By Sasha LaFerte published September 24, 2017

How to Get Customers to Participate in a Case Study

customers-participate-case-study

Customer satisfaction not only drives revenue, it’s also the source of testimonials and case studies – the cornerstones of most marketers’ conversion strategies.

Positive words from your customers build trust and motivate other customers. In fact, most B2B marketers consider customer testimonials (89 percent) and case studies (88 percent) as the most effective content marketing tactics, according to a Salesforce post mentioning B2B content marketing trends.

But getting your loyal customers to participate in a case study is easier said than done. It’s often the hardest part of executing a case study. It’s no small thing for your best customers to take time out of their busy schedule to talk about how your product or service has helped them. Add in the concerns about sharing proprietary information, regulatory hurdles, company policies, and lengthy review cycles and creating a case study is a challenge.

Getting customers to agree to participate is often the hardest part of a #casestudy, says @SashaLaferte. Click To Tweet

Follow these tactics to help persuade your customers and get them excited about participating in your marketing case study.

Create a formal submission and request process

Many companies have formal rules for providing testimonials, which can extend the process if you want to have them participate in a case study. Your customer may have to consult with a legal department and/or senior management just to get approval to proceed.

That is why the first tactic to grow your case study pipeline is creating a formal process.

The first tactic to grow your #casestudy pipeline is creating a formal process, says @SashaLaferte. Click To Tweet

Meet with your customer success, sales, and marketing teams to explain why case studies are necessary to the success of your marketing strategy – and ultimately, sales. Use these compelling marketing case study stats from Boast to beef up your pitch.

Next, create a formal document that outlines how to submit marketing case study opportunities. Detail how frequently sales or customer success reps will submit names, and the time commitment involved after a customer agrees to participate.

Ask sales reps to submit names of possible #casestudy subjects, advises @SashaLaferte. Click To Tweet

Create a case study request email template for your internal teams to use to make requests of your customers. Consider modifying one or more of these case study request templates.

Offer employees a bonus

Take your solution to the next level and offer team members incentives for recruiting customers to participate in case studies. This can be effective particularly if you’re struggling to get case studies due to a lack of suggestions or cooperation from other teams within your company.

The drawback to this method is that it’s a bandage approach. Incentivizing employees with money could fix your problem in the short term, but it might be costly in the long run. It also could encourage subpar submissions. Thus, create a short-term incentive plan and communicate your long-term approach to all in your organization. Use the short-term time to get the support of the relevant department heads to motivate their teams to suggest happy – and willing – customers.

Provide value to the customers doing the case studies (and explain it to them)

Case studies are often innately valuable for a customer too. Explain how your customers will benefit from participating. Tell how you’ll link to their website, describe their positive results on social media, and give them publicity through email. For video-based case studies, offer them use of the B roll in their own promotional materials. It’s a win-win.

Explain the value of a #casestudy for your participating customer, says @SashaLaferte. Click To Tweet

Find alternatives if customer policies restrict or forbid case studies

Company policies that restrict or forbid some customers from participating in case studies are a big roadblock. Sometimes you can get customers who have restrictive policies to agree to a case study that doesn’t identify the company by name. While this isn’t nearly as impactful as having a brand name, it can show potential customers how your product works for similar companies. And you still get the benefit of a positive testimonial.

If you have the time, another option is to do a group case study that compiles reviews from several customers. Interview a large sample of your customers and create a case study based on the average results seen by your customers. This makes the information anonymous and provides statistics around your customers’ opinions to use in other marketing materials.

If you’re still not having any luck, try a different approach and start small. Build that case-study relationship over time. First, ask for a one-sentence quote or permission to put the company’s logo on your site as a customer.

Get going

Case studies provide proof of concept to potential buyers and drive your audience further down the funnel. They also serve as a powerful sales-enablement tool. But to create a case study, you must have a customer willing to share their experience with your product or service. Creating a plan to secure that permission – and enlisting your internal teams to help – is essential for short- and long-term case-study success.

With so many tactics available, content marketers can feel overwhelmed. If you read one industry blog a day (or a week), make it CMI’s newsletter – the expert insight on tips, trends, and more can help narrow your options and make the ones you pick more successful. Subscribe today.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute 

Editor’s note: We appreciate Curata’s support of Content Marketing Institute as a paid benefactor. This article was reviewed and edited independently to ensure that it adheres to the same editorial guidelines as all non-sponsored blog posts.

Author: Sasha LaFerte

Sasha Laferte is Curata’s content marketing manager. She's written for several digital marketing publications including Young Women in Digital and HubSpot's Blog. Her experience spans writing content for marketing software companies to creating viral media for Wenner Media (the parent company of Rolling Stone and Us Weekly). Follow her on Twitter @SashaLaferte.

Other posts by Sasha LaFerte

Join Over 200,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Get Inspired: 75 (More) Content Marketing Examples FREE!

  • http://www.thesocialesque.com/ Socialesque

    Science says incentivize participation. Additionally, or sometimes alternatively, be transparent and clear about the usefulness of the study’s outcome, that way participants know they are “contributing to science” or “helping make X industry greener and more sustainable”.