Do you struggle to create meaningful B2B content?
Are you stuck with how to bring your business to life?
Is it a struggle to educate your customers, new hires and stakeholders on exactly what you do?
Nothing showcases what you do and how you do it like a B2B case study. It’s a modern content marketing trend, with 73% of B2B marketers using case studies, according to the 2014 report on Content Marketing from the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Profs.
If you’ve ever wondered how to include ‘storytelling’ in your business content, use case studies.
B2B Case Studies Untangle the Complex, Technical and Downright Boring
As a B2B writer for trade magazines and online publications, I look at a lot of websites.
From trucking sites to CRM platforms, from 3rd party logistics providers to employee scheduling software, and from US manufacturing sites to those of energy providers.
As a member of the media, I almost always end up requesting interviews from companies with updated, modern case studies.
Because they have taken the time to explain their business, step by step, show me who they are and what they do, and how they help customers. An average two page B2B case study quickly demonstrates even complicated concepts. I don’t require extensive background understanding to grasp the idea. It’s also entertaining.
Typical B2B Drama Makes for Great B2B Case Studies
What would you rather read? A detailed report on how to pack and load an oversized refrigerator destined for ports around the world? Or how US manufacturer exported oversized refrigerators to everywhere from China to Brazil, and sidestepped local logistics nightmares at each destination port? (The very problems keeping you up at night as you try and select a shipper).
Having modern case studies also increases the chance the company has an active and responsive public relations presence.
Modern case studies suggest a company that cares about clear communication with its customer base. I don’t have to roam around comparing a tonne of companies. I can grasp what I need instantly.
If your business is technical, complicated or unknown to your audience, a real world example spells out exactly what you do. A B2B case study also demonstrates your key messages instantly, from:
- who your ideal customers are
- what common and painful problems you solve
- the products and or services you provide
- your value to a customer in quantifiable measures (like saving your customer $10 million dollars, or making your customer $10 million dollars)
Traditional B2B case studies follow a particular pattern. The ones with these headings:
- Company description; Problem; Solution; Results (Read one on how
Like all other business content, B2B case studies are moving towards being more engaging. This means customer success stories are:
- written like magazine features, with the story taking off right away
- easy to skim with an engaging title, subtitle, fast facts and a pull quote
- laid out with bright colours and vivid photos
- written as scripts, filmed and uploaded to websites and company YouTube channels as videos
Written or on video, really effective B2B case studies focus on your ideal customer. Your business is positioned as the problem solver.
Elements of an Effective Case Study: P.S. It’s a Story
Each case study is a story of customer journey from pain to happiness. A case study should contain:
- a hero or heroine character (your ideal customer, not you)
- the hero’s pain causing problem (costing time, money or resources)
- the hero’s discovery of an amazing solution (you, your products or services)
- an happy ending with an impressive result (preferably quantifiable)
To really get your ideal customer’s story, schedule an interview to find out what they valued about you and your service. You may even find out a thing or two about your business. What your customer values often surprises you.
21 Place to Use Your Case Studies
There are a tonne of ways to use case studies to sell. These include:
- Your website
- Blog posts
- LinkedIn Posts
- Marketing Brochures
- Sales packages
- Training new employees, sales people and marketing and communications staff
- Key Notes
- Key Messages
- Networking events
- When Fundraising (from angel investor groups to bank officers to crowdfunding viewers)
- Grant applications
- Awards submissions
- Social Media posts
- Branding documents
- Charity Work
Do you need to know more about B2B case studies to sell your value?
I’ve just completed an advanced training course in planning, writing and completing modern B2B case studies in record time.