In 1938, “War of the Worlds” caused mass pandemonium when listeners mistook the radio play for a real news broadcast and fled screaming into the streets.
Have you heard that story before? It’s become a well-known tale over the years as one of the earliest examples of viral media, but there’s a catch: It never happened. At least, not the way you’ve heard it. In reality, 98% of people surveyed didn’t even listen to it, and only a small handful mistook it for a genuine bulletin, so how has such a tenuous story become so legendary?
The reality is that humans love stories. We are a narrative-driven species—from the earliest oral traditions and folklore to modern legends about mass pandemonium and alien invasions, people thrive on storytelling, and the most interesting and engaging stories are the ones that stick with people. As a marketer, the stories you tell about your business help inform potential customers, but there is an even more powerful tool at your disposal: the stories your customers tell about you. Tech case studies are a powerful tool to skyrocket your sales, and effectively wielding that tool is a key discipline for tech marketing companies.
- Case studies allow you to demonstrate your unique value to potential customers
- The best case studies focus on tangible results
- Use “zagging” to highlight positive outcomes in the context of negative advertising
- Having a process for generating case studies allows companies to maximize their sales potential
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Why Are Case Studies So Effective?
Your customers have a problem they want you to solve.
The average person sees as many as 10,000 ads per day, so your customers are already bombarded by generic messaging. The story they want to hear is that you can fix their problem.
Quality content is hard to come by, but case studies are a powerful asset. Fundamentally, sales is a form of storytelling, and your case studies are one of the most effective ways to tell your story. There are several reasons why case studies are distinctly effective:
1. Define the Narrative
Your business has a unique value to offer your customers, but with so many competing businesses, it’s particularly important to define your business’s identity in your customers’ minds. Let your results shine through case studies that demonstrate the value you create. Effective content captures your potential customers’ attention and shows off your best results. Especially in the tech world, businesses compete on quality. Demonstrate that value to your customers by defining your narrative through case studies.
2. Decrease Your Sales Cycle
Long sales cycles eat away at your resources and stall your profits. Many factors impact the length of your sales cycle, ranging from unqualified leads to poor salesmanship, but one of the consistent ways to shorten your sales cycle is to establish social proof through testimonials and case studies, especially when those studies are coming from brands that your potential customers are familiar with. Nimble Media co-founder Tanya Zhang says, “Case studies and testimonials from well-known brands serve as social proof. They help you gain consumer trust and drive leads through the sales cycle quicker.”
What Do Effective Tech Case Studies Look Like?
Tech is an incredibly eclectic and varied field, and there are many different ways to present and frame your case studies, but some strategies are better than others.
1. Highlight Positive Outcomes by Zagging
Not all case studies have happy endings. Some demonstrate what not to do. There’s a time and place for these cautionary tales, but your case studies should highlight the value you provide.
However, time and time again, studies have shown that negative advertising is more effective than positive advertising. Consumers have a stronger emotional response to negative emotions, making negative ads more memorable and impactful. Incorporating negative appeals into your positive outcomes involves a strategy known as “zagging,” or highlighting the solution you provide through the lens of the problem you’re solving.
For example, ClickCease effectively zags around negative appeals (“sketchy sources” wasting ad budgets) to make a memorable emotional connection with its audience while also highlighting the value it provides (a “no-brainer” service) in short case studies on its website.
2. Focus on Tangible Results
People spend hours and hours each day viewing different forms of media from social networks, TV, webinars, blogs, and so forth, so your content needs to stand out. Rather than leaning on subjective blurbs, ask leading questions of your customers to prompt answers that focus on the actual results you’ve provided. Your customers want results, but many advertisers are hesitant to share their successes out of fear of appearing braggadocious. Sharing your tangible successes lets your customers know what you’re capable of and sets a positive expectation in their minds. Don’t be afraid to brag about your strengths!
3. Demonstrate Your Process
Your value proposition is that your process has helped your past customers and will also help your future customers. Your past successes aren’t a fluke—they’re the result of your pursuit of excellence to develop the best processes for your customers. Case studies shouldn’t just focus on past successes. They should point forward to future results as well.
How Should You Source Your Case Studies?
Just like many kinds of content are not all created equal, there are also many kinds of customers. When it comes to case studies, you are what you eat. In other words, the kinds of customers you brag about are the kinds of customers you’ll continue to attract.
1. Use Your Best Customers
Identify your most valuable customers. Highlight the clients that are the easiest to work with and who provide the highest value to your business and ask them for testimonials. These can range from short blurbs to video documentaries (more about that in the next section), but they should come from the kind of customers you want. What you put out there is what you will attract.
2. Have a Process
Rather than ad-libbing your case study creation each time, have a process for creating case studies. Different businesses have different needs and budgets, so there’s no one-size-fits-all process, but each business should define a standard procedure for creating case studies. Companies with larger budgets may want to hire videographers to film interviews with their best customers, whereas smaller budgets may require a Zoom interview or email correspondence. Regardless of the scale of your operation, you should have a process in place first.
3. Prepare Leading Questions
Once you know what kind of content you wish to highlight, prepare a standardized list of questions to prompt the most useful kinds of answers. Remember that tangible results and numbers are the most useful, so ask your customers for specific metrics.
4. Include a Prescription
Your case studies should always include a call to action. You’ve highlighted a positive outcome, focused on numbers, and demonstrated a process, now’s the time to tell your potential customers that they can get the same results by doing business with you. Filling your sales funnel is a good start, but your goal is to convert those leads into sales. Finish every case study by asking for the sale.
Case Studies Are a Powerful Resource
You’re in control of the stories your customers tell themselves about your business. Through case studies, your most powerful results can speak for themselves. The tech world is highly competitive and perpetually evolving. Leveraging case studies from your best customers helps keep you in the driver’s seat of your industry.
Are you ready to generate leads and show off your best case studies? Visit ActualTech Media to take advantage of our world-class IT webinars, content syndication lead generation, and custom content creation.