When promoting your new or existing industrial products and services, nothing provides more credibility than a B2B case study.
I’ve often said that while everybody wants to be Number One…
few want to be “first.”
At least, not when it comes to purchasing a new, expensive product, service, or process. It’s kind of scary to boldly go where no one has gone before. Not everyone is as intrepid as the crew of the gallant starship USS Enterprise. Or any other space craft, for that matter.
Not me, anyway.
Most of us would feel a lot more comfortable if we had some kind of proof before we buy.
Proof that it works. Proof that it’s valuable.
Proof that the product is worth our time, money and effort.
Particularly if the product or service is:
- High tech, or
And your ideal customer needs that proof… desperately.
How do I know?
Well, I intimately understand what your ideal customer wants, needs, and craves because…
I’ve been your ideal customer.
Case studies – Happy Customer Success Stories
That’s what case studies are in a nutshell.
A business case study spotlights one of your customers who used your industrial product or service and got winning results. Most follow a very simple ICSSR formula:
- Introduction of the featured company
- Challenge or problem they faced
- Search for a
- Solution (and the one found is yours, of course!)
- Results gained by implementing your solution
Note that I said success stories. We humans are internally wired to relate to storytelling.
B2B case studies are essentially stories, and the formula is fashioned after historic and modern myths and legends.
Real Star Wars stuff. And The Matrix. And of course… Hercules.
The cast of characters in your case study is simple and well-defined.
The hero is played by your happy customer. The customer is always the hero. You Introduce your hero in the opening act of your case study, providing some information about who they are, what they do, and what their Challenge was.
Your role is that of mentor and guide. You come alongside the “hero” as they set off on their quest to slay the dragon, their thorny problem. To Search for answers and to solve their problem. Offering useful information and sound advice (in the form of pre-sale content marketing pieces), you gently lead them to…
The Solution, which was found in your product or service.
But you’re not done storytelling yet. In your after-the-purchase content, you guided the hero in using your product successfully (so, if you helped them deploy your product effectively, that should definitely be included in the case study). This ensures they’ll be happy with it and get that one important thing they’re after.
Your hero returns triumphantly to his “village” and the results make the company more profitable, or efficient, or whatever your offering, well, offers.
Your reader (your ideal customer) consumes the case study, realizing that perhaps your solution is just the needed remedy for his or her company as well.
A good B2B case study rocks for proof and credibility.
Quick FAQs About Case Studies
Q How many case studies should I have for my product or service?
A) Short answer — Enough. In-depth answer… it depends a lot on how many industries your product or service helps. While one-size-fits-all can work, if you have a case study for each industry, it helps prove your point more effectively to more people. Remember, your readers are not only wanting to know if your product works; they want to know if it will work for them, in their industry. You can start with one and add more as necessary.
Q How long are typical case studies?
A) Excellent question… so glad you asked. There are several things that dictate how long it should be. How it’s to be used is one of them. For example, a 1- or 2-pager works great if you’re handing them out at a tradeshow or your sales team is leaving them with a customer. For an article in a trade pub, a case study often runs between two to four pages, written in an article format.
Q What’s the process and time frame for writing a case study?
A) There are several steps. In the research phase, information is gathered about the featured product or service. I’ll contact your SMEs (subject matter experts) to get this vital info. During that phase, I’ll also contact the featured customer for an interview. I’ve got a field-tested set of questions and I prefer to do this personally on Zoom or the phone… although you’re welcome to sit in if you want. Then, the writing begins. Once finished, the first draft is sent to you and to the featured customer (important) for approval and suggested edits. Then, I make the edits and/or revisions and send it to you for final approval. The entire process can take from two weeks to a month to complete, depending on the cooperation and availability of all parties involved.
Q Are case studies really that effective?
A) Yes… next question. Okay, here’s the long version. According to the AWAI State of the Industry Report and CMI’s B2B Content Marketing 2018 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends – North America, 73% of B2B buyers use case studies when making a purchasing decision. Any questions?
Q Will a case study work if I don’t use the happy customer’s name?
A) You won’t believe how many times I’m asked that. For many, it’s a confidentiality thing. Here’s the blatant truth. Yes, they can work, but not nearly as well as if you can provide information about the featured customer. An “anonymous” case study isn’t nearly as effective, and could be construed as a fairy tale instead of a true success story. If that’s your case, we need to talk about it.
Q Should case studies be written to work for print or web?
A) Both. When I write a case study, it’s written to work, period. It can be posted on a website page, made available as a download, or printed out to hand directly to your ideal prospect. You handle the design, unless otherwise agreed on. But, I’ll make suggestions to make it shine like a new penny, no matter the medium.
Q How much should I expect to pay for a case study?
A) Ah, yes… the money question. Frankly, I’m surprised you didn’t ask sooner. So, here’s the 411. The typical industry standard for a professionally-written case study ranges from $1,500 to $2,500.
I’m a professional case study writer.
And as you can see from the questions above, the process is involved and takes some time and effort to be successful. The complexity of the case study and product featured is also taken into account. So, a one-on-one call with you is the only way I can even begin to quote an exact price for your project.
Q Ok, Steve. I realize the value of case studies now and how using them can benefit my business. How do we get started… ASAP?
A) First, I don’t recommend you email me, asking for a firm quote. Not gonna happen. We really need to talk about your project so I can understand your situation and requirements. So, if you email me, I’ll answer… but will request a Zoom or phone call interview. Period. So, there are two better options, both available on my contact page.
Use my priority call scheduler to block out time on my calendar for a 30-minute discovery call. That’s the best option.
Fill out my contact form to send information to me about your project. There will be several questions to answer, some of which are required. Once I get your message, I’ll look it over and see if I’m a good fit for your project (so fill it out as completely as possible). Then, I’ll contact you to schedule a call… probably with a direct link to my scheduler.
You could call me directly right now. My phone number is listed all over my website because I’m a real person and that’s what real people do. Prospects have called me first. However, if I’m elbows deep in a client project (or sound asleep in bed), the call may go to voicemail.
So, be prepared to talk to my machine!
I’m really looking forward to talking directly to you about your very important project. My goal is to help you be as successful as possible.
It’s what I do… it’s who I am.
Hey, want to talk it over with your team before you schedule a call? No problem. Scroll down until you see the little printer icon on the left. If you click it, you can either print this page out or save it to a PDF. Then, share it with them!
I’ll be here when you’re ready to talk.
Fayetteville, Arkansas USA