February 7, 2019
Many of you are aware of the fact that Oprah really loves bread, thanks to a popular Weight Watchers case study.
This example, and that of Jared from Subway, show how powerful (and memorable) case studies can be.
Case studies work so well because they market to consumers by telling a story. And not just any story — they use real-life client experiences to show how a company can solve specific problems.
In fact, nearly 63% of US marketers agreed that client case studies were one of the top tools they used for generating leads.
People love to see results, almost as much as they love stories. So, a well-told story combined with a result is the key to the jackpot.
Best of all, case studies work for many different types of businesses – both B2C and B2B.
If you aren’t sold on case studies yet, here are four reasons to make them a part of your marketing strategy in 2019.
1. Case Studies Tell the Story of Your Brand
Telling potential clients what you can do is okay. But, proving it to them with examples is what converts leads into customers.
Weight Watchers can tell us time and time again how their program can help with weight loss. However, what makes them successful is the proven results of their clients.
They use a Success Stories option on their website’s main menu to tell us how Whitney became a better role model for her daughters, how Josh found his stride, and even how Jordan got his game back.
Through these stories, we learn about the individual experiences. But, we also learn about the Weight Watchers brand. We find out that it is a flexible points-based system that gives its customers the freedom to choose their diets.
The story element is what makes us consume the information without even being aware we are being marketed to.
This is why case studies do an excellent job at helping potential customers see how investing in a businesses’ solution can cause an improvement for themselves, or for their business.
2. Case Studies Give Your Company Authority
Producing a case study is a great way to establish authority in your field of business.
A case study outlines a problem your audience typically faces, the potential solutions, and then details why your business’ solution is the best choice.
In other words, a case study uses your customer’s words to explain why your business is the expert on solving a particular issue.
The production of this material helps to establish your company as a leader in industry, which plays a role in differentiating your company from competing businesses.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes for a moment. Your company is in the market for a new accounting firm.
You have two options.
The first company has provided several documents showing how their solutions saved similar businesses money on taxes each year. They include in-depth information on how their service benefits companies just like yours, and use the personal stories of current customers.
The other company simply lists their benefits.
Which one would you choose?
Most would choose the first one because the information provided makes it easier to trust that this company can provide a quality product or service.
The trust that comes along with brand authority is very important for reaching new audiences, as well as for maintaining your customer base.
This brand authority means that persons will feel more confident about spending their money with your company.
3. Case Studies Build Audience Trust Through Social Proof
Potential customers want to hear from your clients, not from your business.
Unlike your business, your customers have very little to gain by sharing their story about your product or service. This is why the stories and experiences of real-life clients create a higher level of trust among potential clients.
In fact, research has shown that almost 70 percent of online shoppers seek out product reviews before deciding on a purchase. And when they consult consumer reviews, they are 12 times more trusted, compared to the sales copy from manufacturers.
Think back on a time when you were looking for a new restaurant to try. Did you go directly to the restaurant’s website, or did you use a website like Yelp or Google to read reviews?
The majority of persons will go to reviews first.
Many big brands are taking advantage of the power of social proof. E-commerce companies like Amazon and Walmart have integrated consumer reviews directly into their websites.
But, you don’t have to be a big brand to take advantage of social proof.
Case studies are an excellent way to showcase the value of your company. Through one person’s story, a case study can address concerns that your wider target audience faces.
By showing how your current customers are profiting from your product or service, it will be easier to persuade others to make a purchase and experience the benefits for themselves.
4. Case Studies Answer the Top Questions of Decision-makers
Because case studies describe common problems of one of your target demographics, the persons that are most likely to read through your case study are those who will fall into one of your target markets.
You can save time in the sales cycle by being upfront with common issues, and immediately providing answers on how your company can solve them.
This is perhaps one of the reasons why marketers rated case studies as most effective in the later stages of the sales cycle.
Unlike many other marketing tools, case studies take a bit more time and effort to produce. However, consider how many more leads you could be converting by telling your brand story, establishing your brand’s authority, and building audience trust.
Case studies have an unlimited amount of potential for your business. But, creating them is only one part of the process. You need to distribute them for max results.
The good thing about case studies is that they are considered evergreen content – meaning that they can stay relevant for much longer than typical marketing pieces.
You can get the most value from them by re-using the content in different formats on all of your channels.
You can post snippets on your social media accounts, on your website, in emails, as blog posts, and video content. They can even be used as a tool to motivate your team.
Will you be integrating case studies into your marketing strategy this year?
Thea Johnson is a freelance content writer and marketing professional with a passion for helping businesses excel in their digital marketing efforts.