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Even though 71% of B2B content marketers use case studies, they are often an under optimized form of brand storytelling.
As part of our ongoing series on content marketing tactics, this post will share some examples and best practices of organizations leveraging case studies as part of their content marketing mix. Case study content can be multi-purposed in text, image, video and document types: web page, PDF, Word, PPT, Slideshare. Boring or underwhelming performance cited in case studies can do a better job of turning prospects away than engaging them. MarketingSherpa does a great job of providing details in each of their marketing case studies, which you can find in their Library of resources.
Google Think Insights site contains an impressive collection of resources including case studies.
Each case study follows a format of Goals, Approach, Results and may include a PDF download, creative assets or a video of the success story. HubSpot is another example of a company that has collected a large number of customer stories and case studies. Pinterest, as you can imagine, provides a more visual experience with their success stories.
Solution: How does solving this problem create a positive business impact? What role did your brand play in the solution?
Close it: Near or alongside the case study, include a call to action appropriate to the case study. Customer testimonials are a tried-and-true way for businesses to promote their products and services, but the SEC’s anti-testimonial rule and the fear of regulatory repercussions make it difficult for investment advisors to share client success stories as part of their marketing efforts.
In this article, I won’t spend a lot of time discussing how you should develop or structure your case study. If you haven’t already done so, write an article for your company blog that covers the same topic you address in your case study and invites people to download the complete study to learn more.
In terms of your website, if you do not have a designated area to display marketing material such as your firm’s newsletters, ebooks, white papers or other content, now is a good time to create that page. Sharing your case study on social media one time will not give you an adequate amount of exposure.
If you currently prepare a monthly or quarterly firm newsletter, that is a great place to feature your new content.
Hypothetical case studies can be useful marketing pieces for financial advisors, as they offer an opportunity to share stories about how you help your clients while also getting around prohibitions on direct client testimonials. Elizabeth Snyder is the Marketing Manager for clients of Wealth Management Marketing, Inc., a firm specializing in outsourced marketing department services to Registered Investment Advisors and fee-only financial planning firms. Mike Wolfe is the star of The History Channel’s highest rated show of all time — American Pickers. SimplifiedSolutions developed a suite of online marketing solutions which included a new Antique Archaeology website, an e-commerce store, several social media platforms, a content marketing campaign, and an email marketing campaign, all aimed at building Mike’s customer loyalty and generating revenue.

The launch of the new website and social media platforms created a strong reputation winning Mike 120,000 avid fans on Facebook, 50,000 devoted Twitter followers, and over 400,000 monthly website visitors. Additionally, the email campaigns produce a 50% open rate with a 75% click through rate to key landing pages.
About UsPartners Tom Casale and Bill Kamper come from two different worlds; Tom is a former CNN Interactive Producer and Enterprise Software Guru.
Successful digital marketers use a variety of content marketing tactics to tell stories according to the goals of both brand and customer. Case studies provide a structured problem and solution format that provide context, situation and challenges that the reader can empathize with.
Case studies can serve a role in eBooks, white papers, guides & best practices, webinars and conference presentations. Case studies need a beginning, middle and end focused on the customer’s perspective – just like all other content.
Too often these days, they’re presented in a formulaic manner, but when thought of as stories, they can be powerful. As a long time publisher of best practices, industry news and reports, expectations are high with MarketingSherpa. As you can imagine, the search function is impressive but there are also a variety of ways to filter based on: Industry, Marketing Objective, Ad Type, Technology, Audience, Region and Type of Content you want to view.
The previews for each case study include summary, bullets, a photo of of the customer with a testimonial, and clickable keyword tags. There are just a handful of case studies, which is something I think a lot of mid market or new companies can relate to. We respect your privacy.NameThis field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing.
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While advisors are prohibited from using or making reference to testimonials that include any statement of a client’s experience, there are other, related tactics they can use to establish credibility and recognition and instill confidence with prospective clients.
Promote your article on social media to generate even more awareness, linking back to your website for people to learn more about the benefits you offer, your firm and team structure as well as services and other client benefits.
With that said, your case study should be easy to locate on your website, not buried behind other pages or content.
To ensure that people are aware of your case study, try to share it on your social media accounts on a bimonthly basis for at least three to six months (use your social media editorial calendar to schedule these posts so that you don’t forget). By sharing the study via email, your clients and centers of influence will have access to a valuable resource that they can share with people who might be interested in your services or as a reference to explain the benefits and solutions your firm offers clients.
However, all the effort you put into developing your case studies will be wasted if you do not promote them effectively.

Since he was waist-high, Mike has been picking through junk looking for treasure, and since becoming a TV personality Mike has earned the well deserved reputation as one of American’s best foragers. Through Facebook advertising and social media, Antique Archaeology gear is generating incremental revenue for merchandise.  SimplifiedSolutions is currently working on a kid-focused social community website, books, and marketing for the two retail store locations.
Case studies also supply insight into how a problem was solved, paving the way for the solution and measures of success. Effective case studies are stories that connect with the reader on an emotional level and at the same time, provide intellectual justification – data. But don’t overlook posting to services like Slideshare or repurposing for use in articles, reports, webinars or conference presentations. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing. Hypothetical case studies are one such inbound marketing strategy you can use to generate awareness and more clearly demonstrate the benefits and solutions you provide. If your site is flexible enough for you to add it to the homepage as a featured resource, make sure to do so. While you can promote your case study on all your social media accounts, I recommend that you focus on LinkedIn. By featuring them on your website, sharing them on social media and promoting them via email, people will be more likely to read your case studies and then share them with potential clients. In fact, more B2B purchasers start their research online than B2C — with peers representing one of their most important resources.
With so few case studies, there is no categorization but that’s something Pinterest will want to consider as they add more.
Use raw data points, percentages and general quantifiables as appropriate. Results must be compelling, remarkable, impressive! Add the case study to your list of publications, and be sure to spend some time researching LinkedIn groups that would be interested in your content. As long as it’s relevant and compelling, a story that conveys a solution to a problem in human terms should make for an effective piece of content. Each is written by a professional journalist and includes: Summary, Challenge, Campaign (with specific steps), Results and Creative Samples. What HubSpot does really well is the ease of navigation, the summaries and calls to action.
Most importantly, tactics, implementation and results information is provided in a story format using conversational language.
What these case studies might lack in terms of visual fanfare, they more than make up for in terms of depth and insight.

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