If you were looking for a recommendation – who would you ask first?
It's likely it would be a friend or a family member.
Well this approach – of relying on somebody that you trust - is moving to Business-to-Business. Increasingly, people in purchasing roles are looking to their peers for advice and recommendations.
In fact, a recent study by Gartner has found that people working in B2B are relying more on independent research and off-line recommendations than sales reps in order to help them make a decision on whether to buy or not.
This is why case studies are so important and are invaluable for people in their decision-making phase because they build credibility and trust with prospective customers.
They illustrate and demonstrate that you can successfully provide the services and benefits you claim; and because they’re endorsed by a third party – i.e. your customer – they help you to come across as a trusted pair of hands.
Let's take a closer look at the four main reasons why you should publish customer stories on your website.
Firstly, they're evidence of your past successes and also help to attract future business.
Case studies help your prospects, who are in the ‘decision’ phases of their journey, choose a product or service that meets their needs.
They provide evidence for prospects that the solutions you offer are most likely to solve their specific challenges.
Plus, they demonstrate how you solved your existing or previous customers challenges successfully.
And importantly they show that your products or services actually work!
Your customer stories show your prospects how you can solve their problems.
And they're an easy way to link your company with your prospects.
They bridge the gap between what your prospects know about your services and what they know about their own business needs.
Plus customers stories show your prospects how a similar customer benefited from buying your products and your services.
Remember, the more similar the prospect is to the customer featured in the case study, the more striking it will be.
By publishing customer stories on your website you can demonstrate that you understand your market and hence can enhance your authority in the eyes of your customer.
And from an SEO perspective, including a case study on your website can boost your authority in the search engine results pages, called SERPs, too.
These stories can earn you backlinks, improve your domain authority, and help your site to start ranking in search queries.
And if you provide invaluable and relevant content on your website the Google bots will love you and will reward you by pushing you higher up the organic search pages.
4. Build a deeper relationship with your existing customers
You can gain a deeper understanding of your customer and build a stronger relationship with them when you talk to them in a non-salesy environment.
During the interviews you can listen to your customers and find out what’s working and more importantly what’s not working for them.
You can use this new knowledge in two ways:
- Firstly you can up-sell your services or your products/services to solve those challenges they’re still facing: and
- Secondly, you can find out new topics they're interested in and this can help inform your future content strategy.
If you want to write case study yourself, there's a simple formula you can follow...
Your customer story should have a distinct beginning, middle and end.
The beginning should include what the customer’s challenges were.
The middle should outline what you did to solve these challenges.
The end should conclude with how the customer benefited from working with you.
Strong case studies should also include customer testimonials (a quote) from the most senior person in the organisation you helped.
The quote should focus on the strategic, high-level benefits that your service provided, rather than the practical details of how it was delivered (which you can easily describe yourself).
Not only does this add credibility to your story – your customer’s ‘voice’ will bring a welcome change of tone to the content.
Finally, your customer story should end with a call to action, asking your reader to take action - be it booking a demo, signing up to your newsletter etc.
As former journalists we’re experts at interviewing people and getting to the heart of the story. Get in touch to commission us to write your case studies today.