You Need a Case Study to Promote Your B2B Startup – Here’s How to Get It Done
You need more customers for your B2B company. One of the best ways to do this is to describe in vivid detail the problem one of your customers faced, and how you solved it.
Here’s why case studies are a key marketing tool:
- Case studies force you to think about the ideal customer, the problems they face, and how your solution helps them. Maybe you’ll find that you have a few key verticals in your customer audience—so repeat the process for each.
- If you’re stuck trying to be all things to all people, writing a case study is your opportunity to crisply define your core value proposition, and what metrics customers can use to measure your results.
- Your website needs to be targeted at your ideal customer. If a potential customer sees themselves in the case study you wrote, they’re far more likely to reach out—and be a great customer.
- All people, and this includes your potential customers, absorb information as stories. Much of your website text may be bullet points and feature lists. Case studies are what weaves those benefits into a story that will stick in your customer’s minds.
- Depending on your industry, a case study can be a great lure to have website visitors trade their email address in exchange for access to the document.
When the perfect target customer visits your site, you want them to feel like the heavens opened and the angels spoke to them. So: speak directly to their pain points, offer concrete solutions in clear language, and describe what metrics they will use to measure success. Case studies help with all of this.
Here’s an example of a case study I wrote. This one was for recruiting startup Limelight. They had identified that landscaping companies were a perfect target customer–lots of employee turnover, tight labor market, and jobs that conducive to skills-based testing. All that remained was to convince one of their early customers to share their story. (Click image to read case study)
Here are the 3 elements for any case study:
- Metrics: What they need: How many jobs they needed to fill, how many days their cash flow cycle was, etc, and how you improved their metrics.
- Emotion: How they feel about it—both the problem and your solution.
- Detail: This is what makes the story come alive. How desperate were they? How many other solutions had they tried? What would have happened if you hadn’t come to the rescue? Like any good movie script, if we care about the hero and understand the magnitude of the challenge, we will share the emotion of the positive outcome.
Once you know what you need to write, pick a customer and convince them to talk with you. I don’t recommend doing it via email. Pick up the phone. Here is what you need:
- The hero. This is the customer, both the business as well as the individual at that customer who hired you. Be specific: who are they, their industry, the metrics that measure their size/impact.
- The challenge. What was the problem they needed solved? How was it holding them back? Was there a deadline or looming problem that drove the customer to come to you? Why was it hard to solve? What had they tried and why didn’t that work?
- The solution. What did you do for them? How did you approach the challenge? What tools did you bring to bear?
- The great outcome. How did you meet the challenges and what results were you able to deliver? How did things get better for the client as a result of your solution?
Remember, case studies don’t need to be real. If you’re very early-stage, or even pre-launch, writing a case study can force you to think through the details of how your product or service will help. Telling the story to yourself is an important way to make it seem real. Whether you actually put a fictitious case study up on your site depends on your individual circumstances.
Get out there and write one! Got questions about the process? Email me.
paint me a picture of the perfect use case for your product!