When you hear or see the words “case study” you might become filled with an instantaneous, gripping sense of dread. You might run in the opposite direction (or the internet equivalent – click away) as quickly as possible. And who could blame you? The traditional case study is so boring, you might as well be asking someone to read a fifth grade book report.
(You knew there was a ‘but’ coming didn’t you?)
Don’t dismiss the book report case study quite so fast.
Case studies can actually be an incredibly effective marketing tool, because – and here’s a novel idea – they don’t HAVE to be boring.
We all know that ‘word-of-mouth’ is one of the most powerful forms of marketing. Well, when a case study is done right it can both tell a compelling story, and perform the same function as an enthusiastic, word-of-mouth endorsement.
These Are Still A Thing?
Yes, case studies are really still a thing. In fact, in this new age of content marketing, case studies have taken on a whole new life and significance.
According to report from the Content Marketing Institute, case studies are considered the second most important marketing tactic for B2B businesses, with 82% of marketers saying that they use case studies in their B2B efforts. Perhaps that’s because of their other findings with case studies – that they are the third most effective tactic in B2B efforts, ranking closely behind In-person Events and Webinars. In a separate study, LinkedIn also found that case studies were in the top three most commonly used B2B marketing strategies, neck-and-neck with blogging and social media.
So yes, it turns out that companies still utilize case studies, and do so kind of a lot. There must be some reason why…
Using creative, valuable content has become one of the most effective go-to’s in marketing strategy these days. Because people (and search engines) are hungry for content on the web, it’s a strategy that works for almost any kind of business.
But the reality is that some companies have an easier time coming up with content than others. Certain businesses and industries naturally lend themselves to a constant stream of fresh material. But for those businesses that don’t, consistently coming up with new and interesting topics to blog about, post on social media about, or otherwise create original content for, can be a real challenge.
Case studies can be a great resource in those situations, as they create a vehicle for lengthy, totally original content that also highlights some of the best aspects of a business. Not only is the case study itself content that can be utilized, but you can write blog and social media posts about case studies, as well as use that same material to make videos, podasts, etc.
Business In Action
Just as some businesses are easier to write blog posts for, some businesses are more accessible to unfamiliar parties. Everybody knows what a coffee shop does. But a company that develops technologically advanced systems for medical professionals to perform specific tasks more effectively in emergency environments… not quite as easy to wrap your head around.
Have you ever tried to explain the rules of a game to somebody only to be told, “I’ll just pick it up once we start playing.” No matter how hard you try, some people are just never going to understand a theoretical explanation of something – they have to see it in action. Like that old writing adage “show, don’t tell,” that’s what a good case study can do.
You can dedicate dozens of pages of your website and blog to explaining your company’s goals and services, but there’s nothing quite like giving people a great example of how you’ve interacted with a client and SHOWING them what you do.
One of the best things about case studies is the way they naturally lend themselves toward being documents loaded with relevant keywords for your business, making them basically like SEO catnip – search engines go nuts for them.
Think about it. A case study will highlight specific problems, goals, solutions and services of your company, all the while using the most relevant words for your business, over and over and over again. And it’s more effective than a keyword-stuffed blog post because they are organic, and truly relevant to the content at hand.
Your Words, Not Mine
No matter how savvy you are at describing and promoting your own company or services, some people are just going to get turned off when things turn self-promotional and they fear they are being “sold to.”
A good case study skirts around this issue, because ultimately, you aren’t the one doing the selling. A case study gives a real world example of what you do without you having to make a whole pitch, and hopefully, you’ll also be able to include quotes and testimonials from your client, which put the effectiveness of your methods and strategies into their words.
How do you go about getting these testimonials and quotes? Well, you ask. You might feel a little strange about the request at first, but the case study isn’t just good for you. By highlighting a problem solved for your client or a goal that they are on their way toward achieving, you are also writing a great PR piece for them. Who wouldn’t be on board for that?
Need help crafting a creative and compelling case study template to showcase your results? Want to discuss overall business strategy to take 2017 and run with it? Contact us today!