How Effective Are Case Studies for B2B Marketing?

Case Studies for B2B Marketing

In the vast expanse that is content marketing, B2B is a particular kind of beast to wrangle. Between newsletters, on-site articles, informative videos, eBooks, and other types of content, some businesses struggle to figure out which are their most valuable efforts. Case studies for B2B marketing combine equal parts storytelling, data, and design, to convey how products/services have benefitted a particular customer. When done well, they can be so engaging you’ll forget you’re reading a traditionally “dense” piece of content.

New Research: The Most Effective Content Tool is B2B Case Studies

We’re not just making this stuff up. Case studies have been proven to be an incredible marketing tool for many, many companies operating in a B2B space. Some recent research helps put things into perspective a bit more:

  1. The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Group surveyed more than 600 B2B marketing professionals about the current state of content marketing, with results showing that case studies dominate the #1 spot as the most effective format.
  2. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 71% of B2B content marketers use case studies as a content tool for driving engagement and sales.

Because they are, in essence, a nice summary of your achievements, direct testimonials, and endorsements, case studies can be an easy-to-digest way to convey how awesome your business is. Potential customers definitely take notice, too.

Your average B2B buyer is no dummy – they are educated, self-sufficient, and like to do their research on what kind of value they’ll get from a service before putting down the company credit card. If they see your well-designed case studies (especially if you have a case study for each industry segment that you cater to), it can sway a decision in the right direction much better than other types of content marketing, like social media.

Our Best Tips for Creating B2B Case Studies

We’re big into doing content marketing well, case studies included – and have created a variety of client case studies in B2B spaces over the years, earning us some first-hand knowledge on what makes one great. Here are some best practices and tips for building effective, engaging, value-driven B2B case studies:

  • Send your customer a Q&A in survey form, so they can fill out their responses at their own convenience, and you’ll have their direct quotes already in the bag.
  • High-resolution logos and images ALWAYS matter.
  • Real testimonials are good as gold – show them off well!
  • Don’t use it as an opportunity to brag about yourself; you should be bragging about your customer.
  • Use numbers, but tell a story – in the end, it’s about connecting humans to your business.
  • Provide real, quantifiable results and metrics that can show (in numbers) how effective your company is.
  • Keep things as concise as you can, and remember that you’re not writing out a full eBook on the matter.
  • Use stunning visuals, graphs, and charts to help convey data in an eye-catching way.
  • Boil it all down to a one-page PDF if you can – they are more easy to read and share around.
  • Use as much real language as you can, avoiding over-promotional copy that screams “marketing!”
  • Make them easy to find, and link to them where you can in your other on-site content pieces to increase the SEO value.
  • DON’T FORGET YOUR CALL TO ACTION. What’s this all for, anyway?

We’ve put together dozens of effective case studies in our days. If you have any questions or want any help getting one started, give us a shout!

Marketers, Are You Taking Gender Representation Seriously?

gender representation in marketing

Gender roles and identity have fluctuated in the public eye a lot in the last few years. As perspectives are continuing to shift and evolve in the “real world,” so too must perspectives change for brands. The average consumer isn’t taking the same outdated ideas to heart – they are more conscious and informed than ever. In response, brands are beginning to take notice, are trying to hear and understand, and are making necessary changes to implement more inclusive and representative branding.

Let’s look at it this way:

“From a statistical standpoint, 50% of millennials feel that gender is on a spectrum, and 56% of Gen Z’ers know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.” – Andy Bossly

So, is your brand making the effort to accurately represent and being wholly inclusive? A Marketing Dive article we recently soaked up helps explain why companies should take another close look at gender representation, and how it can be made possible with the use of amazing marketing technology. Here’s a sampling of the piece:

While there may be a swell of support, ads that break with a male-female mold are exceptionally rare. Part of that might stem from marketers’ fear of backlash from either side of the political aisle — conservative viewers in favor of traditional gender representation and also progressives sensitive to ensuring people are accurately and tastefully portrayed. In the latter case, panelists said it’s more of a learning process than a crucible.

“The language is evolving […] don’t get stuck with the language, keep up as best you can,” Shane Whalley, the owner of Daring Dialogues Consulting and an adjunct assistant professor at The University of Texas at Austin, said. “The other really important piece is that if you make a mistake, which we all do, just stay in those conversations and listen to the community.”

One example of an ad depicting gender fluidity that earned praise was Coca-Cola’s Super Bowl TV spot from this year, which used they/them pronouns. Though the creative calls this out, it does so without distracting from Coke’s broader messaging, which has always been about optimism, according to Bossley.

“It all laddered into their existing brand platform that they’ve had for over 130 years,” he said. “It made sense — it didn’t feel like an outlier for them.”

However, if the appeal of gender fluidity in advertising does grow for marketers like Coke, it’s important for them to be especially mindful of actually embodying inclusivity beyond what’s presented to consumers.

“Let’s say you do a great campaign and I feel seen. I’m going to go to your company’s website, look up your non-discrimination policy and see if it’s inclusive,” Whalley, who identifies as genderqueer, said. “The inside-out piece is really important.”

Read the rest of the article on Marketing Dive here >>

Then reach out to us with your thoughts here >>

Visual Marketing Isn’t Just Nice to Look At, It’s a Science [Infographic]

With so many stimuli presented to people online every day, understanding how visuals can attract consumers’ eyes is critical. The science of visual marketing has proven to encourage more engagement and retention in branded content. As humans, our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text; it makes a lot of sense why the right visuals can make such a big difference.

The infographic below from iScribblers on how visual elements like color and images can influence your marketing. Some of our favorite takeaways include:

  • Visuals with color increase people’s willingness to read a piece of content by up to 80%.
  • 50 – 80% of the human brain is dedicated to visual processing, such as vision, visual memory, colors, shapes, patterns, etc.
  • The brain takes less than 1 second to process visuals. It takes 150 milliseconds to process and image, and another 100 milliseconds to attach meaning to it.

science of visual marketing

Source: iScribblers

Check out more great articles on visual content marketing and how to do it well, or reach out to us on Twitter if you want to talk shop!

How to Create a Winning Business YouTube Channel

Business YouTube Channel

YouTube is hard, but it’s not impossible to master as a brand. The platform as it stands today isn’t just reserved for vloggers, un-boxers, and young stars-in-the-making, it’s a seriously lucrative source for SEO, content marketing, and other acquisition and engagement strategies. If you’ve got videos that are watchable and the will to put some work into your channel’s branding and content, you’ve got a chance of making a winning business YouTube channel.

A lot of consumers use YouTube like they would Google these days– type in a query or topic to the search bar, and be instantly served with curated, highly-ranked videos. With almost 5 billion videos watched on YouTube every day, creating compelling video content is the perfect way to get your brand in front of new, eager eyes. If you’re a newcomer to the YouTube scene, we’ve got just the steps for getting started with a successful business YouTube channel.

STEP 1: CREATE YOUR CONTENT

What we mean by “create your content” isn’t just “make videos and put them online.” In case you missed our earlier stat, 5 BILLION videos are watched on YouTube on a daily basis; plus, it’s a well-known bummer that people will leave a video in the first 10 seconds if it doesn’t grab them. That being said, you shouldn’t just make videos, you should make GOOD videos.

Business YouTube channels should always have a healthy mix of videos that inform, engage, and entertain to keep consumers interested and more likely to click the subscribe button. Hot tip! The more promotional you lean, the more people will not like your channel. Simple as that! Here’s a video we love that summarizes how to create business videos for YouTube that are simple, straightforward, and look fantastic.

STEP 2: BUILD YOUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

In just a few quick moves, you can go from no YouTube presence to having a channel of your very own – one that accurately represents what your company and brand means.

First, create a Google and YouTube account. 

We’re guessing you already have one (if not, head here), so we’ll skip the steps on how to get all set up on that front. If you have multiple Google accounts, be sure to select the one you want to be associated with the YouTube channel. With a Google account in tow, you can navigate over to YouTube.com to customize your channel from the account menu.

Hot tip! You don’t have to use your business name when creating a brand channel account right away – you can always add that in later.

Next, optimize your channel with brand details.

The description of your company is just as important as (if not more so than) the descriptions of your individual videos. Make sure that your “About” page includes a brief mission statement or welcome message that will lead back to your main website. Hot tip! Add in a business inquiry email to help potential new customers get a hold of you faster.

You should also add any relevant social media profiles outside of YouTube, as well as your website homepage, new blogs, or whatever you’re trying to promote at the moment. Adding in links to where you’d like your YouTube traffic to land increases the chances of your traffic becoming actual customers and loyal fans of your brand.

Then, customize your channel with visuals.

This means adding in brand-friendly imagery and text that will provide more context to your videos and company – just be sure to always use high-resolution images! YouTube’s required image dimensions are…

  • Channel icon — recommended as 800×800 pixels, displays as 98×98 pixels
  • Channel banner — 2,560×1440 pixels, safe area for mobile and web (without text and logo cropping) is 1546 x 423 pixels.

We love to use Canva to create beautiful, perfectly-sized images for YouTube channels (among other creative projects!).

Now, add your videos!

Find a cozy spot right next to your WiFi router, sit back, and watch the magic happen.

For more great tips on building a great YouTube channel for business, check out this SproutSocial article with handy screenshots!

STEP 3: OPTIMIZE THAT SH!T

Cultivating a qualified audience on YouTube certainly doesn’t happen overnight – getting people to find and watch your videos in the first place is always what you need to focus on first after setting up your channel. We have a tried-and-true checklist of best practices for YouTube video optimization that makes it simple make sure your videos are cleaned up and searchable.

  • Have your video content transcribed using your transcription service of choice. You’ll use this complete transcript to upload as a part of your main video description – a huge lure for SEO, especially if your script is chock-full of keywords.
  • Generate a list of the target keywords for each video that you’ll be uploading. Be sure to consult with Moz.com or your SEO tool of choice to make sure you’re optimizing for the right things, too.
  • Update your video file name to include the keyword. It seems small and insignificant, but we promise it’s a big one.
  • Edit the video title to be around 5 words long (the ideal length for SEO purposes), and include the keyword at the beginning.
  • Structure your video title in a way that will encourage more views and higher search rankings. In general, Google tends to use video results for how-to keywords, reviews, tutorials, anything fitness/sports related, and funny videos.
  • Update the video to include closed captions. We don’t highly recommend just using the default YouTube tool for this, either, as the captions always turn out clunkier than expected. Accessibility is important!
  • Add a captivating thumbnail image. Don’t just pick whatever default YouTube happens on – first impressions are really important here.
  • Write a short description that includes the keyword within the first 25 words, and place it at the top of the description box.
  • Include the full transcript below the short description in the description box, making sure that the keyword is used 3-4 times throughout.
  • Using the list of keywords you generated earlier, add the target keyword(s) and all other relevant keywords to your video tags.
Feeling stuck/overwhelmed/a little stressed out? We’re happy to walk you through how to make a great business YouTube channel – give us a shout!

AdWords Competitor Targeting: Guidelines & Best Practices Before You Dive In

AdWords Competitor Targeting

Mastering Google Adwords is seriously tricky business – essential, but tricky. For digital marketing strategies to perform successfully, however, it’s pretty important to find someone who considers themselves a master of it. For B2B companies out there, you may have tried out or heard about a practice that some might consider controversial: competitor targeting. It’s been around for as long as Adwords has existed; before the Internet even existed, targeting the competition has been a tactic that some have gained true, long-term success from. As Unbounce puts it:

Sneaky as this tactic may seem, online advertising is still a far cry from those “10X better than the leading brand” television ads that are plaguing primetime to this day.

While an effective way to get ahead in the Adwords game, there are still a few guidelines and best practices for competitor targeting on Google Adwords. Unbounce – one of our favorite companies and tools for folks like us – wrote a fantastic article on how to know if this practice is right for you, as well as how to do it well. Take a look at just a sample here:

Proceed with Caution

Targeting competitor keywords might be common, but it’s best to get your ducks in a row before you jump straight in. After all, just because Brand X is doing this, doesn’t mean it’s right for you.

The number one thing you need to keep in mind about competitor targeting in AdWords is that it’s competitive. Before you tell your boss or your client that you’re launching a competitor campaign, check if your competitors have already done the same.

First Stop: Auction Insights

To know who’s bidding on your branded terms (and how well they’re doing it), click into your Campaigns (in the new AdWords experience), then navigate to the Auction Insights tab and filter for your branded campaigns.

If you’re not seeing any suspects, hurrah! You now have a decision to make: whether or not you want to risk starting a trend by being the first to target your competitors’ terms. If they catch on, they could return the favor by coming after your terms and potentially driving up your cost-per-click. Even in the Search world, you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.

Seeing some familiar names in the list? If competitors are already bidding on your branded terms, it’s fair game for you to enter the ring. After doing your homework, of course.

 

Want more? Head to the Unbounce blog >> 

If you’re ready to get started on your own Adwords campaign, give us a holler! Miguel, our resident Adwords expert, is always ready to help.