How to Write Marketing Case Studies That Convert
Posted by kerryjones
In my final submit, I mentioned why your top funnel content shouldn’t be all about your brand. Right this moment I’m making a 180-degree flip and masking the worth of content material on the reverse finish of the spectrum: content material that’s straight about your small business and gives proof of your effectiveness.
Particularly, I’m speaking about case research.
I’m an enormous believer in investing in case research as a result of I’ve seen firsthand what occurred as soon as we began doing so at Fractl. Case research have been an enormous recreation changer for our B2B advertising efforts. For one, our case studies portfolio page brings in a whole lot of visitors – it’s the second most-visited web page on our website, apart from our residence web page. It additionally brings in a major quantity of natural visitors, being our fourth most-visited web page from natural searches. Most significantly, our case research are extremely efficient at changing guests to leads – about half of our leads view not less than considered one of our case research earlier than contacting us.
Assuming anybody who reads the Moz Weblog is performing some kind of promoting perform, I’m zeroing in on how to write a compelling advertising case examine that differentiates your service providing and pulls prospects down the gross sales funnel. Nonetheless, what I’m sharing can be utilized as a framework for creating case research in any business.
Get your shopper on board with a case examine
Entrepreneurs draw back from creating case research for a couple of causes:
- They’re too busy “within the weeds” with deliverables.
- They don’t suppose their outcomes are spectacular sufficient.
- They don’t have shoppers’ permission to create case research.
Whereas I can’t show you how to with #1 and #2 (it’s up to you to make the time and to get the outcomes deserving of a case examine!), I do have some recommendation on #three.
In an ideal world, shoppers would encourage you to share each little element of your time working collectively. In actuality, most shoppers count on you to stay tight-lipped in regards to the work you’ve carried out for them.
Understandably, this may discourage you from creating any case research. But it surely shouldn’t.
With some compromising, likelihood is your shopper might be recreation for a case examine. We’ve observed the next two objections are widespread relating to case research.
Consumer objection 1: “We don’t need to share particular numbers.”
At first it it’s possible you’ll suppose, “Why trouble?” if a shopper tells you this, however don’t let it maintain you again. (Reality is, nearly all of your shoppers will most likely really feel this manner).
On this occasion, you’ll need your case examine to deal with highlighting the technique and describing tasks, whereas steering away from displaying particular numbers relating to brief and long-term outcomes. Consider it or not, the answer a part of the case examine will be simply as, or extra, compelling than the outcomes. (I’ll get to that shortly.)
And don’t fear, you don’t have to utterly pass over the outcomes. A method to get round not sharing precise numbers however nonetheless displaying outcomes is to use development percentages.
Particular numbers: “Grew natural visitors from 5,000 to 7,500 guests per thirty days”
Development proportion: “Elevated natural visitors by 150%”
We do that for many of our case research at Fractl, and our shoppers are completely tremendous with it.
Consumer objection 2: “We don’t need to reveal our advertising technique to rivals.”
A worry of making a gift of an excessive amount of intel to rivals is very widespread in extremely aggressive niches.
So how do you get round this?
Maintain it nameless. Don’t reveal who the shopper is and maintain it imprecise about what area of interest they’re in. This may be as ambiguous as referring to the shopper as “Consumer A” or barely extra particular (“our shopper within the auto business”). As a substitute, the case examine will deal with the method and outcomes – that is what your prospects care about, anyway.
Collect completely different views
Until you have been straight working with the shopper who you might be writing the case examine about, you will have to conduct a couple of interviews to get a full image of the who, what, how, and why of the engagement. At Fractl, our advertising workforce places collectively case research primarily based on interviews with shoppers and the interior workforce who labored on the shopper’s account.
Organize an interview with the shopper, both on a name or through e mail. If in case you have a number of contacts inside the shopper’s workforce, interview the primary level of contact who has been essentially the most concerned within the engagement.
What to ask:
- What problem have been you going through that you just employed us to assist with?
- Had you beforehand tried to remedy this problem (working with one other vendor, utilizing inner assets, and many others.)?
- What have been your objectives for the engagement?
- How did you profit from the engagement (short-term and long-term outcomes, sudden wins, and many others.)?
You’ll additionally need to run the case examine draft by the shopper earlier than publishing it, which gives one other probability for his or her suggestions.
The challenge workforce
Who was answerable for this shopper’s account? Converse with the workforce behind the technique and execution.
What to ask:
- How was the technique fashioned? Had been strategic choices made primarily based in your expertise and experience, aggressive analysis, and many others.?
- What challenge(s) have been launched as a part of the technique? What was essentially the most profitable challenge?
- Had been there any sudden points that you just overcame?
- Did you refine the technique to enhance outcomes?
- How did you and the shopper work collectively? Was there a whole lot of collaboration or was the shopper extra hands-off? (Many potential shoppers are inquisitive about what their degree of involvement in your course of would seem like.)
- What did you study throughout the engagement? Any takeaways?
Embrace the three essential parts of a case examine
There’s multiple manner to package deal case research, however essentially the most convincing ones all have one thing in widespread: nice storytelling. To make sure you’re telling a correct narrative, your case examine ought to embody the battle, the decision, and the blissful ending (however not essentially on this order).
We discover a case examine is most compelling whenever you get straight to the purpose, fairly than making somebody learn all the case examine earlier than seeing the outcomes. To seize readers’ consideration, we start with a fast overview of conflict-resolution-happy ending proper within the introduction.
For instance, in our Fanatics case study, we summarized essentially the most pertinent particulars within the first three paragraphs. The remainder of the case examine centered on the decision and examples of particular tasks.
Let’s check out what the battle, decision, and blissful ending of your case examine ought to embody.
The Battle: What purpose did the shopper need to accomplish?
Sometimes serving because the introduction of the case examine, “the battle” ought to briefly describe the shopper’s enterprise, the issue they employed you to work on, and what was preserving them from fixing this downside (ex. lack of inner assets or inner experience). This helps readers determine with the issue the shopper confronted and empathize with them – which will help them envision coming to you for assist with this downside, too.
Listed below are a couple of examples of “conflicts” from our case research:
- “Movoto engaged Fractl to showcase its authority on native markets by growing model recognition, driving visitors to its web site, and incomes hyperlinks again to on-site content material.”
- “Alexa got here to us wanting to improve consciousness – not simply across the Alexa identify but additionally its assets. Many individuals had identified Alexa because the site-ranking vacation spot; nevertheless, Alexa additionally offers Search engine marketing instruments which might be invaluable to entrepreneurs.”
- “Whereas they already had sturdy model recognition inside the hyperlink constructing and Search engine marketing communities, Buzzstream got here to Fractl for assist with launching large-scale campaigns that may place them as thought leaders and supply long-term worth for his or her model.”
The Decision: How did you remedy the battle?
Case research are clearly nice for displaying proof of outcomes you’ve achieved for shoppers. However maybe extra importantly, case research give potential shoppers a glimpse into your processes and the way you method issues. An important case examine paints an image of what it’s like to work with you.
Because of this, the majority of your case examine ought to element the decision, sharing as a lot particular data as you and your shopper are comfy with; the extra you’re in a position to share, the extra you may spotlight your strategic considering and downside fixing skills.
The next snippets from our case research are examples of particulars you might have considered trying to embody as a part of your resolution part:
What our technique encompassed:
“Mixing evergreen content material and well timed content material helped usher new and current viewers members to the We Are Fanatics weblog in report numbers. We centered on presenting attention-grabbing knowledge via evergreen content material that appealed to quite a lot of sports activities followers in addition to content material that capitalized on present curiosity round main sporting occasions.” – from Fanatics case study
How technique was determined:
“We started by forming our ideation course of round Movoto’s key actual property themes. Shopping for, promoting, or renting a house is an inherently emotional expertise, so we turned to our analysis on viral feelings to work out how to determine with and have interaction the viewers and Movoto’s potential shoppers. Primarily based on this, we determined to construct on the high-arousal emotions of curiosity, curiosity, and belief that may be a part of the expertise of transferring.
We tapped into acquainted cultural references and subjects that may pique curiosity within the areas customers have been contemplating. Comedian guide characters served us nicely on this regard, as did combining publicly out there knowledge (similar to highschool commencement charges or IQ averages) with our personal authentic analysis.” – from Movoto case study
Why technique was modified primarily based on preliminary outcomes:
“After analyzing the preliminary campaigns, we decided the simplest technique included a mixture of the next content material varieties designed to obtain completely different objectives [case study then lists the three types of content and goals]…
This technique yielded even higher outcomes, with some campaigns attaining up to four instances the quantity of featured tales and social engagement that we achieved in earlier campaigns.” – from BuzzStream case study
How our method was tailor-made to the shopper’s area of interest:
“Basically, when our promotions workforce begins its outreach, they’ll e mail writers and editors who they suppose could be an excellent match for the content material. If the author or editor responds, they typically ask for extra data or say they’re going to do a write-up that includes our challenge. From there, the story is up to publishers – they choose and select which visible property they need to incorporate of their submit, they usually form the narrative.
What we found was that, within the advertising area of interest, publishers most popular to characteristic different specialists’ opinions within the type of visitor posts fairly than utilizing our property in a bit they have been already engaged on. We had suspected this (as our Fractl advertising workforce typically contributes visitor columns to advertising publications), however we confirmed that visitor posts have been going to make up nearly all of our outreach efforts after performing outreach for Alexa’s campaigns.” – from Alexa case study
Who labored on the challenge:
For the reason that interviews you conduct along with your inner workforce will inform the answer part of the case examine, you might have considered trying to give people credit score through quotes or anecdotes as a method to humanize the individuals behind the work. Within the instance under, considered one of our case research featured a Q&A bit with one of many challenge leads.
The Completely satisfied Ending: What did your decision obtain?
Clearly, that is the half the place you share your outcomes. As I discussed beforehand, we like to characteristic the outcomes in the beginning of the case examine, fairly than buried on the finish.
In our Superdrug Online Doctor case study, we summarized the general outcomes our campaigns achieved over 16 months:
However the blissful ending isn’t completed right here.
A number of case research fail to reply an necessary query: What affect did the outcomes have on the shopper’s enterprise? Be certain to tie in how the outcomes you achieved had a bottom-line affect.
Within the case of Superdrug On-line Physician, the outcomes from our campaigns lead to a 238% improve in natural visitors. One of these final result has tangible worth for the shopper.
You too can share secondary advantages as well as to the first objectives the shopper employed you for.
Within the case of our shopper Busbud, who employed us for Search engine marketing-oriented objectives, we included examples of secondary results.
Busbud noticed optimistic impacts past Search engine marketing, although, together with the next:
- Elevated weblog visitors
- New partnerships on account of extra manufacturers reaching out to work with the positioning
- Model recognition at massive business occasions
- An uptick in hiring
- Featured as a “finest observe” case examine at an Search engine marketing convention
Equally, in our Fractl brand marketing case study, which centered on lead era, we listed all the further advantages ensuing from our technique.
How to get essentially the most out of your case research
You’ve revealed your case examine, now what must you do with it?
Construct a case examine web page in your website
As soon as you have created a number of case research, I like to recommend housing all of them on the identical web page. This makes it simple to showcase your ends in a single snapshot and saves guests from looking out via your weblog or clicking on a class tag to discover your entire case research in a single place. Make this web page simple to discover via your website navigation and inner hyperlinks.
Whereas it most likely goes with out saying, be certain that to optimize this web page for search. After we initially created our case examine portfolio web page, we underestimated its potential to usher in search visitors and assumed it will largely be accessed from our website navigation. Due to this, we have been beforehand utilizing a generic URL to home our case examine portfolio. Since updating the URL from “frac.tl/our-work” to “frac.tl/content-marketing-case-studies,” we’ve jumped from web page 2 to the highest #1–three positions for a particular phrase we needed to rank for (“content material advertising case research”), which attracts extremely related search visitors.
Use case research as concrete proof in weblog posts and off-site content material
Case research can function tangible examples that again up your claims. Did you state that creating authentic content material for six months can double your natural visitors? By itself, this assertion will not be plausible to some, however a case examine displaying these outcomes will make your declare credible.
In a post on the Curata blog, my colleague Andrea Lehr used our BuzzStream case examine to again up her assertion that so as to appeal to hyperlinks, social shares, and visitors, your off-site content material ought to attraction to an viewers past your goal buyer. Displaying the outcomes this technique earned for a shopper provides much more weight to her recommendation.
On the identical word, case research have excessive linking potential. Not solely do they make a reputable quotation to your personal off-site content material, they can be cited by others writing about your service/product vertical. Making business publishers conscious that you just publish case research by reaching out whenever you’ve launched a brand new case examine can lead to hyperlinks down the highway.
Repurpose your case research into a number of content material codecs
Making a case examine takes a whole lot of time, however luckily it may be reused time and again in varied purposes.
Lengthy-form case research
Whereas a case examine featured in your website could solely be a couple of hundred phrases, making a extra in-depth model is an opportunity to reveal extra particulars. If you need to get your case examine featured on different websites, take into account writing a long-form model as a visitor submit.
Many of the case research you’ll discover on the Moz Weblog are extraordinarily detailed:
- How We Ranked #1 for a High Volume Keyword in Under 3 Months walks via the Eight-step course of used to obtain the spectacular end result known as out within the headline.
- The Anatomy of a $97 Million Page: A CRO Case Study gives a lot better element and insights than the case research featured on the Conversion Wizards website.
- The Roadmap for Creating Share-Worthy Content with Massive Distribution used considered one of our campaign case studies to illustrate our general course of for creating shareable widely-shared content material.
Don’t really feel like you’ve to create flashy movies with spectacular manufacturing worth, even no-frills movies can work. Inside its brief case examine summaries, PR That Converts embeds movies of shoppers speaking about its service. These movies are easy and brief, that includes the shopper talking to their webcam for a couple of minutes.
Marketing conferences love case research. Look on any convention agenda, and also you’re certain to discover not less than a handful of speaker shows centered on case research. If you happen to’re wanting to safe extra talking gigs, together with case research in your talking pitch can provide you a leg up over different submissions – in any case, your case research are authentic knowledge nobody else can provide.
My colleague Kelsey Libert centered her MozCon presentation a couple of years in the past round a few of our viral marketing campaign case research.
Gross sales collateral
As I discussed in the beginning of this submit, a lot of our leads view the case research on our website proper earlier than contacting us about working collectively. As soon as that preliminary contact is made, we don’t cease displaying off our case research.
We maintain a operating “better of” checklist of stats from our case research, which permits us to shortly pull compelling stats to share in written and verbal conversations. Our pitch and proposal decks characteristic bite-sized variations of our case research.
Take into account how one can incorporate case research into varied contact factors all through your gross sales course of and ensure the case research you share align with the business and objectives of whoever you are talking with.
I’ve shared a couple of of my favourite methods to repurpose case research right here however there are not less than a dozen different purposes, from e mail advertising to webinars to gated content material to printed advertising supplies. I even hyperlink to our case research web page in my e mail signature.
My final bit of recommendation: Don’t count on speedy outcomes. Case research usually repay over time. The excellent news is it’s well worth the wait, as a result of case research retain their worth – we’re nonetheless seeing leads are available in and getting hyperlinks to case research we created three or extra years in the past. By extending their lifespan via repurposing, the case research you create at present can stay a vital a part of your advertising technique for years to come.
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