The Right Way to Follow Up with Marketing and Sales Leads

The Right Way to Follow Up with Marketing and Sales Leads

We’ve all been there. You walk into a department store — just to browse. Within moments, an overzealous salesperson is pressing you to buy something that you’ve barely glanced at. Immediately put off, you’re scanning the store for the nearest exit.

This logic translates to B2B companies. A business can claim, “oh that person just wasn’t the right fit,” but HubSpot asserts that 50% of leads are qualified — just not ready to buy. For this reason, it’s imperative your company understands the difference between marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).

An MQL is someone who meets the demographics of your ideal customer profile — the marketing term for this is “buyer persona” — and has shown meaningful engagement with your company. Examples of an MQL include signing up for your newsletter or downloading your ebook because these actions show initiative from the prospect to educate themselves on your industry.

An SQL is someone who meets the demographic criteria and has completed an action(s) that translates to, “I want to speak with sales.” Respond to actions that indicate the prospect wants to know how your company solves their problem– downloading a pricing guide or requesting a demo are just two examples that signal this type of interest.

What differentiates an MQL from an SQL will differ from company to company. The important thing is that marketing and sales are on the same page for how both are defined. Lead scoring makes this possible by enabling companies with a systematic way of differentiating the two.

What is lead scoring?

Lead scoring is the practice of assigning a point value to individual leads according to the information they’ve given you and how they’ve interacted with your website. This score helps your team prioritize leads by putting them into different buckets —  MQLs, SQLs, and neither.

How you define what triggers an MQL versus an SQL will change based on the needs and capabilities of your company. For example, if your marketing strategy is mature and you receive thousands of MQLs a day consider increasing the amount of engagement someone must show before triggering that response.

With so many moving parts it can be hard to even know where to start. Luckily, HubSpot has created a lead scoring algorithm to make the process simpler. You can use the software to help with manual lead scoring or you can leave all the heavy lifting up to HubSpot.

Congratulations — you’ve sorted your MQLs from your SQLs! Now you must customize an approach for both types, but how?

The Right Way to Follow up With MQLs:

Don’t be the department store salesperson. MQLs are still just browsing and forcing them to the next stage will only drive them away. At the same time, it’s okay to reach out directly. Consider this part of your lead nurturing strategy. According to Forrester Research, “companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost.”

Be confident knowing that someone who triggers an MQL notification knows what your company does and is trying to learn more. Reach out with the goal of mutually assessing the fit of the potential partnership while providing them with educational resources. There are many different ways to do this, but I’m only going to provide you with two options to start.

The first option is to send a welcome email when someone first triggers an MQL notification in your system. Here’s an example from HubSpot:

Notice this person encourages the prospect to continue the relationship by providing a clear way to access additional information.

How do you nurture a lead between the welcome email and when they move to the SQL stage? The most important thing is to stay fresh in their minds. Instead of sending a response to a particular action, consistently provide content they would find interesting. Here is an example:

Research consistently shows that “a person needs to know you, your reputation, and your product or service before he/she is willing to make a purchase.” Doing this requires consistently being in the lead’s line of sight. Forwarding content to your MQLs is the simplest way to do this.

Side note: Notice that both emails are individually addressed and appear to come from a real person. Personalizing these points of contact creates the framework for building relationships — which results in MQLs converting to SQLs.

The Right Way to Follow up With SQLs:

Finally, the lead is ready to hear your pitch. Your sales team’s job is to connect the dots for the customer and fill in knowledge gaps. They want to be sure that your product will address their pain points. Simply asking them, “so how did you like that ebook?” won’t cut it. Build the conversation around an action(s) they completed which triggered the SQL notification. For example, let’s say the action was a free demo request. Shoot them an email like this:

There are two key things to notice here:

    1. Expectations for the call are set beforehand: This puts the lead at ease with the process. It also helps them prepare accordingly for the call.
    2. The goal is to help the customer: This is a sales call, but coming from a stance of trying to help them will allow you to understand their needs and how your company fits with them.

The Bottom Line:

The difference between an SQL and an MQL is murky. That’s why it’s imperative for your company to create a universal definition that sales and marketing stick to. Creating a definition strikes the perfect balance between educating leads and closing a deal.

Moving someone from the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey to the conversion stage can feel like you’re walking on eggshells — one false move and the lead is gone. That’s why it’s important to have experts on your side to optimize your marketing strategy. Contact us to learn how we can help you develop a strategy to reach your business growth goals.

What Are Buyer Personas and Why Do You Need Them?

What Are Buyer Personas and Why Do You Need Them?

The content your company releases is generating leads. This is a major success! However, if you can’t pinpoint why you’re having this success, lead generation could halt as quickly as it began.

Enter buyer personas. According to HubSpot, a buyer persona is “a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.” Buyer personas help you identify not just what creates leads, but why. If you know why something is happening, it’s repeatable — and having a repeatable process is the formula for long-term success.

According to a report from CoSchedule, marketers who have a documented marketing strategy are 538% more likely to report success than those who don’t. Creating buyer personas is a crucial piece to that puzzle.

A buyer persona has many different components, all of which help your marketing and sales teams get inside the minds of your ideal customers.

Take Efficiency Ed — he’s an example of a buyer persona. His profile includes everything from job title to personal objectives.

One of the most crucial components to a buyer persona are pain points. These are things the buyer persona struggles with — which your company has solutions for.

Categories of a buyer persona can be added or taken away based on the needs of your company and how much information you have on your customers. The key is to have enough information for your marketing and sales teams to understand how to effectively interact with leads and bring them closer to the bottom of the sales funnel.

How exactly do documented buyer personas get you closer to this goal? The answer is three-fold:

1. Sales and Marketing Alignment

Your marketing team is elated with the number of marketing qualified Leads (MQLs) in their database. Eager to move them to the next phase of the buyer’s journey, the marketing team forwards the leads to the sales team. After sales evaluates them, 90% are discarded. Why? The sales and marketing teams were not aligned.

When marketing and sales work together, there is increased marketing ROI, sales team efficiency, and visible top-line growth. Achieving this goal can be daunting, but documenting buyer personas is a good place to start.

Established buyer personas empower both teams with a common blueprint for who they are targeting and give insights on how to do it. For example, if sales data on your company shows 70% of customers fall into the Efficiency Ed category, marketing can shift their efforts to create more content this persona finds helpful. The result is a greater number of relevant leads.

This conclusion is logical, but the evidence is in the data. “For organizations that are aligned, there’s a 67% higher probability that marketing generated leads will close.” Buyer personas help streamline the buyer’s journey so sales qualified leads (SQLs) are not the hope, but the expectation.

2. Establishes Important Data to Collect

An Efficiency Ed, your primary persona, found your blog. He reads a post and sees your perfectly placed CTA, “Download our exclusive ebook now and access industry secrets.” All He needs to do is fill out a form for full access. Name? Standard. Email? Standard. Zip code? This doesn’t seem necessary. Work phone, home phone AND cell phone? He leaves the page and you’ve just lost your chance with a potential lead.

How do you ask enough questions so you can siphon off the MQLs to send to sales but not so many that you drive business away? Buyer personas can guide you. There aren’t hard and fast rules to which fields are okay to put on a form and which ones aren’t. Instead, figure out what fields you NEED to sort contacts by persona. For example, if your business and personas are not location specific, asking for a zip code is probably overkill.

Efficiency Ed is a COO so he wants to make things run efficiently. Adding a field that asks, “What is your goal?” will help you section off the Efficiency Eds from others. In this case, you might not need anything beyond name, email, and goal. It must be emphasized that this specific set of fields is not a rule, but is determined on a case-by-case basis in regards to your personas.

Having documented buyer personas helps you ask the right questions at the right time so you can attract as many contacts– and therefore as many leads– as possible.

3. Identifies How Buyers Can Be Influenced

Buyer personas are how you access a lead’s mind and are therefore a framework on how to relate to them. Efficiency Ed is stressed because his company uses too many systems and it slows the team down. He knows this is leading to lost revenue and wasted time. If your company has documented buyer personas you can understand what the lead (or customer) is struggling with and empathize.

Buyer Personas lay the foundation for building trust, which results in more sales and leaves the customer delighted with their investment in you.

The Bottom-line:

Buyer personas give your company direction. Defining them helps you decide who you should market your product to and how you should do it. With these two questions answered, everything else just falls into place.

Knowing how to define your buyer personas, or even just figuring out where to start, is challenging. We want to help you get there so you can start seeing results. Download our buyer persona checklist to enable a streamlined marketing and sales process built to help you reach your goals.

5 Essentials for Starting a B2B Podcast

5 Essentials for Starting a B2B Podcast

Podcasts are one of the hottest new marketing tools of 2018 as B2B marketers look to leverage multimedia content and engage audiences. Businesses across the country from startups to the Fortune 500 use podcasting to reach their target audience where they are — on their mobile devices. For B2B marketers, a recent LinkedIn study finds podcasts to be an effective and underutilized tool, pointing to higher engagement among executives. Analysts discovered that 44% of senior-level decision-makers on LinkedIn (department heads, VPs, owners and C-suite executives) who know what a podcast is are listening to them regularly.

Podcast Audiences on LinkedIn

With the excessive use of content marketing, it is becoming increasingly challenging for B2B marketers to rise above the noise and connect with busy decision makers. Consider these five tips to launch your own successful podcast and offer real business value to your buyers:

 1. Consider Your Niche 

Choosing a podcast niche is difficult. You may feel like all of the good ideas are already taken. You need to be specific and relevant enough to be interesting to your audience while remaining authentic to your own expertise. Ask yourself the following questions — and write down your answers! — to help you hone your niche:

  • Who is my audience? Reference your company’s buyer personas, consider when listeners will tune in (on the commute to work? at the gym?), and what challenges they face for which you can provide insight.
  • What do I have expertise in? Be honest! Your expertise doesn’t have to be limited to your business’ offering or solution – a host(s) collective industry knowledge, career history, and sphere of influence all make for unique, engaging content.
  • What value can I offer? Do your research – Listen to other top industry podcasts to identify what’s already being done. Is there an underserved market you can speak to? An opportunity to provide something new and fresh? Or perhaps you don’t need to reinvent the wheel – consider a popular theme or topic from existing podcasts and run with it. There’s a lot to be said for “brand-better” versus “brand-new”.

TIP: Don’t have detailed buyer personas? Get started with a free template from Hubspot

2. Align the Podcast with Your Brand

Now that you’ve got your niche figured out, the second biggest challenge in charting a course for a successful podcast is crafting the right personality, style, and energy to match that of your company. The best way to align your podcast with your brand is to gather feedback from key stakeholders on the voice and tone of your podcast should have:

  • Informative
  • Clever
  • Experimental
  • Conversational
  • Casual
  • Authoritative
  • Energetic
  • Innovative
  • Funny
  • Educational

The key here is to align with your brand identity – whatever that may be – so that your podcasts are perceived as genuine, authentic, and listeners trust what they hear.

3. Create a Style Guide

You’ve done the research and legwork to queue up a pretty great podcast, and are excited to get recording — but a crucial mistake many new podcasters make is forgetting to document these decisions in a centralized place. Inevitably, both internal and external contributors to the podcast will change over time. To ensure clarity and consistency, create a Podcast Style Guide as a reference manual for your show.

4. Develop a Publishing Schedule

We see it often – enthusiastic new podcasters with hopes of publishing weekly or bi-weekly episodes quickly become overwhelmed by the demands of meeting their goal schedule. Picking topics, episode research, scheduling guests, post-production, and promotion for each episode can be enough to make you want to throw in the towel. But with a bit of planning, the episode pre-production and execution tasks become routine and manageable. Whether you use your company’s project management tool or a simple Google Sheet, create a central publishing schedule that both you and your production team have access to.

Podcast Publishing Schedule

Podcast Publishing Schedule

TIP: Record and produce episodes in “batches” so that you have a library ready to publish, on schedule.

5. Know the Tech Stack

Most B2B podcasters work out of home or office “studios” rather than a professional sound booth, and with the proper setup, you’d never know the difference. The growing popularity of the podcast medium has brought some fantastic new tools on the market that make it easy to create a polished recording. SmarkLabs recommendations include:

Equipment
Blue Snowball Mic: $49 (you can find additional options here depending on your budget)
Pop filter: $7.99
Sound shield: $64.99

Recording Software
Our recommended alternative to free chat apps like GoToMeeting, Uber, or Skype, is Ringr. Even if you have the perfect room and the best equipment to record, your guests may not have made the same investment. With Ringr, you get the same easy-to-use features of other meeting tools with pre-filtered audio that sounds like you and your guest recorded in the same room.

Pick one place to record and test your audio quality to fine-tune your setup. High ceilings or lots of windows? You’ll need additional sound-dampening shields to reduce echoes. Loud A/C unit humming in the background? Turn off prior to recording or pick a new venue. Take some time to become familiar with your recording software so you’re ready to record and help guests if needed.

Editing Software

The absolute best software you could use to edit your podcasts would be Adobe Audition. Its flexibility supports the editor’s needs by giving you the tools to make your recordings sound their best. It does have a slight learning curve, but it’s well worth it.

Guest Outreach
Make inviting guests easy to manage by setting up an automated outreach campaign. With a tool like Mailshake, you can generate contacts, build relationships, and manage promotion for your podcast all within the same platform.

Repurposing Content
You’re spending a lot of time producing valuable audio content for your audience – don’t let it go to waste. Use a transcription software tool like Rev to amp up the SEO value of your podcast by converting recorded audio into written content for blogs, case studies, and white papers that will drive even more traffic to your site.

6. Call In the Experts

Make no mistake, launching and regularly publishing a podcast is no easy feat. The more your audience grows, the more time you’ll need to spend researching episode topics, engaging guest speakers, and connecting with your listeners.

If you’re having trouble getting started or engagement has plateaued, it’s probably time to bring in some help. Whether you need voice talent, graphic designers, a producer, or a marketing coordinator — ask peers for recommendations and reach out for assistance to keep the show running.

Essentials For Your Video Marketing Strategy

Essentials For Your Video Marketing Strategy

In many ways, video marketing isn’t about selling a product or service at all — it’s about communication. It’s about establishing the type of rich, intimate, and organic connection between your brand and target audience that turns people who may be on the fence not just into buyers, but into loyal brand advocates who will help spread your message far and wide. (more…)

How to Drive Pipeline and Growth Through a Market Research Campaign

How to Drive Pipeline and Growth Through a Market Research Campaign

In an increasingly oversaturated world of low-quality, boilerplate content — rinse and repeat blogs, emails, and social posts — it’s harder than ever to stand out with your marketing messaging online. According to a PointVisible study, 91% of B2B marketers are using content marketing — and 47% are outsourcing the creation.

In 2011, your 400-word blogs may have been enough to stand out. But today’s differentiators include interactivity (think, video or actionable tool), data-backed insights and, well, something fresh.

What’s resonating throughout the full funnel right now is market research — conducting outreach and surveys that collect data, then turning said data into insights that appeal to your target personas and starting conversations from a strong foundation. It sounds intense — but market research doesn’t have to be done by a focus group. Sales and marketing leaders even at SMBs have the capacity to generate real prospect insights, turn that data into a “State of” thought leadership report, then leverage those new insights to drive prospect meetings — it’s the “holy grail,” a fully integrated campaign throughout your whole pipeline. It may seem like a lot of work — and it won’t happen overnight — but there’s no reason you can’t pull this off yourself….especially if we lay out the step-by-step guide to getting the job done.

Here’s our process for conducting market research campaigns that drive leads, opportunities and business — while setting marketers up for months of high-quality content. You can also download our 11-step template, part of our ever-increasing amount of resources in the Smark Toolbox.

Identify Your Core Persona

In thinking about your goals for this specific campaign, it’s crucial to have your persona well-defined and a high-level understanding of how they seek and derive value. Understand what information they would want to know — whether it’s about their prospects, their market or their competitors; it’s essential to the strategy that the information you gather is aligned with the needs of your ideal client persona (ICP).

Define Your Value Prop, Audience, and Questions

Now that you know your target audience, how are you going to connect with them throughout the campaign? You’ll want to have goals in mind of what you (read: they) want to learn and work from there to plan a statistically significant way to get that information. Not sure how many people you need, who you should target as a respondent or how to ask questions in a way that provides valid data? It might make sense for you to bring in a freelance/contract data analyst.

We recommend the main function or purpose be publishing a thought leadership report jam-packed with key takeaways, data points and perspectives from respondents. This is a unique, in-market value-add that (if you went niche and targeted enough) delivers significant prospect value.

Build Your Survey

There are several tools for collecting survey responses — some, like Typeform, feature increased interactivity. We use SurveyMonkey because most respondents are familiar with the tool and its UI, and it’s very flexible in the style in which you ask questions (some may be better served as single choice, multiple choice, rating on a scale of 1-5 or 1-10, and so on). Any tool that collects responses and allows you to report on percentages will suffice. How many questions should you ask? Well, it depends on the value-add. In general, the more value you’re delivering, the more willing prospects are to provide more information. You could generate useful data in as few as 8-10 questions if they’re well thought out, while we’ve seen surveys succeed that have 30+ questions.

Conduct Your Outreach

It’s time to build your outreach emails or strategy — here are a few recommendations to ensure you’re optimizing for success at this crucial step. Consider how narrow and specific your target respondent pool should be, and whether you want to use public channels (blogs, social media, third-party sites and so on) or keep it private and contained. With a well-defined audience and a private outreach plan, it’s likely your main channel will be email. We recommend a mix of marketing emails and sales touches spaced over the course of several weeks, with possible phone-call sales cover as well. Your promotional emails should be centered on the value proposition. Its unlikely prospects will do you a favor for the sake of it, so your messaging should be conveying “what’s in it for them” as a through line.

An effective response accelerator is financially incentivizing recipients — just be sure to consider seniority level of your target respondents when setting your budget (what CEO is changing his or her mind over $10 to Applebee’s?). A tactic that works for us is to use Amazon gift cards due to the myriad items you can put it toward, and share an article in one of the emails listing great things you can buy on Amazon.com for that amount or less. Another pro tip is to escalate at a certain point in the cadence — maybe your first batch was motivated by $25 or $50, but by excluding current submissions and doubling the offer, you can entice several more responses.

Finally, you will likely want to separate this from the regular marketing/sales outreach your prospects or target respondents receive, so as not to overwhelm them or drive unsubscribes. It may be beneficial to have a marketing partner or third party conduct the outreach on your behalf, allowing your planned marketing/sales outreaches to continue uninterrupted and giving the survey emails a different look and feel in the recipient’s inbox. At the very least, change the send name and send email address as a differentiator.

Report on What You’ve Learned

You’ve struck a chord with your outreach and have collected enough responses to move forward congratulations! The information gathering is over, now the processing begins. Say you haven’t, though, and the campaign has “failed” — here’s a pivot and a quicksilver lining: you’ve just amassed whatever number of data points about either your prospects (which you can map into your CRM and use to fuel hyper-targeted outreach) or their prospects (which gives you information your prospects want, but don’t have). Make those responses the basis of outreach, or start a webinar series deep-diving on their current condition and invite respondents to be featured guests.

But you’ve nailed this campaign going step-by-step, and are ready to move forward. Time to turn these findings into insights, aligned with what you were hoping to learn from the early stages (again, may be helpful to have a stats/data expert, even if just on a contract or freelance basis).
Break these findings into sections, get a writer and a designer involved, and develop a downloadable and printable PDF version of the report. Expert level is to create an interactive web version for prime user experience. You will likely want to incorporate and attribute any quotes, examples, visual reporting and so on that will enhance the data insights.

Leverage Your Insights

Time for a full-court press to get the most out of the work you’ve done so far! Promotional strategies will be different for every company, based on strengths, capabilities, bandwidth and budget — but here are 12 suggestions pulled from our market research template to consider when building your cross-channel plan.

  1. A conversion-optimized site landing page
  2. Promotional emails emphasizing the report’s value
  3. Sales templates or emails emphasizing the report’s value
  4. Social content pulling out key stats or insights from the report
  5. A video explaining why you did it, what’s included and what you learned (you can cut into GIFs for emails, too!)
  6. A blog series highlighting and adding context to the most important findings, broken down by section
  7. Landing pages segmented by industry or vertical, highlighting the most relevant information for that audience
  8. Sales outreach to respondents (wait a bit to not be overly aggressive) based on specific pain points or triggers
  9. A webinar or live event panel highlighting the specifics of a few respondents, and your overall market findings
  10. Put the full report text on a page and lightly gate it (work email only) to generate new contacts from web searches
  11. Look for people asking questions the report answers on forums or discussion boards, and share the information with a link
  12. Start a podcast or video interview series based on what you learned from the report, featuring respondents and/or your ideal prospects.

We’ve equipped you with everything you need to make this campaign happen: a template, a case study, this deep-dive blog. There’s also a webcast session on the same topic if you prefer to hear it from SmarkLabs CEO Brendan Flanigan.

Looking for a partner in execution? Drop us a line and we’ll set up a call to talk campaigns, strategy, collaboration and how you can hit your growth goals.

A Guide to Creating and Promoting Case Studies for Sales Leaders and Executives

A Guide to Creating and Promoting Case Studies for Sales Leaders and Executives

Case studies are among the most effective ways to demonstrate expertise in a field and prove that you can deliver real-world results. Having effective case studies boosts credibility during the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, shares customer success stories that can speak to specific industries and verticals assisted or challenges solved and offers testimonials. Much like customer reviews, when prospects see positive testimonials they are much more likely to convert. In fact, Social Fresh cites that customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing at 89%. So, how do you write a case study that connects with prospects to deliver these benefits?

We’ve developed a framework for writing a clear and powerful case study. It’s a template that’s part of our Smark Toolbox, full of marketing and sales tools geared toward driving growth. This blog explains the steps for creating a case study — and how to market it afterward. Let’s dive in. There’s a three-part framework for an effective case study: explain the challenge(s) your client faced, share the solution to those problems, and show the results demonstrating how the client solved those challenges.

Here’s a look at each:

The Challenge

Detail the challenge(s) your client faced. Why did they decide to work with you? What were their goals? Had they tried other “solutions” that fell short? This is where you set the narrative for the entire case study, so be sure to nail the struggles and pain points — verify this with the client. In our case study on our client CodeScience for example, we clearly showed their goal by stating “CodeScience came to SmarkLabs seeking a partner to help them craft a strategy to increase the company’s volume of qualified leads.” See the full case study here.

The Solution

Here, you’ll lay out how you and your client decided on the approach to solve the problem and heal the pain. Most businesses will want to show how they were consultative, while those with singular products or processes will explain the specific features that address the exact challenges you laid out previously.
Be sure to include the strategic steps your company took to eliminate the problem and why you chose them for this specific use case.

One hack is to start writing by saying, “Enter [your company].” This is a natural segue dividing the “before” stage of difficulty and the “after” stage where you improved conditions. The more you analyze and explain your thought process, the more you’re able to demonstrate your expertise, from field knowledge to thinking through specific pain points and adapting to client needs.

Consider the level of specificity that’s best suited for your business. Too vague and you’re not showcasing as much value; too specific and you’re in the weeds or sharing too much of the “secret sauce.” We err on the side of publicly sharing the thought, expertise and hard work we bring to the table — part of our value is rooted is in creating and delivering often-intensive campaigns (“easier said than done”). We share one part our solution in the CodeScience case study by saying “CodeScience is engaging prospects with more targeted outreach and segmented campaigns, utilizing messaging across channels from marketing, SDR and sales team for a unified buyer’s journey.” Part of our solution is laid out in a clear manner, allowing us to fully demonstrate our expertise and value. Read the rest of the solution we implemented here.

The Results

Arguably most important section, this lays out the key facts and figures from your solution and shows that partnership with your company was successful for the client. (If it wasn’t, don’t write it!) It’s essential to be able to report on and back up your big wins. If you’re not already, start keeping records of your impact on client KPIs, so that reporting isn’t a mix of sifting and guesswork — most clients appreciate quantitative insights, as well.

Be sure to lay the data out in a way that presents a story of growth and what it has meant for the client since the new processes were implemented. It is always a good idea to visually represent the data, as this is much more digestible for case study consumers. In CodeScience’s case study, we lay out the key facts that relate to the key performance indicators agreed upon, such as stating that “within the first three months of the partnership, CodeScience boosted its conversion rate by 66%.” See the conclusion of our case study here.

Testimonials

Testimonials are one of the most impactful credibility boosters for B2B buyers as demonstrated in the Social Fresh study in the beginning of this blog. Having key decision-makers at current companies (especially with similar titles/roles as prospects) verify your impact lends credibility. The quotes should be from a contact at the client and can either be submitted by them, or you can write them yourself and have the contact approve it. Name and job title should be included to provide validity. Testimonials are a key online review for your business; according to one study, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Call to Action

Conclude your case study with a call to action that invites readers to take the next step with your company — ideally, the messaging is contextual and based on the specific success shared in the story. This is a key opportunity to activate prospects who may be convinced by the information you shared to take the next step, or who would like to discuss in more detail.

The Case Study is “Complete.” What’s Next?

You may think that the case study is complete. But now that your story’s told, it’s essential to leverage it effectively. Here’s how to get the most out of it:

Update

Your “finished” case study should be continuously updated as challenges and results evolve over the course of the client relationship.

Test and Optimize

Make sure to analyze how people are receiving the case study and make changes as necessary. Neil Patel tells the story of posting a blog with 2,286 words and it not doing well, so he cut it down to just 615 words and increased the number of leads generated by 39%. We recommend (as you’ve learned if you made it this far) going shorter and simpler with the content. B2B buyers consume fewer long-form pieces, as demonstrated by a joint study between Fractl and BuzzStream showing white papers as the least favorite medium to consume content through.

Leverage and Promote

The case study can also be repurposed across channels and into different assets. Use cases might include:

  • Creating a video out of it (bonus points if you get your customer on camera)
  • Sharing it in marketing or sales emails, especially with a segmented audience it would really resonate with (similar company size or situation, industry, etc.)
  • Pulling quotes from it to be used on different pages of your site
  • Promoting it on social media
  • Turning it into a webinar featuring your customer(s)
  • Presenting one or more successes in a broadly targeted conference panel

Case studies are a great way to show your company can solve many different problems that businesses face. We recommend building an extensive case study library to showcase the problems you have solved for clients you have worked with, and to include that library link in your site navigation. If you could use a launchpad for writing an effective case study, check out our free Smark Toolbox’s case study template (the Toolbox has several other templates and tools, and we’ll be adding more free resources over time — worth getting access and using the pieces you like).

Want to talk about leveraging customer successes as part of a broader growth marketing strategy? Let’s schedule a no-obligation consultation to talk goals — and how to get there.