B2B purchases can get pretty complex. Most buyers have a clearly defined problem, but not a real sense of what they need to buy in order to solve it. Because of this, many people first go online to read websites and gather facts before they make any decisions or consult the executive that holds the purse strings.
According to the 2015 B2B Buyer’s Survey by Demand Gen Report, more than half of all respondents (52%) indicated they view two to four pieces of content from a vendor. What’s more, more than a quarter (28%) view five to seven pieces, while 10% view eight pieces or more.
Consumers aren’t looking for “salesy” content from businesses. Rather, they want compelling, fact-based information that’s going to help solve their problem and help them make a better, more informed decision on what product or service they’re going to purchase.
So how can companies create content that showcases their product or service, but doesn’t come off as too salesy? One strategic way to discuss achievements without alienating potential buyers is to craft case studies based on client success stories.
Case studies—or customer testimonials—can be a powerful content marketing strategy. They showcase how your product or service helped a real company solve its problem. And the best part is that case studies come from the mouth of the customer, so they are more trusted.
In fact, 75% of respondents stated that cases studies, along with white papers and infographic,s are the top pieces of content they review during the buying process. What’s more, research from the Content Marketing Institute found that of the 13 content marketing tactics B2B marketers typically use (social media, blog posts, white papers, etc.) 77% of respondents leverage case studies.
In addition to being a great third-party endorsement, case studies also act as a helpful sales resource. Sales representatives, for example, can incorporate case studies into their consumer outreach so prospects can read for themselves how your product or service has been used.
With case studies being a great way for businesses to be both company and customer-centric, it’s important that they start building a solid library of resources. Below are several different ways you can encourage customers to participate in case studies.
Describe How it Benefits Them
When asking a consumer to participate in a case study, don’t approach it like you’re asking them for a favor. Rather, present it as a project in which they too can benefit. While the case study will primarily highlight how you’ve helped solve their problem, it can also showcase the benefits of your customer’s products—which is a win-win situation for both parties.
Make it Easy for Them
Chances are your clients are just as busy as you. After all, it’s why they came to you for help in the first place. Explain to them that it will take very little time and effort on their part to complete the project. If they think they’ll have to take time out of their busy schedule to help, then they’ll be less likely to participate. Additionally, make sure you have a formula set in place for the structure of your case study; this way you can guide your questionnaire in a way that makes it easy for them to answer quickly.
Gain More Brand Awareness
Let your customers know that participating in a case study won’t just enable your brand to gain more awareness, but theirs as well. For example, it’s wise for marketers to use multiple channels to promote such content as case studies so that they can get more eyes on it. As such, marketers can promote the case study which highlights their brand and their customers on social media, create a press release with quotes included in the case study, as well as write and share blog posts about it too. In doing so, you can help your customer promote their brand as well as yours. In this way your customers will start to see you as a trusted advisor and business partner.
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