internal subject matter experts to contribute to your content – such as by writing blog posts, authoring white papers, presenting at live events, or answering questions during webinars. If your subject matter experts are too busy to blog regularly, you can have a ghost writer interview them and write posts on their behalf.
3. Provide other valuable content.
The vendor with the best content wins.
In Demand Gen Report’s B2B Buyer Behavior Survey, 61% of respondents said that they select vendors who deliver a mix of content that is appropriate for each stage of their buying process.
While case studies are valuable across all stages of the buying cycle, you have other options. For example, you can provide educational white papers, blog posts, and videos. Webinars are also are great way to interact with prospects and answer their questions. With so many options, prospects may not even notice that you don’t have any case studies.
4. Boost your social presence.
Yes. Your buyers are using social media to research you.
According to IDG, 86% of IT buyers use social networks and content in their purchase decisions. They are most likely to use social media in the general education stage of their buying process.
Meanwhile, Demand Gen Report found that LinkedIn is the top network for senior executives who want to connect via social media. Whether you have case studies or not, you should focus some of your marketing efforts on LinkedIn. For example, you can upload articles to LinkedIn Publisher or post SlideShare presentations to your profile. Also ask your subject mater experts to add their thought leadership to their LinkedIn profiles. Showing customers the faces behind your company can boost your credibility – even if you don’t have case studies.
Demand Gen Report also found that blogs are the top social medium for non-executives. Updating yours on a regular basis can get you in front of a wider audience and motivate prospects to learn more about your company.
5. Publish a use case (proceed with caution)
When you’re launching a new product, it might be too early to get case studies that you can share.
Instead, you can put together use cases – or examples of how people can use your product. The point of a use case is to get customers to visualize themselves achieving the benefits that your products and services offer.
However, you must be clear that your use cases are examples – not stories about real customers. You don’t want to mislead buyers.
While use cases can provide some value, you’ll want to get real customer success stories as soon as possible.
The above are great ways to support your sales team in the absence of case studies. But, as mentioned, B2B buyers rely heavily on case studies.
And you may not be a stuck as you think. You may have customers who are willing to share their success stories with the world. All you need to do is ask.
Once you have a stellar case study ready to go, check out these 21 Places to Share Your B2B Case Studies.
3 Ways to Apply This Information Now
- Read How B2B Buyers Are Engaging With Your Content [Data] To help you get the most out of your content investments, I’ve compiled some recent statistics on how B2B buyers are using content throughout the sales cycle.
- Read “10 Steps to an Effective Content Marketing Strategy” to help plan your content. Research has shown that B2B marketers who document their content strategies get better results than those who don’t.
- Click to share this article on LinkedIn. Sharing quality content increases your visibility and credibility with your existing contacts, creating conversations and potentially new business.
Rachel Foster is a B2B copywriter and the CEO of Fresh Perspective Copywriting. She helps B2B marketers improve their response rates, clearly communicate complex messages, and generate high-quality leads.
Rachel has taught white paper, sell sheet, and case study writing for MarketingProfs and was one of the Online Marketing Institute's Top 40 Digital Strategists of 2014.