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Five Easy Ways to Make Case Studies Work Harder

Five Easy Ways to Make Case Studies Work Harder

30.07.2013.

Although case studies can be sales gold for a B2B organization, they are often neglected in favor of more hip-sounding content like videos, infographics, and ebooks. Don’t get me wrong. We’re fans of all those things, too. Just not at the expense of the honest, hard-working case study.

So, Just What Can Case Studies Do?

Properly written, implemented, and creatively re-purposed, the little case study workhorse can accomplish all this and more:

  • Provide “social proof” to on-the-fence buyers showing how the solution already benefited a company like theirs.
  • Improve SEO with relevant content on both branded and non-branded keywords.
  • Subtly emphasize the point that our customers love us. After all, they wouldn’t cooperate on a case study if they didn’t.
  • Show off the high quality of the company’s clients, another form of social proof that is highly attractive to prospects who naturally want to be in “the club.”
  • Support sales teams with valuable ready-made material for sales presentations.
  • Demonstrate the company’s approach and results in a clear and compelling manner, and in a format easily printed and distributed among decision-making teams.

Plus, the uniquely overt story-telling format of a case study proves particularly compelling in convincing doubtful purchasers and driving final decision-making action.

Five Ways to Make Them Work Harder

Still, it’s easy to see why case studies aren’t better appreciated. Neglected in a musty corner deep inside a website, most case studies are soon forgotten and, like a draft horse left untended and unused, die a slow death.

It doesn’t have to be this way! If your clients have a backlog of case studies gathering dust, quickly give them new life and put them back to work with one of these five creative re-purposing ideas:

  1. Separate into two or more segments and publish as a series of emails or blog entries, with a link to the complete case study in the final installment.
  2. Move to the front page of the website with a short teaser and an eye-catching photo. This encourages deeper dives by casual visitors, thereby encouraging conversions.
  3. Integrate into an email marketing campaign as a free download. Sample CTA verbiage: “See how this solution saved one company $2.5 million in its first year. Download the case study now!”
  4. Ask a principal from the subject company to contribute a short video testimonial. Place the video on the blog, front page, and social media with a link to the full case study.
  5. Incorporate short segments into a longer email marketing campaign to illustrate specific points within longer content.

A Few Important Notes

Don’t forget to pull testimonials from the case study and use them generously where appropriate. For just a little extra mileage, be sure to also follow these best-practice guidelines when posting case studies:

  • Provide case studies both as html documents that can be viewed directly on the client’s website, as well as in a pdf that can be downloaded, printed, and passed around.
  • Format pdf case studies using client company branding. It can be useful to have a designer create a template specifically for case studies.
  • Include links inside the html to relevant information elsewhere on the website.
  • Provide links to the case study’s landing page/html page at relevant points throughout the client website.
  • Include a menu link in a prominent location so web visitors can view all available case studies and download them directly from a central location.

Your turn! How are you putting case studies to work? Did I miss anything? Tell us in the comments, and share with your networks (we love shares!).

Shameless Plug: Subscribe to the blog at right for more great tips like this, delivered weekly. We promise not to spam your inbox. We hate inbox overload too.

Or contact us right now to add a few new case studies to your client marketing packages. You’ll be glad you did.

 

Author:

Heather Head is an author, as well as the founder of Scopcity. When she is not writing, running the business, or chasing down bad guys on Twitter, she enjoys hiking, snuggling with her husband and three boys, and avoiding the kitchen.

Andrew Healey on July 30, 2013 AT 06 pm

Nice post, Heather. People love reading stories and I’m sure that’s why case studies can be so effective. One other way to get more mileage is to include excerpts in newsletters linking to the case study on the customer’s website.

    Heather Head on July 30, 2013 AT 06 pm

    Great idea, Andrew! Absolutely agree about why people love case studies–stories are such an integral part of what we are as humans. I think it was a cigarette ad salesman in Mad Men who pointed out you can tell people all the statistics around smoking-related deaths, but all it takes is one story: “My grandfather smoked a pack of cigarettes every day of his life, and he was still spitting fire at age 101,” and suddenly everyone’s confident cigarettes are good for them. Thanks for the comment & the excellent suggestion. We’ll add this one to our list of re-purposing ideas!

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