As marketers, we need to create a blend of content types to reach audiences throughout the buyer’s journey to stay top of mind and guide them to our solution.
The journey they go through (in simple terms) looks like this:
- Buyer recognizes a real or perceived need or problem
- Buyer looks for options for a solution/provider
- Buyer selects a solution and/or provider
- If satisfied, buyer stays with solution and/or provider and shares story
And their journey can be mapped to the marketing funnel:
- Buyer has a need or problem: awareness
- Buyer looks for a solution/provider: consideration
- Buyer selects a solution and/or provider: decision
- If satisfied, buyer stays with solution and/or provider and shares story: advocacy
In the consideration stage – when buyers are comparing solutions and providers to solve their problem – case studies are a highly effective piece of your content strategy. Here are five reasons why:
1. Case studies are social proof.
More and more people are leveraging their social network, or advice from strangers to identify a solution for their problems. In fact, 93% of consumers say that online reviews influenced their purchase decisions. This means that potential buyers will likely view a case study as a review from a peer. It provides them with confirmation that another buyer entrusted your organization to provide them with a solution, product, or service that had great results.
2. They convey a story of success.
To the same tone, case studies are an excellent way to show that you’ve solved a similar challenge in the past. You’ll be able to gain trust faster if you can convey that what your buyer wants is not out of the ordinary for you to accomplish.
By painting a picture of what success looks like in a real-world example, buyers will be interested in learning how you can do the same for them.
3. They establish you as an authority figure.
With multiple case studies related to one topic or area, you begin to elevate yourself as an expert and thought leader in that space. It will give your buyers the confidence that you are well-established in the space they’re searching for and have the experience under your belt to lead them through it.
4. Case studies highlight your approach to solving a problem.
When structured well, case studies can be an effective way of putting your process on display. This means highlighting the key points in your process and conveying it in an easy-to-read manner.
Pro tip: Aim to convey a story with your case study, with defined sections that walk your viewers through a buyer’s journey. A simple approach could look like this: the challenge, your insight into the challenge, your solution with tactics to solve the challenge, the results you achieved with your solution in place.
5. They are highly versatile.
Case studies should be presented and leveraged in a variety of formats. Whether it’s email marketing or blog content, leveraging case studies in a variety of ways is more effective than one way, because people consume information in different ways. By adapting to a variety of formats and channels, you’ll satisfy the varying expectations of your target audience.
Since they’re versatile, case studies can be used by marketing and sales teams. Marketing can leverage them as downloadable content or clickable links via social or email marketing, whereas sales can use case studies as a call follow-up, demo asset, or presentation slides. They’re a versatile asset for both sales and marketing and help foster the full buyer’s journey – from awareness to decision.
Speaking of versatility, there are many ways to use case studies in your content marketing efforts, so we’ve shared seven with you:
1. Create a designated space for them on your website
Your website is typically the first step in your buyer’s search, so keeping your case studies front and center is a great way to get them interested in learning more. It’s important to have an easy path to the case studies, with a clear CTA to them, such as: Work We’ve Done, Our Clients, How We Provided X for Y, Our Solution for X, and more.
2. Write about case studies in your blog
Blog posts are a great place to dive in further on the success you achieved for a client. You’re able to give your point of view, more in-depth analysis and insight, and add some personability to the case study – a great content and storytelling opportunity.
3. Post them to your social media platforms
Like your website, your social media channels are an extension of your brand (and your content marketing plan). This means you should be sharing your case studies with your followers so that they’re up to date on what you’re achieving in a certain space.
Keep them highly visual with minimal text on social and link the full case study to your website in your bio, so that you capture their attention and allow them to learn more if they’re interested.
At RDW Group, we have a Case Study Café – a communal spot in our office where our team chats about our client success stories. We capture each of them on video and share it on our website as well as our social channels so that we can reach people where they like to consume information about us.
4. Distribute case studies in your emails and newsletter
If you have an email nurture campaign set up, you can include an email that’s designated for case studies. Typically, these email nurture campaigns include audiences that are already in your CRM, or they’re people you’re aiming to work with, so including your case study as an email is a great way to encourage email opens and clicks, and ultimately, interest in learning more.
Another great spot for case studies is your company newsletter. You can rotate your case studies based on the category or service area you’d like to highlight each month or quarter and have them linked to your website so that you can track which ones receive more traction than others.
5. Include them in eBooks and landing pages
Include your case studies in thought leadership pieces like eBooks and white papers, or lead capture strategies like landing pages. Both channels are effective, because people typically have to enter their information to download an eBook or fill out their information to get something on a landing page, so they’re great places to tease out information about a case study that may spark them to want to know more.
6. Create a video case study that walks through the story
Video content is popular, because it gives viewers a more visual experience than reading copy. Therefore, start recording a video with your team that walks your audiences through the story of how you solved a client’s problem.
Keep your videos short and leverage your smartphone if you don’t have any video equipment – it doesn’t take a significant amount of time or resources to snap a video that goes viral in today’s video-driven world.
7. Repurpose them into mini content snapshots
Quotes, testimonials, data points – all viable ways to repurpose the long-form case study content into digestible, bite-sized pieces of content. Some audiences prefer a quick fact or proof point over extensive content, so by having this variety, you’ll be able to earn interest from a greater pool of prospective buyers.
Building Trust with Case Studies
Building a successful content marketing strategy can be complex, but it can be made a lot simpler by looking at where your content fits along the buyer’s journey to ensure that you’re guiding your audiences from awareness to advocacy.
Once a prospective buyer is nearing or within the consideration phase of the funnel, prioritize showing your case studies, in a variety of formats, so that they can trust that you’re more than capable of solving their problem – now and in the future.