One of my favorite “content ironies” has to do with case studies: Although case studies are known by all companies to be highly effective in generating sales leads, case studies are typically botched in execution, rendering them ineffective lead generation tools at best, and lead generation negatives at worst.
Here are six ideas for making case studies help rather than hinder lead generation:
- Lead with results. Prospects may want to know the technical details of a case study, but they definitely want to know what’s in it for them. Lead with what you accomplished! This gives prospects a reason to read further.
- Lead with specific results. Case studies are persuasive when they establish credibility, and nothing establishes credibility like facts. Saying you saved a customer a lot of money is not nearly as effective as saying you saved a customer $10,000 in three months.
- Use visual content. Alas, humans have become lazy readers. Long blocks of detailed text tend to go unread, whereas today’s prospects gobble up graphs, tables, images and video like there’s no tomorrow. Use customized, visual information to communicate key data points.
- Craft separate content sections for each audience segment. Case studies become clunky when they attempt to speak to executives, engineers, purchasing agents, etc. Overcome this challenge by dividing the content into sections such as “Executive Summary,” “Technical Highlights,” Purchasing Highlights,” etc.
- Include quotes from the customer. Testimonials are always powerful; used in the context of a case study, they become virtually irresistible. Besides adding credibility, quoting customers gives the case study a storytelling flavor that is much more engaging than an essay style.
- Include a call to action. If you’ve done everything else right up to this point, don’t drop the lead generation ball at the goal line by failing to include a call to action. Be sure to include a phone number (ideally unique to the case study so you can track conversions), and provide a link to an online form submission, or embed one in the body of the case study.
Over to You
What creative techniques do you find effective for case studies?