Case Studies: Developing Your Inbound Marketing Endgame

Chess Pieces Lined Up In A Row On A GrayForget the top of your marketing funnel—Your customers at the bottom need you.

Okay, okay. Don’t completely forget the top of your marketing funnel.

Nobody will argue that while top-of-the-funnel goals like getting more traffic or acquiring more leads are important, getting a foot in the door with new customers is only the tip of the marketing iceberg. It’s important to bring them in, but you can’t afford to neglect the materials that help turn a ‘maybe’ into a ‘yes!’

After all, it’s at the bottom of your marketing funnel where conversions actually occur. Your customers need real-world examples to push them into action. And if you’re in the B2B market, case studies aren’t just a good idea—they’re essential. B2B buyers require research, evidence, and proof that your product can deliver the goods.

And one of the best ways to demonstrate this value at the critical end stages of your inbound marketing strategy is through case studies.

Why Use Case Studies?

Because they’re the perfect complement to your late-stage marketing goals.

According to a 2015 Content Marketing report, case studies were ranked as one of the top three most important tactics for B2B marketers to include in their strategy.

So, why do they work?

They’re Great Narratives

Everyone loves a good story. Quality case studies don’t just brag about what the company achieved—they paint a picture of the business. Case studies should describe how a business suffered, the goals it needed to achieve, the dawn breaking on the horizon (when it found your company’s product), and concrete ways the product delivered results for the business.

Narratives like these are powerful motivators for all types of marketing content, and the same is true of case studies.

They Address All Decision Makers

A common challenge in marketing is knowing how to speak to your audience in ways that resonate with them. In the left brain/right brain dichotomy, left brain buyers will favor hard data, statistics, and logic. Right brain buyers will be more impressed with expression and emotional resonance.

Case studies give you the best of both worlds. With an inherently approachable format that weaves concrete metrics and business growth data into a compelling narrative, case studies have something for everyone. As the bottom of the marketing funnel narrows and specificity becomes more important, case studies let you address all decision makers in a high-impact way.

They Build Confidence

There’s an old saying in the sales game that claims people aren’t afraid of losing money—they’re afraid of looking foolish. This fear compels each and every one of us to over-analyze and over-research our purchases, and this can be particularly paralyzing in the B2B world.

Case studies take work to create. Quality case studies that tell the story of real, verifiable businesses help take away this fear of making a mistake. Case studies help build authority, confidence, and faith that your company can deliver its promises.

Putting Case Studies to Work

So, you’ve decided to implement case studies into your inbound marketing strategy—where do you go from here?

A basic outline for deploying case study marketing:

  1. First, craft them with care. Interview your successful brands and get them to tell their authentic story. Include supporting data where appropriate, and don’t be afraid to get personal with the details.
  2. After they’re made, they need a home. Create a dedicated page on your site to host case studies and make them easy for viewers to find. Include navigation to this page from your landing pages or company home page.
  3. Tie your case studies to other parts of your marketing funnel. This is where you can really get creative. According to the data, nearly 9 out of 10 consumers do research on businesses and products before making a purchasing decision. Support this research by creating spinoff content that markets your new case studies, including writing blogs about them, creating videos, and posting about them on LinkedIn or Facebook.
  4. Spread the word. Case studies might excel at removing the pre-buying jitters, but they can pull just as much weight during other marketing stages as well.

Pepper your case studies throughout your content marketing, including your email campaigns, newsletters, ebooks, and any other stage of the buyer’s journey you’ve established. You can even include brief by lines in your email signatures and lead generation templates. We’re talking about complete conversion funnel optimization here.

Succeeding with Case Studies

Remember, no stage of your marketing funnel exists in a vacuum. The success of each part is connected to the success of every other stage. Here are two important takeaways:

  • Case studies are necessary—your buyers need authenticity and assurance before taking the plunge and committing their resources.
  • The other parts of your marketing funnel support your case studies in turn. Although they are a great on-site resource, their value is amplified when integrated into your top funnel lead-generation strategies as well as your middle funnel decision-support strategies.

Don’t wait another day. If your business doesn’t have a solid repository of case studies, you’re missing out on the considerable value they provide.

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