The 1-2-3 Guide to Writing Case Studies (B2B and Agency Special)
What better to show prospects the value of your solutions than by sharing how they’re already working for your current clients? Case studies are a tried-and-true method B2B companies use to do just that.
Writing a case study, however, is more than just putting together some quick KPI numbers. You want to make your prospective clients feel a real connection by sharing a client story that they can relate to — one that helps them envision how your agency can help them achieve similar results.
In the sections that follow, we’ll cover how to write a case study that’s effective for B2B agencies. You’ll learn:
- Why B2B agencies write case studies
- How to choose the right clients to feature in your case studies
- 8 steps for writing a case study that earns high ROI
Let’s dive in!
- B2B buyers trust online reviews and testimonials just as much as referrals.
- Case studies should always tell a compelling story and focus on client pain points.
- Always get client permission before featuring them in a case study.
- Visual content highlights important information and makes your case study content more memorable.
- Always include clear CTAs that guide prospects toward the next step in the sales process.
Why do B2B agencies write case studies?
It’s no secret that word-of-mouth marketing is a critical part of B2B lead generation. But did you also know that prospective clients trust the word of your current clients — even if they don’t know them? In fact, 88% of B2B buyers report that they’re just as likely to trust online reviews and testimonials as those they receive from colleagues, friends, and family.
Case studies enable companies to control part of the narrative around what clients say about their business. They create opportunities for sharing success stories and backing up the value propositions marketed to prospects.
Most importantly, case studies build credibility and trust with your potential clients. They play an important role in the bottom of the funnel as you work to nurture and convert leads into paying clients.
For agencies, case studies have the unique purpose of demonstrating how your services can help clients achieve desired outcomes. Agencies ask clients to make an investment that goes beyond a single product purchase, and case studies demonstrate to prospects why their investment will be worthwhile (and how it already has been to your current clients).
Choosing the right clients to feature in a case study
So how do you choose the right clients? Most obviously, you want to choose clients who have achieved exceptional outcomes thanks to their investment in your products and services. There are a few other considerations to keep in mind, too, including:
- What type of new client are you trying to attract? Feature clients in your case studies that have similar profiles and needs.
- What are your goals related to your case studies? For example, maybe you’re trying to sell more of a particular product, or boost a new service you offer. In those cases, choose clients using those products and services.
- Which target audiences do you want to reach? As with any other smart marketing strategy, it’s a bad idea to take a one-size-fits-all approach to writing case studies. Choose clients that align with your target audiences. This might mean a diverse set of clients to reach many audiences, or several clients that fit into one target group.
Case studies can be time-intensive and even require time from your current clients. It is worthwhile to review your ideal client profiles, buyer personas, and marketing and sales goals before you begin new case study projects so that you can be sure you invest your time and resources in the right places.
How to write a case study: 8 important steps
Case studies shouldn’t read like academic documents or whitepapers. After all, you’re trying to create a connection with potential clients that makes them want to act. To do it, you need to do more than just share facts and figures.
Your case study should tell a compelling story that demonstrates where your client was before they engaged with your company, how the transformation occurred, and how the client is still benefiting from your solutions.
An important tip to remember: always make your client the hero of the story, not your agency. The value of your solutions will come through in the outcomes your client achieved.
Focus on client pain points
Pain points are the problems, challenges, and needs faced by your client base. Focusing on pain points is a sure way to make your potential clients feel understood and demonstrate how your agency can help them solve problems.
As it applies to case studies, this means focusing less on the features and benefits of your solutions and more on the customer experience. Again, it’s important to trust that your value will come through in the demonstrated results.
Here’s a simple example that shows how to think about pain points vs. solutions:
Talk to the client being featured
Most happy clients are willing to be featured in case studies, but you should never assume. Further, some clients may want to remain anonymous and/or leave out proprietary information they don’t want made public.
As a best practice, always ask your client’s permission to include them in a case study. Go over the content with them before you publish. Even better, involve them in the process by interviewing them or asking for specifics that demonstrate the results they’ve experienced.
We know now that case studies should tell a compelling story. That said, hard numbers that highlight important KPIs should be threaded throughout. Using statistics and showing results against KPI goals backs up your larger value proposition and shows prospective clients that you’re sharing objectively true information.
Think specifically about the KPIs that will be most important to each target client. This depends largely on the type of agency you are. A content marketing agency, for example, will focus on organic traffic and search rankings, while a sales prospecting agency (like Revboss!) will focus on leads and conversions.
Use visual content to show results
Visual content makes complex information digestible and showcases results in a more memorable way. In your case studies, include charts, graphs, images, and other visual content that breaks up your text and highlights the most important information.
It’s worthwhile to work with a professional designer to create a strong visual design for your case study. You can also find examples and templates online to help inspire you, like this list of design tips and templates from Venngage (like the example below).
Make it readable
Did you know that the American Marketing Association recommends web content be written at an 8th grade reading level? The truth is, overcomplicating content with long sentences, jargon, and other unnecessary text only discourages people from reading your content. Keep your case study narratives simple and straightforward for maximum readability.
Promote it on different channels
The work isn’t over after you write your case study! Promoting it through your marketing and sales channels is an important part of getting the highest possible ROI. Ideas for promoting your case study include:
- Publishing them on your blog and/or create a dedicated page for your case study library.
- Make them part of a lead/prospect nurturing email series.
- Share them with your sales team as part of their sales enablement content.
- Amplify them even more by sharing on social media.
Last but definitely not least: include calls-to-action (CTAs) in your case studies that tell readers what to do next. Without CTAs, you risk losing interested leads and prospects simply because they don’t want or know how to take further action. CTAs (with links to the appropriate forms or pages) make it easy for them to act.
Over to You
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