Full Analysis: Landing Page Features Blueprint
“I believe you, but I don’t trust you.”
What happens after a great job interview? The employer usually calls your references.
Amazing (or even just good) references will guarantee the job offer, while poor or non-existent references will likely lead to being passed over for another candidate.
The same thing happens online.
Do you realize that you’re being interviewed by your potential customers every time they are interested in a product you sell?
They’ll ask some questions, just like an interviewer would. Hopefully, you’ll answer them with the copy on your website, or they’ll already look for another solution.
But customers are becoming increasingly skeptical.
A large study in 2009 by Edelman revealed that 62% of people trusted companies less than they did before. And it doesn’t take a psychic to see that this trend is continuing.
Furthermore, it showed that consumers that trusted a company bought substantially more, recommended them to friends, and were willing to pay a premium price.
Customers want references from former or current customers that they can trust.
The lazy way is to provide reassurance with testimonials.
A better solution is to publish case studies.
Think of testimonials like letters of recommendation. They’re good, but not substitutes for being able to talk to former employers and get more specific details.
In our analogy, a case study is a lot like a phone call with a reference. A case study is a detailed look at the problems your former customers had, and how your product helped fix them.
70% of content marketers believe case studies are a highly effective technique, which puts them on par with webinars.
With all that being said, not every business or agency needs case studies.
As a general rule: The more uncertainty there is for a prospective customer, the more you need case studies.
If you sell cheap plastic spatulas, there is no uncertainty in how your product works or what results it will produce. You don’t need any case studies. A few simple testimonials about build quality might be nice.
If you sell a complex product that could be open to interpretation, like B2B consulting services or a complex software solution, case studies are a must if you want to achieve a great conversion rate.
In scenarios like the latter, there’s a lot of uncertainty before making a purchase:
Will this work for us?
Is it worth the investment?
How long until we see results?
How significant will the results be?
Can we trust [your company]?
And so on…
The amount of case studies you should produce often correlates with the uncertainty your prospects have.
More importantly though, the number of case studies should depend first on how many types of customers you have, and secondly on how many quality case studies you can create.
Have you heard of HubSpot? They are my go-to examples of doing case studies right.
At it’s core, HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales platform…kind of vague, right?
It’s hard to sum up HubSpot to those not experienced with marketing and sales because it’s such a comprehensive product that really provides a complete solution for businesses of all types.
Since HubSpot caters to such a wide variety of customers, they need a ton of quality case studies.
They try to feature successful clients of all sizes in different niches.
The idea is that if a prospect can find a successful company that was in a similar situation before, the case study will resonate strongly with them.
Finally, there is some trial and error.
Creating case studies is not a one-time effort.
It should be an on-going part of your marketing efforts. Track which case studies affect your conversion rate the most using your preferred analytics tool (e.g. Google Analytics, KISSMetrics, etc.).
Not all case studies are created equally.
The best ones follow a consistent formula and include certain elements designed to enhance readability and attract attention.
In my experience, there are seven foundational elements that all high converting case studies have.
1) A results-driven and descriptive headline
Over time, you will likely publish several case studies.
What you don’t want to happen, is for a potential customer to not read any, or not read the right ones.
In order to make case studies interesting enough to read, you need an attractive headline.
This is pretty easy with case studies, since you better have solid results if you’re going to write one.
Include percentages, sales numbers, or any other metrics that quickly convey success.
Here’s a few examples from HubSpot:
“Staffing Company Increases Leads In 3 Months With Marketron Software.”
Next, how do you make sure your prospects read the studies that are most relevant to them, and therefore the most likely to resonate?
As you might have spotted already, lead off each headline with the type of company your customer is.
It may be a niche (e.g. SaaS, HR, staffing) or possibly a size (e.g. startup, mid-size, etc.), depending on what you believe is relevant for your potential customers.
When it comes down to it, your headline should consist of 3 elements:
2) Identify the problem faced by your customer
The opening section should both describe the general situation your customer was in, and what their main problem was that you could potentially solve.
Take the time to weave in some background information on what industry your customer is in, what they provide, and how they operate.
3) Detail the potential solutions made available
A case study doesn’t need to be biased, because you’ve already won.
Try to include an overview of the other leading candidates and potential solutions to the problem.
Then, have your customer explain why they chose you.
4) Explain the method and approach taken to resolve the issue
Here’s where you get to explain your work to an attentive audience.
Explain how your work applied to your customer’s business, and when possible, show it.
Charts, screenshots, and custom images can all make potentially confusing explanations clear.
5) Highlight the result and the successes achieved
Just like in any story, you need a climax; here it is.
State very clearly all of the benefits that your customer has got from working with you – use numbers!
In addition, highlight any milestones they’ve achieved along the way.
Here’s an example:
You’ll notice that I’ve mentioned “quality case studies” a few times so far.
If you just randomly reach out to past customers, you’ll likely end up with less-than-stellar case studies, and not the ones that will really impress or resonate with prospects.
Case studies need to be part of an on-going marketing plan.
If not, they aren’t going to get done, or at least not done well. Here are some excuses you will hear from your team and customers:
So how do you incorporate case studies into your marketing? There are 4 main steps.
1) Identify good candidates early
Not every new customer is a good candidate for a case study. If you already have a case study on an almost identical company, it doesn’t make sense to do another.
Similarly, if a customer is unique, they also probably won’t be a good candidate. Why? Because not too many other potential customers will be able to relate to their story.
The best candidates are:
2) Develop a relationship
You should develop a relationship with all your customers if possible, but especially ones that you might want to do a case study with.
Imagine if you proposed a case study right after they bought. Most would pass and feel that you’re being intrusive (similar to a pop-up ad).
4) Establish expectations
Other than not understanding the benefits, the second main thing that holds customers back from participating is not knowing what to expect.
Setting expectations and showing them that it is not that much work or any risk on their side goes a long way.
Here’s what I recommend starting with:
Case studies are an incredibly powerful marketing tool that will have a significant impact on your conversion rates if created right and for the right businesses.
You can hire freelance writers that specialize in case studies (expect to pay about $500 for a basic case study), or give it a go yourself if you’re trying to keep spending down.
If you have any questions about writing or using case studies for your business, now’s the time to ask them. Leave a comment below with anything that is unclear.
P.S. If you thought this post was awesome, then please share so we can keep creating more similar content.
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