Posted by on May 1, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

When to Use a Case Study in Your Marketing

Brandwidth Solutions: When to Use a Case Study in Your Marketing

by Deb Harrsch

Have you ever met anyone who said case studies don’t work? I sure haven’t.

Using case studies in your marketing is a no-brainer. In fact, we previously explored how important case studies are and how they work.

But, the question is: When should you use them in your marketing?

If you’re creating case studies, publishing them on your website, and then calling it a day, then you’re not getting maximum value from your work.

A Quick Case Study Refresh

Case studies are deceptively simple, and they get right to the point. They enable you to do a bit of storytelling (which is a great marketing tool) and focus on a specific challenge, solution, and result. They are also fairly short – typically around 1,000 words.

The biggest challenge for the marketing department when creating case studies is being able to name the customer. Every B2B industry experiences this issue, so if you’re thinking, “Well, I can’t do any case studies because I’m not allowed to talk about my customers,” you’d be wrong.

It’s okay if you can’t name your client. It’s okay to create a case study with a story and not a name. If your company isn’t allowed to talk about a customer project in detail, think about what you can say. It’s possible there is enough of a story to tell about a challenge and solution, even if you eliminate all of the identifying features.

There are several creative ways you can protect your client’s confidentiality, while also demonstrating your accomplishments. If you can name the who, great! If you can’t name the customer, well that’s okay, too.

What Prospects Want to Know

Case studies are an opportunity for you to show customers that you know who they are, what some of their challenges are, and how you help solve those challenges.

How? Think about it from their perspective.

Your prospect really wants to understand your product or service and how you work with customers. A case study gives them a perfect example from beginning to end: “Here is where we started, this was our solution, and here are the results our customer experienced.” Whether you cut time out of a process, you did it better than they were able to previously, or you were able to deliver some other benefit, you’ve now got results no one else could get. Case studies are great stories that demonstrate how efficient and innovative you are when you’re working with your customers.

When to Use Case Studies

Right, so you’ve created your case study and you’ve published it on your website. Now what? I’ve already told you that isn’t the only way to use them – but it is a valuable use.

What do you think are the most downloaded items on your website – white papers or case studies?

It’s actually the case studies. You see, they aren’t something your prospect needs to register for, so that’s what they’ll download when researching your company. The case study gives them key information and gets them thinking, “Gee, this company has tackled problems similar to what I’m experiencing and they’ve come up with elegant solutions and had great results. I should talk with them.”

But, to truly get full value from your case studies, you’ll also want to use them for your:

  • Email marketing campaigns
  • Print collateral at trade shows
  • Social media content
  • White paper supporting evidence
  • Video stories

Curious about case studies we’ve done for clients and how we’ve used them? Give us a call and let’s talk!

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Nov 18, 2014 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

How Important Are Case Studies?

Do you read reviews before heading out to a new restaurant? Or how about the last time you bought a TV or computer – did you hit up Amazon or CNET to check out what others had to say about the product you were considering? If they were positive, you came to believe the experience with that restaurant or product would be positive for you too. Those reviews are mini case studies.

Case studies are an integral part of your marketing collateral. They are a great way to showcase your company’s products and/or services without simply listing what you do. They also provide support by demonstrating a proven track record.

How Do Case Studies Work?

Case studies work in an indirect fashion to sell your services by:

  • Telling stories
  • Focusing on customer issues
  • Illustrating successful solutions

 

Storytelling

Our brains remember things better when they are engaged. Stories that illustrate problems and successful solutions are more memorable because they engage the reader in an emotional way. For scientific evidence on this you might want to venture over here.

Using a storytelling format for case studies is a good way to change the way you explain your products and services. Think of it this way, a story that relates to your personal situation is far easier to remember than a bulleted shopping list.

Tip: Don’t forget storytelling is an important part of your social media as well. You might want to “share” some case studies on your social media platforms.

 

Customer Issues Solved!

Don’t take our word for it, though! Case studies are about you—but only indirectly. They are built from the perspective of your clients—what their problems were and how those problems were solved by your company. Yes, they explain your products and/or services, but they are more about your clients.

Brandwidth Solutions has found that prospective clients react very well to case studies, because they have typically encountered similar obstacles. Case studies help prospects see similarities to themselves, and how they can get similar positive results.

 

Successful Solutions

Sure, you can talk until you are blue in the face about how great your product or service is, but isn’t reality more persuasive than just talk? Case studies show prospects how your product/service can be implemented, and how success was achieved. Real results are much more powerful than abstract theories. Demonstrating success helps your credibility.

Case Studies also illustrate problem-solving skills. It’s all in the math:

Problem X + Solution Y = Success

How can you argue with that?

 

The bottom line is case studies are an inexpensive, but highly powerful way to:

  • Communicate what your company does
  • Show why a prospect should invest in your product/service
  • Demonstrate how you have achieved success for other clients

Wondering how to write a successful case study, here is some more information to help you out.

We’re curious, how have case studies helped your sales?

[subscribe2]

Read More

Posted by on Mar 10, 2020 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Channels, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them

Why White Papers Are Important and How to Use them - From Brandwidth Solutions

by Deb Harrsch

“I want to put out a white paper, but I don’t have anything to talk about.”

Believe it or not, that is a real statement – and I’ve heard it from more than one client over the course of the past fifteen years.

I am always amazed when clients tell me they have nothing to talk about. Of course, you do!

I usually say, “Have you ever done a poster at a trade show?” The response is inevitably, “Well, yeah.”

Guess what? We can use that as the basis for a white paper!

What is a White Paper?

Let’s take a quick step back for a second and start with what is a white paper? Why are they important?

A white paper tends to be a focused, technical document which delivers information around a complex topic, and provides a company’s solution or viewpoint. It’s designed to help readers understand the topic and potential resolutions.

It’s not typically an overly-formal document, but it’s not casual like a blog, either. It usually delivers information around a process, a product, or an application. A white paper could also be based on an application note or a poster you presented at a conference.

But, it doesn’t necessarily have to be about a product or a service. Sometimes white papers are about big, broad topics and cover an industry like digital transformation, pharma 4.0 or AI. An example might be a white paper on AI and how it’s impacting markets.

Why Are White Papers Important?

This section is arguably the most important part of this blog post. This is why you want to use white papers in your marketing. They:

  • Educate not only your prospects, but also your sales team and the media
  • Provide decision-makers with relevant information when considering purchases
  • Produce qualified leads
  • Develop your reputation as a thought leader

And isn’t this what you really want from your marketing efforts?

White papers allow you to talk to your prospects about topics which are important to them. They explain your intellectual property via technical, process-driven content. While we obviously don’t give away your trade secrets, we do dive deep into your subject matter, demonstrating the processes you use to solve key issues for your customers.

Eccolo Media’s 2014 B2B Technology Content Survey reports that “white papers rank as the most frequently consumed content type (49%) when decision-makers consider a technology purchase.” With that many decision-makers consuming your whitepapers, it’s clear that they are an excellent lead gen tool for your marketing efforts.

While you shouldn’t “gate” or require a registration for your case studies or other literature or marketing collateral, your white papers are another story. Because the level of information and detail is more comprehensive, you can – and should – have a ‘register to download’ form gating your white papers. This gives your sales team an ongoing stream of qualified leads.

How Do You Structure a White Paper?

White papers are at least two to three pages in length – and more typically around four pages – or approximately 2,000 words. I always say that a white paper should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words. You don’t want to make them more than that, because people aren’t going to have time to read it. If you do have more information than comfortably fits into this format, you may want to consider breaking it up into several white papers focused on narrower sub-topics.

Great! So now we know how long a white paper should be – but how should you structure it?

When you think of putting together a white paper, especially a technical white paper, it will be focused in much the same way as you would approach a poster. Our typical formula for creating a white paper starts with a short abstract, which is essentially a lead into the conversation. We move on to providing information on all the elements that our client brought together to achieve the product or the service they developed. We then describe the process which created the product or solution and wrap-up with the results.

It’s very technical, and ultimately reads like a thought leadership piece.

An interesting way of adding support for the info in the white paper is to include one or more abbreviated case studies. This provides not only reinforcement of the topic and shows how your customers are using your product, but this tactic also provides a good entrance for those who are hesitating to register for the white paper.

How to Use a White Paper in Your Marketing

While people won’t give up their email and register for a case study, they are more likely to do so for a white paper, because it contains technical expertise. As I discussed earlier, white papers are a great download deliverable for lead generation. You can also use your white paper as a deliverable for gated content on third-party sites.

You should be using your white paper in your advertising as well. Whether you’re doing print or digital ads – be sure to develop a great landing page that finishes the marketing message from your ads. Once you’ve created the infrastructure, you can use the white paper in any ad you do – from trade journals to Google display ads. This gives the audience an opportunity to learn about a topic from you.

Caution! The topic of the white paper you use in advertising must match the ad or it won’t work. You can’t do a white paper on topic A and run an ad about topic Z.

By using a white paper in your advertising, you put your company in a thought leadership role. We’ve seen many situations where a prospect was not familiar with a particular company, but through advertising and white paper exposure chose to go with that company because they had discussed the topic before.

Other ways to use your white paper in your integrated marketing efforts include:

  • Social media – Because your prospects and customers are likely following you on your social channels, you should promote your white papers on your social channels along with a link to the landing page.
  • Blogs – You can re-purpose some of the white paper content into a blog post, which also pushes to the landing page where visitors can download the full white paper.
  • Press Releases – If you’re doing a press release about a certain topic and your white paper addresses that topic, you can include it as a possible download in a press release.
  • Trade Show Follow-up – You do send out mails after a trade show is over, right? In a simple “thank you for stopping by our booth” email, you can include a link to the download form for the white paper.
  • Email Newsletters – In your e-newsletters you have another opportunity to provide your customers and prospects with a link to your white paper.
  • Lead Nurturing and eMarketing Campaigns – White papers are a perfect tool to use when nurturing leads. Whether it’s a lead you met through a show, social media, or a sales call, sending a white paper as part of an ongoing lead nurturing program delivers key information to prospects when you aren’t there.

When you think about it, one single white paper can provide an ongoing abundance of qualified leads for your sales team. Every download delivers a solid reference point. “This person downloaded my white paper, so they are really interested in learning more about this particular process or thought leadership piece.” It gives your team a warm lead to follow.

Are you ready to put white papers to work? Call us today and get started.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy, and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Dec 5, 2019 in Integrated Marketing, Marketing Tips, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Should You ‘Dumb it Down?’ Write Smarter: 5 Rules for Marketing Copy

5 Rules for Marketing Copy

I’ve got to agree with Alison Davis: I’m not a fan of the expression ‘dumb it down.’

As she points out, the phrase first emerged “as movie-business slang in the 1930’s, and was used by screenplay writers.” It was used to describe rewriting content “to appeal to those of little education or intelligence.”

It feels cruel, however, and as someone who works with scientific firms to convey complex ideas in digestible formats, it incorrectly summarizes what our team does.

Besides, do we really need to dumb it down? Are we actually getting dumber?

As it turns out, no, we’re not.

I’m with Davis when she says, “I love the fact that people everywhere are getting more intelligent.” That’s right, a recent meta-analysis found “an average gain of about three IQ points per decade, or roughly 10 points per generation.”

(Yes – that means our children are probably smarter than us.)

But how smart or dumb we are (or are becoming) isn’t the key takeaway. What matters is that the ways in which we all consume content have been changing. Reducing our content to the lowest common denominator isn’t the right answer. Understanding how people consume it is.

Do you seriously want to deliver something that is considered ‘dumb?’ And how far down should you go?

For our life science, pharma, healthcare & B2B clients, we can’t dumb down content. But it can be synthesized, and rendered into formats that lend themselves to rapid consumption.

Scanning Society

So if, in fact, people are becoming smarter, that means we have to write smarter. Let’s face it – people don’t read like they used to. Even as far back as 2008, research found that only about 20% of online text was actually read word-for-word.

Why?

It’s a numbers game. Over 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every single day, and it’s only going to grow from there. By 2020, it’s estimated that 1.7MB of data will be created every second for every person on earth.”

The scanning-instead-of-reading phenomenon isn’t new, and as marketers, we see it across every industry. And when you are tasked with conveying complex scientific or technical concepts, it affects how you develop and present content.

Writing for the Journey

The ‘we need to dumb it down’ school of marketing thought is that people are moving so fast, they won’t stick to a traditional buyer’s journey anymore. It’s too long. They don’t have the time or attention span. So because some marketers think there is no longer a customer journey they put every possible piece of information in their materials right up front.

It’s not true.

The buyer’s journey still very much matters – but how they consume content on the journey itself is changing.

Here are 5 rules for writing copy:

  1. Be clear about your value.
    Be sure to communicate your value proposition but leave them wanting to know more. Don’t try to cram every product you offer into one piece of content. If you give away your entire message up front, the reader will be overwhelmed and your message lost. Focus on simple and clear language that targets your customer’s pain points. Your materials should be a conversation in which you clearly share elements of the value of your product or service.
  1. Deliver scannable content.
    Since you know readers are going to scan your content, it’s important to ensure your content is clear. Your value proposition should be easily identifiable, and readers should be able to take away key points from every piece of content you produce.
  1. It’s a journey – not a pit stop.
    In many cases – especially at the start of the buyer’s journey – your content serves as a first touch. Make sure it’s a relatively quick read that makes them want to learn more. Whatever the content format – web, brochure, case study, landing page, email – provide a path for prospects to follow to acquire further information. Ensure your links are clear and easy to follow. The journey needs an easily-decipherable path in order to bring the reader along the path and into your funnel.
  1. Create visual impact.
    The data or technical information you share with prospects and customers is critically important, but it also has its place. Being (rightfully) proud of their accomplishments, some companies want to emphasize it and so they’ll overwhelm a content piece with multiple visuals.Let’s just talk software marketing for a minute. Imagine a brochure with multiple screen shots. Now imagine that the screen shots are so small that no one can read them. How well do you think those visuals are going to work to attract your potential customers? They aren’t. If you think that screen shot is a selling point, you’d better make it big enough to make an impact.
  1. “Me, me, me…we, we, we…us, us, us.” Arrghh. Please stop.
    Long after marketers (should have) learned that bragging and self-congratulatory writing won’t help sell products or services, many companies (with their marketers in tow) are still at it. They fill brochures with references to “We at ACME Corp.” I get it…you are proud of your company, its products or services, and its accomplishments. But customers want to hear you talking about their problems and their challenges. They need to know you get it, so they can feel confident that your solution adequately addresses their needs. There you have it – five rules for developing copy and keeping your content smart. Remember, prospects are smart and getting smarter. They are also consuming content in quick, scannable bites, but that being said – a prospect will read every word if they are interested in the value you provide.

Brandwidth Solutions serves the healthcare, life sciences, energy and contract pharma industries. We work with companies that want to make the most of their marketing – who want their marketing empowered to help drive leads – and ultimately sales. If you want to move your product or service forward in a smart way, we want to work with you. Call us at 215.997.8575.

Read More

Posted by on Oct 1, 2018 in Marketing Tips, Tradeshows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Leveraging Digital Marketing for Lead Generation

One of the top questions clients ask us about digital marketing campaigns is how to turn leads into sales.

But what they really want is to understand how to knit together all of their marketing & digital tools and resources – the CRM, website, email marketing, social media accounts, PR, events, tradeshows and other marketing efforts – in order to maximize lead conversion. How do you make it all work?

Digital marketingalso referred to as eMarketing and online marketing – is typically campaign-driven. Effective e-campaign development includes clearly defining your target niche, your messaging, the content and its delivery.

Developing an e-campaign that nurtures a lead and initiates or continues the conversation with the prospect is part art and part science. Here are 4 Tips for an Effective Digital Marketing Campaign:

  1. Exhibiting at an Event? Get an Early Start

Brands spend a great deal of money exhibiting and attending shows, and efforts should focus on beginning the conversation long before the show or conference begins. Why? Because lead nurturing works best when it starts pre-show.

At many shows, exhibitors can purchase a list of registered attendees before the show. Too often, these are overlooked – or resources aren’t available to mine the lists. But they are a gold mine for digital campaigns.

Use the pre-show period to establish brand awareness and thought leadership. With eMarketing and automation platforms, these potential leads can be nurtured early, providing valuable data to the sales team tasked with touching these leads.

 

  1. Develop a Pipeline of Customer-Driven Content

Content makes the world – or, at least the internet – go round. The best sales content, of course, is something the prospect not only wants to read, but urgently needs to read. It grabs their attention and moves them further along the sales process.

The content chosen for an eMarketing campaign can vary widely. Its selection can depend on the channels being used (e.g., email marketing, print or digital advertising, social media) and the types of content favored by the target audience (e.g., video, case studies or white papers, newsletters, long-form).

The content pipeline should be as deep, rich and varied as possible. Too many campaigns fail when the have a limited amount of content to share or use the wrong type of content for the audience (e.g., a podcast instead of a video, or a newsletter instead of a case study).

 

  1. Feed & Track the Lead

Once upon a time, tracking a lead through the sales process – especially a B2B lead – was a hit or miss proposition. With CRMs such as Salesforce, Hubspot and others, those days are largely over. Marketing and sales teams can easily identify what people are clicking on and downloading, what they are reading, where they are spending their time, and how they are progressing through the sales funnel

With some client campaigns, we employ cloned landing pages or UTMs. These feature (or link to) the same content, but each boasts a unique web address used in a specific ad – print or digital – in order to track the effectiveness of ad buys, content, sources and more.

In digital advertising, social media and email marketing campaigns, it is important to make full use of tagged links (UTMs) to track where a lead arrived from, where they’re going, and what they’re doing.

 

  1. Analyze Results – and Act on Them

With today’s automation, not only will you be able to track the lead’s progress through your sales funnel, but you can also understand exactly what it is about your brand that has caught their interest – whether a brochure, case study, landing page, video testimonial or some other piece of content relevant to them.

More data lets you tweak the digital campaign to improve outcomes. And – just as important – it allows you to track ROI and determine the value of sales and marketing resources.

 

A well-thought-out digital marketing campaign coupled with a sales automation platform is one of the most effective tools for improving qualified B2B lead gen efforts.

Want to learn more about developing winning digital marketing campaigns? Contact Brandwidth Solutions today.

Read More