Writing a case study in the B2B world can be a daunting task. The name infers that it consists of hours upon hours of research to create a big, thick document of dry information in the end. While that may have been the case back in the day, it’s a much quicker, exciting process now — that is, if you do it effectively.
Why you should prioritize more case studies
A survey from the Content Marketing Institute found that the most important marketing tactics for B2B companies are in-person events, webinars, and case studies.
If you want to ensure they get the memo that you’re the one they should do business with, your successes must be easy to find – and in as few places as possible. You don’t want to leave a trail of success breadcrumbs scattered around the internet in the hopes that future business will follow it.
Development company Devrix suggests making your case studies visible on your website, even on your main navigation menu. You might be asking, “Can’t I just include them in my blog?” Or, “Why dedicate a whole page to case studies?” There are a couple of answers to those questions.
You could include your case studies in your blog, but they aren’t really blogs. Your blog likely consists of industry news and how-to posts, acting as a catch-all. Your case studies serve the purpose of being all about work your company has done. So let them stand out!
You might be hesitant to dedicate a whole page to your case studies because you still think a case study is a bulky project that nobody outside of your organization will want to read. However, it’s common now to use a case study to focus on a single takeaway or two. If you have more that you want to write about — you probably do — then you write more case studies.
Case study etiquette
The most important thing to keep in mind about your case study is that the success outlined is attributed to the customer. Not you. Use case studies as a platform for your customers’ successes, not an excuse to show off how you helped get them there.
Involve your customers in the case study
There are a few ways to obtain the necessary information you need from your client. But a lot of it depends on how hands-on and responsive they are. Some clients like to be kept in the loop and want to be involved in any projects you’re working on that concern them. Others prefer to talk to you only when you’re working on a project for them. If your client is more of the hands-on type, interview them either in person, over the phone, or via email.
If your client is a bit more reserved, you will want to ask for the materials you need before you get started. Then, send him or her a draft before continuing to make sure you’re on the right track before committing more time. Sending a draft ahead of time is also an excellent route to take if your case study contains any information that might be considered sensitive or confidential. A way to avoid getting too detailed without omitting necessary data is to use growth percentages instead of specific numbers.
What should you include?
Oh! Did you want to know the literal way to write your case study? The format? Well, there are a few ways to do that, as long as you include all of these crucial aspects:
A detailed headline: Don’t just use your client’s name. What project or results is your study actually about?
The process you used: How did you solve this client’s problem? You’re not a magician. You can reveal your tricks.
The results: Be as specific as the client allows you to be. Brag brag brag!
Quotes: Try to get quotes from your client about the work that you did for him or her.
Call to action: Allow anyone who’s reading to reach these same results by getting in contact with you. You don’t want them to have read the whole case study just to be confused about how to hire you!
There are a lot of decisions to make when you’re a new business owner. So you want to make sure that the software you choose makes your job as easy as it can be. That’s why choosing a customer relationship management (CRM) tool that makes sense for your business is such an important step to take.
This pressure and the fact that there are just too many different types of CRM tools out there can lead to decision fatigue. But you’ll be working with this tool every single day, so this isn’t the time to let your desire to be done making choices take over. We’re going to take a deep dive into two of the most popular CRMs and get to the bottom of the Pipedrive vs. HubSpot debate. Then you can see which works best for you.
Take your size into account
For small business owners who want a CRM tool to handle more than just the sales aspect of day-to-day tasks, HubSpot is a good choice. For example, a small business probably doesn’t have a coder on board yet, so HubSpot handles that.
A considerable benefit of HubSpot is that so much of it is automated. When a small team is stretched thin, HubSpot is running in the background, taking care of it. HubSpot also works on a tiered system, making it ideal for small businesses, so you can manage up to 2500 contacts before the price goes up. HubSpot owns approximately 41.5% of the small business automation market, so it’s no surprise that it checks off a lot of small business’s boxes.
Marketing Automation Insider suggests Pipedrive for small- to medium-sized businesses. The platform is customizable to suit different types of companies but lacks the automation options that HubSpot makes so easy. It is simple to integrate Pipedriver with Zapier, an automation tool that allows you to connect all of your apps and devices, but that does come with an additional cost.
Convenience comes with a cost
As mentioned, HubSpot’s tiered pricing system works well for small businesses. However, it can get pricey for a company that grows quickly. For example, once you establish more than 2500 contacts you manage, your price goes up to $1200 per month until you reach 10,000 contacts, and so on.
Pipedrive does use a tiered system as well, but it stays at one price until you reach 100,000 contacts. Take into account, though, the fact that you’d also need to pay a subscription fee for a program like Zapier if you wanted to automate to the level that HubSpot allows you to.
How about sales?
Pipedrive is known as a CRM “built by salespeople, for salespeople.” Its primary focus is on sales pipeline management, while HubSpot is a jack of all trades, with marketing and sales functionality wrapped in one CRM.
I know, the full expression is “jack of all trades, master of none.” If you’re looking to have all of your sales and marketing needs in one place, HubSpot is probably the pick for you. But if you’re just looking for a CRM to help you streamline your sales process, Pipedrive might be a better choice.
Integration, integration, integration
While it’s true that HubSpot can do just about anything you want it to do (from a sales and marketing standpoint, at least), you want to ensure you can integrate any software you’re currently using with the CRM you choose.
Luckily, whether you go for HubSpot or Pipedrive, you shouldn’t have an issue ensuring your favorite apps work alongside your CRM. According to Discover CRM, Pipedrive integrates with 148 apps, HubSpot integrates with 128 apps, and both work with popular software like Zapier, Salesforce, Outlook, and Gmail. Before you take the dive, though, make sure you check the list of apps that integrate with each CRM — especially if you use some more obscure programs!
I’m sorry if you went into this post intending to get a firm CRM recommendation for your particular business, but it just doesn’t work that way! Both HubSpot and Pipedrive have their strengths and weaknesses, but it’s up to you to figure out what’s important to you when choosing your business’s CRM tools.
When it comes to creating a content strategy to spread the word about your B2B company, you must prioritize video. It may not be cheap, and it isn’t easy. We can help you with that, though. It’s well worth the investment in both money and time. Don’t believe our words? We have the numbers to back it up
HubSpot found that 87% of consumers would like to see more videos from their favorite brands.
So obviously, HubSpot deduced that 99% of marketers who already use video plan to continue doing so, and 88% plan to spend more.
90% of consumers find that videos help them decide whether or not to make a purchase, according to Social Media Today.
People stick around on a webpage for approximately two more minutes when there is a video present than when there is just text to read. Crazy Egg also states that these consumers are also 64% more likely to make a purchase.
So if you’re not on the video train yet, it’s about time you get started. If you’re looking for ways to get those wheels in motion, you’ve come to the right place. Here are some video ideas to help you get started with your video content strategy.
Do you already have a blog? Congratulations, then you already have plenty of video blog content. While the fact that a piece of content you’ve put time and effort into writing isn’t getting the traffic you’d hoped is a tough pill to swallow, a good consolation is that you can repurpose it into video content. If the piece you’re working with is long, take a single point you make in the post and elaborate upon it for the video. If the article is short or easy to segment into bullet points, you can summarize the whole thing in a video blog.
Do you have a CEO with a real personality? Is the founder of your company a compelling storyteller? Put them in a video! Whether the purpose of the video is to tell the story of your B2B company or to announce an exciting new campaign, putting real people involved in your business in front of the camera is a great way to humanize your web presence and get people engaged.
What do your customers tend to struggle with? Ask your customer service team what questions they answer most often and be proactive by creating a video that directly addresses them. Not only will this take a little bit of pressure off of your customer service team, but it’ll also be handy for your consumers to be able to troubleshoot some of their issues with a simple Google search.
Do you look for reviews of a product before you make a purchase? Video testimonials from past customers are a way to spread the word about your business. They also help people who are still deciding whether they want to spend their money with you the little nudge they might need.
If you have a great animator on staff — or are willing to bring one on board, your video possibilities are endless. Animations are an excellent way to explain something on the more technical side and bring some personality to a topic that might be dry in front of a camera.
Where are you posting these?
Will these videos you’ve created live on your website, or are they a part of a more extended content strategy to create a more robust social media presence? If you’re going to post your content to social media, it’s essential to make sure people will watch it. It’s not as simple as just taking the video and uploading it to all mediums.
Format a square version for Instagram, cut a quick clip that’ll intrigue people enough to head over to your website for the full version. For reference, HubSpot recommends keeping your Instagram videos below 30 seconds, Twitter videos below 45 seconds, Facebook videos below a minute, and YouTube videos below two minutes.
And as for anything in the B2B marketing space, don’t forget optimizing your video content for search engines, by using captions and turning on autoplay. Don’t autoplay the sound, though! Think about the last time you had a random video playing in one of your browser tabs. Did you go to the correct tab and actually watch the video, or did you mute the page?
One more thing that shouldn’t come as a surprise to any B2B marketer: include a CTA! Even if it isn’t clickable, end your video on a note that tells your viewers what to do next.
Like most industries, B2B marketing is loaded with a lot of acronyms and jargon. Sometimes you feel like you’ve been nodding along for so long, and now it’s been too long that you can’t even ask what something means. Perhaps nothing is discussed more than “brand strategy,” though. It sounds self-explanatory, but there’s more to it than determining your logo and your signature colors. If you’ve been smiling along with a vague understanding of what your colleagues are discussing, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to discuss what brand strategy means in the B2B marketing space.
…so what is it?
Your brand strategy is the method that you take to build and shape your brand, as well as how you spread the word! It’s the plan you put in place to make your business recognizable to anyone who may need your services. The biggest, most successful brands have an almost formulaic strategy in place. It practically allows customers to understand what’s being sold to them before the brand even reveals itself.
Establishing a well-defined brand may be a bit more difficult for a B2B business than for a large corporation, though, especially if it’s still pretty small. Most B2B companies (and businesses in general) don’t have the backing of a centuries-old brand like Coca-Cola or the hip, trendy recognition of brands like Supreme or Glossier. However, that doesn’t mean you should push branding to the back burner.
Most people wouldn’t say that the most recognizable brands in the world are B2B. But Harvard Business School marketing professor John Quelch says that B2B brands should invest more in their brand-building for these three reasons:
Most B2B marketers can’t economically address thousands of small businesses using the traditional direct sales force.
If left unattended, individual managers will each do their own ad hoc marketing.
B2B marketers realize that developing brand awareness among their customers’ customers can capture a larger share of channel margins and build loyalty that can protect them against lower-priced competitors.
According to HubSpot, the seven componentsfor a comprehensive branding strategy are:
Purpose: What is it contributing to the world?
Consistency: Do all of your outlets – from your marketing materials to your website, to your social media presence – all seem like they’re coming from the same entity?
Emotion: How are you making your customers think that you’re the answer to their questions?
Flexibility: Are you paying attention to the ebbs and flows of your industry and willing to tweak your strategies to stay relevant?
Loyalty: Do you acknowledge customers who keep coming back or refer you to other companies?
Competitive awareness: Are you paying attention to the marketing strategies of businesses in the same industry as you?
Employee involvement: Is your staff on the same page as your marketing team? While you might associate your brand with your outward appearance to your customers, your company culture is also a large part of it.
These components are essential for any business to keep in mind, B2C, or B2B. If anything, they’re even more important to keep in mind if you’re marketing to other companies. After all, they’ve worked on their own brand strategies, so they’ll be the first to notice if yours seems to be half-baked. So really take some time and brainstorm where your business stands on all of these aspects.
I know, these are a lot of questions to keep in mind. Wouldn’t it be easier if your brand strategy did just consist of “What colors should we use on our website?” and “Are we going to be professional or irreverent on the internet?” But trust me, your hard work will pay off when it comes to establishing a lasting, cohesive brand for your B2B business.
The keyword there is “lasting”
Market research firm AYTM warns against focusing too much on the short termwhen working on your brand strategy. Yeah, it’s cool to see results right away, but you want to make sure these results don’t start to wane, leaving you right where you started. They suggest your marketing team become “brand architects,” and build a foundation before working on strategies to “bridge brand strategy and brand messaging.” Think of this foundation as your first step each time you want to expand upon your company’s branding. You’ll always have a head start!