Your agency’s website can’t be just a brochure for your service offerings and contact information.
Consider this: Forrester Research found that B2B prospects could be anywhere from 60 to 90 percent through the buyer’s journey before even contacting a sales person. If your web presence doesn’t sell for you, then you may never get the chance.
Case studies educate prospects throughout the buyer’s journey, making them important for both people trying to understand their problem and those who are comparing your agency to your competitors prior to purchase.
So while potential clients may not visit your site because of your agency’s library of case studies, they will notice if they are non-existent as they journey deeper into the buying process.
The good thing is that you can use case studies to reach people in different stages of the buyer’s journey, and you can answer specific questions to help move them farther along in their decision.
Jam3, a digital production studio located in Toronto, Canada, uses case studies during “meet and greets” with potential clients or agency partners. And because most of the studio’s work revolves around developing new technology that is leveraged during the creative process, Jam3 relies on the case study format to showcase how its tools were used to produce the final project.
“It’s hard for us to sit in front of someone and say, ‘So, we built this 3D particle engine, and it was great,” said Pablo Vio, the creative director of Jam3.
“If you don’t have something you can show them [prospects] or something they can consume really quickly, then it feels a little lackluster,” Vio said. “People don’t really get the magnitude of the work.”
Eccolo Media’s B2B Technology Content Survey Reportshows just how important case studies are throughout every stage of the buying process -- from pre-sale to purchase. Case studies outrank white papers, video, technology guides, infographics, and blog articles during the consideration phase, and they are the second most used information source during the awareness stage.
When putting together a case study, consider each phase and how you can answer questions for prospects who want to understand their challenge, are looking to solve their problem, or are comparing vendors.
Let’s take a sample journey through the buying process to understand the questions you need to answer for buyers in each stage.
Charlie, a CMO for a software company, realizes he has a problem converting his leads into customers. He doesn’t yet know if this is a marketing or sales problem. He begins by researching how to improve customer conversion rates.
Questions to answer:
How did your client learn about your agency?
How did the client perceive his business’s challenge?
Does your agency have specific knowledge in an industry?
Does it have experience solving this specific problem?
Charlie has identified that his main problem is attracting the right type of customer. He doesn’t understand what information potential customers need, and he is struggling with how to qualify those that do need his company’s services. He needs resources to help him transfer more qualified leads to his sales department.
Questions to answer:
How did your agency work to understand your client’s target market? What discoveries were made during the planning phase? How did this understanding help you develop campaign strategies?
What metrics were defined and measured to prove your success? What was the result?
Charlie has narrowed down his list of potential agency partners, but he wants to make an informed recommendation to his CEO and VP of sales. He knows that each of the agencies on his list can deliver a solution. He’s just not sure which one is the best fit.
Questions to answer:
How did you handle setbacks or challenges during the client project?
Why did you want to work with this specific client?
Did you share any values that made your relationship stronger?
What did you learn during the relationship? What was the client’s reaction to the work you completed?
Did you implement a repeatable process – one that you perform for all of your clients?
Why was your agency the best option?
Case studies shouldn’t be an advertisement for your agency. They need to create a connection with the prospect, and self-promotion rarely accomplishes this.
Originally published Dec 8, 2014 12:00:00 PM, updated October 20 2016