No matter what industry you’re in, one of your potential customers’ main concerns is whether your business can solve their problems and deliver on promises made through your digital marketing efforts. Any company can claim its products or services are the best in its class, which is why so many consumers turn to online reviews in their decision-making process.
While reviews may not paint a complete picture of your brand, you can further demonstrate your business’s value to prospective customers with other complementary strategies like case studies. Here’s how your business can use case studies to build a story around your products and services and reap the benefits of case studies in content marketing.
What Are Case Studies and When Should You Use Them?
A case study is an in-depth analysis of one event, group, or person to examine any patterns or causes of behavior. In marketing, a case study can be a piece of content that shares how your product, service, or brand has helped a specific client succeed. By telling customers' stories, your case studies illustrate how working with your company addressed their most pressing issues and solved their problems.
Case studies in marketing generally follow a particular formula, which includes some standard sections:
- Backstory: Describe your client’s history and their main product or service.
- Problem: Explain the problem the client came to you to address.
- Proposed solution: Give a detailed description of the solution your company proposed to solve the client’s dilemma.
- Execution: Outline the step-by-step process of how you implemented the strategy for this client.
- Results: Describe the client’s outcome in as much detail as possible with statistics, data, and quotes from the client.
- Conclusion: Close out the case study report by describing how these methods can help other clients with similar problems.
When should you use case studies? These marketing tools are beneficial when answering a “how” or “why” question. This strategy is so effective that you can apply it in many ways. Types of case studies you may encounter include the branding case study and social media marketing case study.
Organizations often use digital marketing case studies to demonstrate they have practical and effective solutions to a problem. Case studies are also effective for illustrating complex personal or business concepts.
Top 13 Benefits of Using Case Studies in Content Marketing
Case studies might sound like overly scientific content, which may come across as boring, but these aren’t necessarily technical documents. Like your other content marketing pieces, advertising case studies aim to showcase how your brand has helped a particular client.
There are many advantages to using case studies as part of your marketing strategy. Here are the top 13 benefits of case studies in content marketing.
1. Demonstrate Success in a Real-Life Context
A case study is basically a play-by-play of how one of your real-life customers recognized they had a challenge and found what products or services you offer that could help. It details why they chose your brand and how your business specifically helped them solve their issue.
Your business might have an active social media profile and blog, both of which are excellent digital marketing strategies. A service or product case study is yet another way to show off what your company does. This type of content can help you connect with your target audience by having them imagine themselves as part of the story.
2. Build Credibility and Trust With Social Proof
Most humans want to feel a sense of belonging and require some level of socialization. Because of this, other people influence our purchasing decisions, either subconsciously or consciously. In other words, savvy consumers are unwilling to trust what marketers say over actual customers’ honest opinions and experiences.
You can use case studies to help boost your brand’s credibility through real-life examples. According to Big Commerce, 72% of consumers say positive testimonials increase their trust in a business. Because case studies are data-focused and include a client's comments, they offer social proof that someone has used your product or service to solve a particular issue.
3. Educate Your Customers With Your Study Findings
Among the pros of case studies is that they can educate your prospective customers about your findings. The testimonial aspects of case studies are great, but it’s the cold, hard data conveyed through real-life stories that create “a-ha moments” that help readers make more informed purchasing decisions.
For example, assume a prospective client was searching for a logistics management company with specific expertise in omnichannel fulfillment, and your business just happens to work with several clients who fulfill orders in-store and via the warehouse. Your case study describing the experience of one of these clients can illustrate how you addressed their needs and provide data for how you helped them cut costs and improve efficiency. These study findings, backed by real-life results, are an amazing sales tool.
4. Generate High-Quality Leads
Case studies can play a vital role in the sales process and help businesses generate more high-quality leads. For the best results, decide which products or services you want to promote and focus on one or two key benefits in each case study.
In addition to describing your customer’s problem and how your product or service provided an ideal solution, include the customer’s words in everyday contexts. Your case study should include direct quotes and specific results to resonate with readers and generate leads that will convert.
5. Move Your Prospective Customers Along the Buyer's Journey
The buyer’s journey is a sales funnel showing how a prospective customer behaves at each stage of the purchasing process. It consists of three stages: awareness, consideration, and decision. Case studies can effectively resonate with your target audience at any point along the buyer's journey.
Case study questions and answers can lead potential customers further down the sales funnel as they become aware of your business, consider your brand a potential solution to their key issues, and decide to purchase a solution.
6. Give Your Sales Team Tools To Overcome Bias and Convert
When your business has its own sales team, one of its functions is to interact with prospects and help them overcome any biases or objections. For example, maybe your business isn’t as established as a competitor or your prices are slightly higher.
Case studies are bonafide proof that your business delivers the value it claims despite these common objections. Your sales team can share how and why your products or services work using real-life examples that lend credibility to your claims.
7. Create Shareable Content To Adapt to Multiple Formats
Coming up with varying types of shareable content can be a challenge for many businesses. But long-form content, like case studies, provides your business with prime material you can repurpose in many ways to post across various platforms.
You can create both written and video case studies, which are content pieces that reach different audiences. You can use parts of each case study evaluation as individual blog posts, newsletter material, and case study social media posts to increase engagement and drive traffic to your website.
8. Improve SEO With E-E-A-T Content
If you want to maximize your search engine optimization efforts, consider including case studies as part of your content strategy. Google tends to reward pages that depict firsthand experience with a product or service, such as a case analysis.
The acronym E-E-A-T is short for experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. Moz found that only 14% of consumers trust what brands say about themselves as much as they trust direct user experiences. According to Google, pages with high E-E-A-T are considered trustworthy.
9. Gain a Competitive Edge by Showing Your USP
In today’s competitive landscape, your business must stand out from its peers. This is another area where case studies can shine as they can highlight your business’s unique selling proposition, which is one or more things that set your brand apart from its competitors.
Case studies allow your business to showcase its unique methodology or approach to solving its customer's problems. When you highlight your company’s strengths by describing real-world situations, you help prospects realize why you’re the best choice, even in the most crowded field.
10. Increase Engagement Through Storytelling
Stories have been used to engage and captivate audiences for thousands of years, and they continue to work through various forms of digital marketing. People are attracted to stories, which can be massively effective for conveying information and building an emotional connection with your target audience.
Case studies can be integral to your content marketing and storytelling strategy. They illustrate the impact and value of your product or service in an engaging and relatable way. By using an actual customer’s experience, the reader can envision themselves in a similar situation and see how your solution can also help them.
11. Demonstrate Thought Leadership in Your Industry
Thought leadership is a form of content marketing that establishes your brand’s position as an authority and expert within your industry. The goal of thought leadership marketing is not to produce sales-focused content but to provide visibility for your brand and position you as an expert.
Case studies are ideal options for demonstrating thought leadership within your industry. Consumers want to do business with brands they view as experienced, knowledgeable, and trustworthy. One recent study found that 47% of B2B decision-makers discovered new brands through thought leadership content.
12. Provide Your Business With a Steady ROI for the Long-Term
Return on investment should be a vital consideration for your digital marketing strategies. SEO and content marketing have a high ROI because they are long-term strategies that will continue to benefit your business for years to come.
Case studies offer your prospects valuable insights as they navigate the buyer’s journey. Provided your company’s products and services don’t change substantially over time, your critical analysis can continue to drive traffic and conversions for your company long term.
13. Identify Best Practices for Prospects To Make Better Business Decisions
When businesses face serious challenges, one way they investigate solutions is by seeing how other companies overcame similar obstacles. Case studies for businesses are valuable because they help prospective customers identify potential solutions to their problems.
Many case studies include hard data, such as money or time saved by implementing a particular solution. This type of data can guide prospects to contact your company and make more informed business decisions based on others’ experiences.
Why Should Case Studies Be a Priority for Your Business Next Year?
A stunning 69% of consumers consult a search engine when researching products, services, and brands. If they don’t like what they find, they’ll quickly move on to another option. The many benefits listed here highlight the importance of case studies in building trust and boosting your brand’s authority.
When we asked followers on LinkedIn what type of content they planned to prioritize in the new year, 40% said “Customer Stories,” which are ideal subjects for case studies. People can use stories to picture themselves in similar situations and see how your brand can solve their problems.
Drive a Successful Content Strategy With Great Customer Stories
Successfully reaping the benefits of case studies doesn’t happen spontaneously. Content marketers need to identify the right customer stories and frame them in a way that will engage and inspire their target audience.
Because case studies follow a specific formula to be most effective, tackling this type of content yourself might not be at the top of your list. Fortunately, professional case study writers and subject matter experts can address this particular pain point for your business.
To get help with this process, connect with Compose.ly’s Case Study Writing Service. When you work with seasoned content strategists on your company’s case studies, you will get the results you need.