Imagine there’s a content format that could showcase your strengths, vividly demonstrate how you solve client challenges, and work as an exceptional lead generator. You’d be cranking out that powerful content for sure, right?
Maybe not. Case studies – yes, that’s the type of content we’re talking about here – are too often missing from manufacturers’ marketing tactics. In fact, a study done by Precision Marketing Group found that more than three-quarters of manufacturing websites had no case studies.
And considering just how important they can be, that’s more than a shame:
- Survey results from Demand Gen Report have shown that 78% of companies use case studies to research B2B purchasing decisions, which was more than any other type of content.
- In another Demand Gen Report report, nearly half of B2B respondents said case studies from companies with similar pain points was their most preferred form of content to review for purchasing decisions (which topped all other formats).
- DocSend looked at 34 million content interactions. Compared with other sales content, case studies showed an 83% completion rate, an average that left all other content in the dust. (Completion rate = number of people who read to the end.)
So why do so many manufacturers shy away from creating this kind of content?
The tricky thing about case studies …
The thing about case studies is that they can be hard to do well. Sure, they require strategy plus the right dose of creative juice from a copywriter and designer. But for a lot of manufacturers, those aren’t the things that really hold up case study creation.
Case studies demand using the story – and preferably the actual words – of the client. And that requires legwork upfront, namely, reaching out to a busy client and asking for their participation.
Unfortunately, that’s where some manufacturers get sheepish.
But you don’t have to be. There’s actually a relatively simple and effective process to follow. Stick with that process and you could become downright bullish when it comes to asking clients for their help.
How to approach clients to do a case study: Your 3-step process
Let’s say you’re confident you have a satisfied client based on recent indicators like impressive metrics, positive growth rates, or even just an email that basically said you’re awesome.
That client is ripe for the asking. Now the ball is in your court.
1. Keep your request simple and focus on what’s in it for them
When you’re at the point of actually calling or emailing the client to make a case study request, keep these key points in mind:
- Answer “What’s in it for me?”
- Briefly explain why you want to do this now.
- Keep it short.
- Give a deadline.
- Thank them for their participation in advance.
Here’s a sample email with all the elements:
2. Package it all up for the deciding party
After your initial pitch, it’s not uncommon for your primary contact to have to convince someone else in the company to agree. Make that process convenient (and compelling) by putting all of the above points in an easy-to-read PDF that:
- Reassures them it won’t take a lot of time.
- States clearly that they have the final say for approving material.
- Explains the interview process.
- Makes it as easy as possible for them to schedule an interview time through something like a Calendly link.
- Helps them visualize the outcome by linking to great case study examples. (Don’t have any? Find some good ones on the internet and simply say something like, “This is what we’re thinking.”)
3. Wait for the response (and chime back in if you need to)
If you take the above two steps, the chances are good that your happy client will want to help you. Sure, you may need to double back if you don’t hear from them within a week. But, hey, that’s pretty normal.
And if a client actually says no? Don’t despair. There are specific steps you can take to change their mind. But why not cross that bridge when and if you need to?
If you have satisfied clients – and we assume you do – then you have case studies waiting to be made. So … start reaching out!
To download an interactive case study checklist, check out Case Study Checklist: How Manufacturers Can Produce a Quality Marketing Case Study Every Time.
Winbound is a manufacturing marketing agency specializing in content marketing. We help manufacturers with small marketing teams overcome a lack of time and resources by delivering the kind of content that’s been missing from their marketing. Winbound’s in-depth content AND strategic approach integrates SEO, social and sales, all delivered in a package that matches the budget of a small marketing team.