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The Power of Case Studies-Part 1

Suddenly case studies are everywhere. Why? In the wake of the social media frenzy, we’re reminded that there are many things social media tools don’t do well – convincing prospects to buy is one of them.

Because of the highly strategic sales process, B2B marketing requires a lot of copy – which is why advertorials, white papers, Web copy, and case studies were perennial staples. This was fine when people had time to read, but they don’t anymore – rest assured that the 40-page white paper and spiral-bound case study are definitely dead.

The new case studies – sometimes called success stories - are tightly written, graphically appealing, logical, thorough, and to the point. There’s no more droning on about vague benefits, no more gratuitous quotes. On the other hand, you can’t convince anyone in three paragraphs. If you want your case studies to work, they have to be detailed and specific. This means somewhere between 1,000 and 1,500 words.

Good case studies will:

  • Support branding by increasing awareness and credibility

  • Get your prospects’ attention

  • Facilitate sales by overcoming objections

One unexpected benefit of creating case studies is that they tend to solidify relationships with the clients you feature. The interview process and final case study will remind them just how effective your solution is and form a strong, lasting psychological connection between your company and their success.

Designing a Template

Since you’ll probably be creating a case study for each product and service you offer, design a template complete with your company name and logo, standard heads and subheads, boxes for graphics (no more than one per page), and boilerplate with contact information at the end. This isn’t just for your cost savings and convenience, the structure will also make it easier for clients to read more than one case study, and it will add to your branding consistency. To that end, consider the following template subheads

  • About the Client

  • Their Challenge

  • Our Solution

  • Their Success

You’ll want your case studies to look clean – meaning a clear font and a balanced layout with lots of white space. When you’re finished with the copy and graphics, the paper should have artistic appeal. Everything should look open, symmetric, and the design should flow from one page to the next. If the case study is visually attractive and appears skim-able, people are much more likely to read the entire piece.

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