Few sales tools yield more results for B2B businesses than effective case studies. During the consideration and decision phases of the buyer’s journey, prospective clients try to imagine how your product or service will play out for their company. Through narrative storytelling, case studies paint a picture in your favor, helping them make the connection between you, their company, and a successful outcome.
In doing so, case studies empower prospective clients to envision themselves benefitting from your product or service, and that makes case studies critical to salespeople, who can deploy them to close deals more quickly and with a greater rate of success. In fact, a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review reported that leads exposed to case studies had an 83 percent conversion rate.
Despite the benefits of case studies, many companies lack the bandwidth or know-how to write case studies that convert. Here are six tips that can help.
1. Get your clients on board.
Whenever you’re writing a case study, you should ask your clients for their permission and participation. Not only is it a sign of respect, it also fosters the kind of post-purchase affinity that might just turn your client into a brand advocate.
Getting your client on board also establishes alignment and makes you privy to their input, helping you to tell an accurate story with a 360-degree perspective. Your client can supplement gaps in your knowledge, speak intimately to the problem your product or service addressed, and provide quotes that offer anecdotal and statistical evidence of the project’s impact. All of these items will make your case study stronger and more resonant with potential clients.
2. Speak to your leads.
When writing case studies, leads are your audience, and they come first. You have to speak directly to what they need from your company, not the other way around. This starts by knowing your target audience.
If you’ve developed buyer personas, leveraging them is a great place to start. Develop a case study for each persona to ensure you’re reaching all of your audience segments in a targeted way. If you don’t have buyer personas, consider who your target audience is; then, devise a case study for each segment. Either way, your case studies should feature clients and scenarios that are relevant to the persona or segment you’re targeting and the business challenges they face. Doing so will make your case studies more relatable.
Lastly, make sure your case studies are written in language buyers understand. Spend some time researching their communication style, then cater your writing to that. Writing case studies with familiar terminology will ensure that your message falls where you want it to with your audience, making it all the more likely that your case study will convert marketing qualified leads to clients.
3. Make it universal.
While some aspects of the problem at the heart of your case study are unique to your client, there is always a universal business problem underlying the specifics. When writing your case studies, emphasize the universality of the issue at hand, so your audience has something to relate to. With the problem framed in a relatable way, leads can fill in the details and see how the situation presented applies to their business. In this way, they can better picture themselves working with your company.
4. Tell a compelling story.
Employ a narrative arc to keep your audience engaged. Take time to define the conflict, resolution, and outcome. But don’t simply chronicle what happened from start to finish; lead with the business value you provided and tie that in throughout your narrative. This will pull your reader in, keeping them hooked throughout the case study.
5. Make it skimmable.
Nobody likes dense case studies that ramble on. Your writing should be clean, lean, and well-organized. Balance out text with plenty of white space and break up the page using bullet points, headlines, subheadlines, graphics, and images. Most importantly, get to the point. Your reader should be able to quickly and easily discern what the problem was and what your company did to resolve it.
6. Prove it.
It’s not enough to simply state that your brand helped a client; you need to prove it. Effective case studies offer irrefutable evidence that your product or service benefitted your client. Gather as many facts, key performance indicators, client quotes, or any other information that can help you substantiate your claim and demonstrate your success.
Getting Down to Business
There you have it: six tips for writing case studies that convert. Now all that’s left is to reach out to clients and start writing. Keep in mind that it’s helpful to have a few people review and edit your case studies for clarity before they go live. If you don’t have the bandwidth, consider bringing in an expert to share the workload.