Case studies are a crucial element to win over potential customers. They use a careful balance of relatable emotions and tangible results to persuade your target audience that you’re the real deal. In fact, they’re even the preferred content format of B2B buyers.
Case studies are highly effective, because they give you an opportunity to highlight testimonials in order to build credibility, social proof, and trust. And not to mention: A thorough and well-written case study leads to more qualified leads and shorter sales cycles.
Put it all together and you get the ultimate winning trio: brand awareness, customer loyalty, and business growth.
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But, what are the most essential components you need in a case study to truly convince your B2B tech customers?
Let’s take a look!
#1 Add an executive summary at the top
You know how the business world works lately: hopping from a multi-person Slack conversation, to 3 back to back Zoom meetings, to a 2 hour push to get your email inbox to zero. We are all legitimately this busy, which means that your customers don’t have the time to sift through 217 pages of a case study during the wee hours of the night.
So, make it easy for them to find what they’re looking for by plopping an executive summary at the top of the page or case study document.
Here’s what the executive summary should point out in a maximum of 30 seconds:
- Your client’s company profile
- Their challenges your company solved
- The solution that resolved these challenges (often your product or service)
- Quantitative and qualitative results
Furthermore, be sure to also include short descriptions of the client’s industry and what tools or tech you used to help.
#2 Share your common ground with your client
Customers want to know your business in its entirety. They want the whole story. Your case study should not only be one piece of the puzzle or an endorsement from one company. It should be the collective story of other businesses who have similar struggles as your case study client.
Research what the company in your case study has in common with your potential customers and highlight that.
Once they acknowledge they have the same or similar problem, it’ll be easier for them to seek solutions through your business, because they feel more connected to you. They’ll think, “wow that tech company had a pretty rocky start, but they got those results, so I’m ready to sign up!”
#3 Describe the top benefits achieved
Don’t bury your results or hide them behind jargon and complicated stats. Even though you’re the expert, everyone else may not know the exact terminology you’re used to. So instead, try featuring the benefits your customer had and how your unique product or service grew their business. Numbers do matter, but they should always be displayed tastefully and effectively.
It’s a good idea to prop up your stats with direct quotes from your customers, because this is what ties in the emotional element with the logical. Prepare your interview questionnaire ahead of time to get the enthusiastic quotes you need.
Use specific interview questions about your partnership like:
- How has [insert your product or service] helped you to overcome the challenges you were facing before?
- What is your favorite feature of our product/service?
- What sort of metrics can you share with us that showcase how you’ve grown?
Furthermore, highlight the concrete benefits of your product or service and relate them to the overall business growth. This ties in the big picture and reveals how your business has been an instrumental part of their journey.
#4 Make it skimmable
A case study shouldn’t be like reading a book report in high school.
You need to use copy and design best practices to display the most important elements by including:
- Bullet points
- Large, easy-to-read text
- Boxes to highlight important information
- Quality images
All these details add to the experience of reading and immersing in your case study. Think about the last time you read a blog and it wasn’t separated by bullet points or smaller paragraphs. You most likely clicked out of it, because it was like slogging through an endless mudbath of text.
To illustrate how simple case studies can be, Levi’s made a micro case study with Instagram with large numbers, and a nice bold phone image to intrigue their readers. Another example is Unified’s case study on Linkedin, which utilized plenty of large images to separate the information.
#5 Always use a clear call to action
After seeing how your business can help theirs through the case study, your customers need a strong and clear call to action. What’s next? How do they get started? Leave them with options like:
- Start your free trial
- Book a demo
- Fill out this form to ask a question
Call to actions are one of the most critical components to include in your case study, because they guide your leads on where to go next. They are expecting a call to action, so if it’s not there it can confuse them, causing them to click out of your website.
The point being, don’t skimp on your call to action.
Why you need to prioritize developing case studies
Not only are case studies important because they’re the leading form of consumable content in the B2B tech industry as a whole, they display your company in a different light. Case studies highlight your unique selling points and interactions with your customers simultaneously. Since they’re written in a narrative format with skimmable sections, your target audience will feel secure knowing your business has all the tools they need to succeed.