By John Murphy, CEO, Prime Creative Media
The case study is one of the most powerful tools available in B2B Marketing. It’s the ideal way to explain, in a practical and tangible way, how your products or services work, by having your clients do your talking for you. It’s social proof to prospects that working with you will help them improve their business.
It’s a win-win because it also gives your clients exposure. Many companies will go a lifetime without being able to have their story documented and professionally published. Working with your clients on content can bring you closer together and give you both greater coverage in the market.
In our experience working with thousands of companies in Australia on B2B marketing strategies, case studies should form a key component of any marketing strategy. Here are our four steps to creating successful case studies:
Step 1: Choose a reputable trade publication
Reputable trade publications are best placed to work with you on a case study. They have the industry knowledge to produce quality content. They know what will be of interest to readers. They have highly qualified journalists who make it easy for you, by coordinating with your team and clients, picking topics that will be of interest to readers, and sending through drafts to review before final print. Don’t work with companies that ask you to provide the content. An important part of a commercial partnership with a trade publication is to have their writers support you.
Step 2: Pick an ideal client
If you’ve never thought about your ideal client , now is a great time to do that. Who is the perfect kind of client for your business? Which people, at which companies, do you have the most success with? Choose someone at a company that best embodies your ideal client, and offer them the opportunity. Don’t be tempted to just pick your highest spender. Think about future clients reading the story and who they can most relate to.
Step 3: Trust the writing process
The best results are the stories where journalists do telephone or video conference interviews, where conversation is allowed to flow. Avoid email questions and answers. Although the article is part of a commercial arrangement, it shouldn’t be treated as advertising. The final product should come off as if the writer has just come across these amazing two companies, following the publication’s style. Let your clients and the journalist tell your story, you are there to provide background and information. The best trade publications will ensure both you and the client fully approve the story before it goes to print, so trust the writing process. You can best support the writer by checking for accuracy at the end, and provide background information where needed.
Step 4: Follow-through
Once the story comes out, be sure to organise extra copies of the magazine to send to your client. You can have it printed large, framed and sent to them, they will appreciate the thought. Be sure your sales team have copies of the article they can send to prospective clients to encourage conversations. While you may get some direct leads from the case study, you should mainly be treating the story as a tool for your sales and marketing team to spread far and wide. For your prospects, it will be an educational resource they can use to improve their market knowledge and operations. Down the track, when they encounter a similar problem, they will remember the story, and you’ll be in the best place to secure the sale.
Prime Creative Media has built its business on telling the success stories of our clients to help them grow their businesses, and the industries we serve. Contact us today to find out more about how we can work with you.