B-to-B Insights: Everyone Loves a Story
Because case studies are presented in a story format, readers are naturally more inclined to take interest—especially if the story has some sort of benefit to them. Unlike sales presentations, case studies are all about showing, rather than telling, how a product or service works. Because the product benefits are extolled by an actual user—and not the manufacturer—the claims are more believable.
Create a Sense of Trust
By using a satisfied customer as an example, a case study essentially demonstrates how well your product works. Rather than present a pile of facts and figures, you tell an engaging story that vividly shows your product’s effectiveness.
An equally strong selling point is the level of empathy a case study creates between your prospects and your satisfied customers. People tend to identify with people like themselves. Prospects feel far more at ease listening to their peers. They relate better, because they often share the same issues and problems.
The readers also believe case studies more than other sales literature. They are skeptical of ads and find brochures full of puffery, and even podcasts and company blogs seem self-serving. But in a case study, a customer who has no motive or financial incentive to praise the product does so, creating instant credibility.
What makes case studies so attractive to marketers and B-to-B prospects alike is they’re based on real-life experiences. Case studies are viewed as credible, third-party endorsements that carry a high degree of believability.
A survey by Forrester Research shows that 71 percent of buyers base their decisions on trust and believability. Relating your customers’ positive experiences with your product is one of the best ways to establish credibility in the marketplace. Giving your customers confidence in what you’re offering dramatically increases the likelihood they’ll do business with you.
Get the Sales Force Involved
One of the best sources of candidates for case studies is the sales force. You can get your sales force interested in finding case study candidates by offering them tangible incentives if one of their candidates is chosen and profiled in the case study. When offered a nice incentive, the sales force gets excited about the candidate search. The incentive does not have to be huge, but it should be desirable—a new iPod, for example.
Bob Bly is a freelance copywriter who has written copy for more than 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Praxair, Intuit, Forbes, and Ingersoll-Rand. McGraw-Hill calls Bob “America’s top copywriter” and he is the author of 90 books, including “The Copywriter's Handbook.” Find him online at www.bly.com or call (973) 263-0562.