Wednesday, May 21, 2014

5 Reasons Your Case Studies Fail – and How to Fix Them

There’s no better way for a Technology company to entice prospects and potential partners than with a customer case study. No other document can turn dealing with complex problems and solutions into insightful and sticky stories.

Yet, many organizations fail at this. In their rush to push out content, they omit one or several key elements that can make the difference between a so-so story and a long-term revenue booster.

If your customer case studies aren’t generating the buzz and results you want, read on.

Reason #1: There’s no story

B2B marketing is low-hype, but it doesn’t have to be a snooze fest. And your case studies are no exception. So don’t just post a laundry list of your customer’s pain points – engage readers from beginning to end using a simple format.

How to tell a story:

  • Don’t tease your audience – describe the problem early on. Capture them from the beginning and hold their attention to the end with a Challenge/Solution format.

  • Explain how your solutions helped solve their issues. Are processes more efficient? Is the staff more productive? Are they saving money? Nailing down exactly how you helped your customer tells your prospect that you can help him too.

  • How is your customer ready to address future issues? Describe how your solutions will help keep their business running flawlessly.

Reason #2: There are no customer quotes

The absence of customer quotes can make the difference between a credible story and a wishful tale that the prospect will doubt. Simply put, customer quotes add credibility. And integrating them into the story can underline the challenge, amplify the solution and punctuate the results better than a standalone narrative will.

Quotes also stand out and visually pull the reader in. So use them throughout the story and boost your chances of being selected as the vendor of choice.

How to capture sales-boosting quotes:

  • Interview the client and ask them concrete examples of how your solutions helped them and how you will continue to support them.

  • Ask open-ended questions and to describe concrete benefits of using your solutions.

  • Tell us about/how…?

  • Can you describe….?

  • Can you give me an example when…..?

  • How did this affect….?

Reason #3: There are no shared results

Have you backed up your customer’s claims? If you don’t share any evidence of your customer’s success, you’ll leave room for mistrust. Quotes may give your customer a voice, but measurable results can entice your reader to take the next step and connect with you.

How to capture results:

  • Describe life before your customer used your solution.

  • Show how your product or service makes their life easier.

  • Share your solution’s ROI.

  • Share money-saving or revenue-generating figures.

  • Describe how your solutions helped improve your customer’s processes.

Reason #4: You’re substituting with testimonials

Are you labelling 2-paragaph testimonials as case studies? You’re not fooling anyone. A seemingly subtle misrepresentation tells astute prospects that you don’t know the difference between the two and can even push them toward your competitor. Why take the risk?

Testimonials may be a short read, but they can’t replace the power that lies within a solid and authentic customer story.

How to drum up case study ideas:

  • Just landed a major client? Start laying the foundation now: gather customer intelligence, leverage their motivations and answer their needs to make securing customer stories easy.

  • Approach customers who’ve given recent testimonials and ask if they’d be interested in participating in a case study.

  • Ask sales or account reps for their input on the best candidates. After all, they’re customer experts!

  • Don’t ignore partners and resellers. Keeping strong relationships with them can help uncover experiences and insights that can enrich your stories.

Reason #5: There’s no marketing plan

Customer case studies are such versatile and hardworking documents, simply posting them on your website is a gross disservice to your organization. Here are some ways to boost your ROI while reinforcing your brand message.

Market your case study:

  • Use them as an opt-in offers to capture emails.

  • Offer copies at industry events to customers, prospects and partners.

  • Use them as door openers in prospecting.

  • Include them in your newsletters, annual reports and employee onboarding manuals.

  • Announce them in press releases, award submissions and contributed articles.

  • Optimize your title page for SEO.

  • Hyperlink relevant elements within the document to encourage visitor engagement.

Source: B2C_Business

5 Reasons Your Case Studies Fail – and How to Fix Them

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