Think back to the last time you were considering an expensive purchase. Let’s say it’s a new car. You’ve narrowed your decision down to three different models but just can’t decide. They all have a practical design, the features you need, a similar rating from Consumer Reports -- and they felt great during your test drive.
How to decide? This is when most of us seek out the experiences of others. Before making a choice, you'll look for drivers whose circumstances and needs are closest to your own, and try to find out if the car met their expectations. You might read user reviews or talk to friends and family.
And it won't be enough for them to say, "It's a great car! Buy it!"
You're going to want details. The more details you get, the more comfortable you'll be that you're making the right decision.
Using Case Studies to Connect with Buyers
We all look to others' experiences when making purchase decisions, and this is especially true when the decision is a big one. The stakes are higher, whether the purchase is B2C or B2B:
- If I'm buying a car, I don't want to pick a lemon because I would be embarrassed by my decision -- and be reminded of it every day I drove that clunker to work.
- If I'm the decision-maker for my company's next SaaS purchase, I don't want to be blamed for my decision. I would never hear the end of it -- and it might even get in the way of my next raise or promotion.
To help make buyers comfortable and earn their trust, your website should prominently feature case studies showcasing the real stories of actual customers. Customer stories are consistently found to be one of the most influential types of content, especially for B2B purchases.
Three Things Case Studies Do Best
Case studies serve three key functions on your website:
- They show your visitors a use case. When you describe your product or company on your website, the value proposition might sound compelling, but it can also seem broadly worded or too good to be true. Case studies allow you to specifically illustrate how your product delivers value in its most common use cases. Your prospects can more clearly envision what the experience of choosing you might be like. You can even include product overviews highlighted next to specific references within the customer’s case study as they talk about the benefits they’ve seen.
- They demonstrate concrete results and goals met. Results — especially results backed by real numbers — speak volumes within a case study and distinguish companies providing measurable impact. Idea Grove's partner HubSpot, as one example, does an outstanding job detailing results and goals met with customer stories. Scrolling through the HubSpot website's case study section, you will find headlines that call out results achieved in audience growth, new leads, increases in website visits and more.
- They make your customers the star of the show. Do you want your website visitors to view your company as self-focused -- or customer-focused? Making your customers the hero of their stories sends the stronger message. Take a look at VMware’s customer stories page. Their case studies not only demonstrate the benefits of VMware technology, but also position their customers as innovative companies changing the world in their respective spheres — from spearheading humanitarian issues to helping businesses thwart cyber attacks. That makes their endorsement of your brand all the more powerful.
Done well, case studies can be the most persuasive content on your website for prospective buyers. Make the stories specific, accessible and relatable -- and make it all about your customers.
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