Ben Jesson is the CEO and co-founder of the agency Conversion Rate Experts and, to us, he’s also the mind behind a brilliant approach to using case studies to drive leads.
In this article, we’ll share what we learned from Ben about how Conversion Rate Experts target specific industries on landing pages with the most relevant and industry-specific case study to each and every potential client.
You’ll also read about how Conversion Rate Experts used insights from their sales team to make their studies more compelling and effective.
Meet Conversion Rate Experts
Conversion Rate Experts is an agency for conversion rate optimization (CRO). It’s their specialty and their bread and butter. In fact, the term ‘CRO’ was coined by the Conversion Rate Experts team to give a name to their methodology. Today, the team at Conversion Rate Experts has worked with 80 different industry segments in 11 different languages, spanning 37 countries, helping large corporations and fast-growing startups alike optimize their profits.
Why Case Studies?
We’ve learned the value of case studies for small to midsize companies, but we were excited to hear why a company with notable clients such as Apple, Google and Amazon still find immense value in case studies.
Ben described his experience to us:
“Before my co-founder, Karl, and I started Conversion Rate Experts, we worked for a telecoms company. Within a 12-month period, we tripled the sales of that business working in-house. We had a big whiteboard on the office wall. Every month, we’d plot the sales on this graph and by the end of the year, that graph looked pretty amazing, as we tripled the sales and we smashed all the targets that had been set for us.”
“When we started Conversion Rate Experts, we found that lots of people were skeptical about what could be achieved with conversion optimization. It almost sounded too good to be true. The CEO of the telecoms company kindly gave us permission to use a picture of that sales graph to demonstrate what we achieved in our previous role. We literally carried a print out of that graph when we went to conferences and events. The minute that people saw that graph accompanied by the reference from the CEO, they would say, ‘Well, the proof is in the pudding.’
“That made us aware that it doesn’t matter what you say to a prospect. Having evidence and having proof that your service delivers what you claim it delivers is much more persuasive than any kind of sales message that you can have.”
For Conversion Rate Experts, it was and still is about doing everything they can do to make their clients successful. What better way to demonstrate that company culture and their great work to prospective leads than with case studies?
How to do What Conversion Rate Experts Does
Now that we’ve heard about the why, here’s the how behind Conversion Rate Experts’ case study strategy:
1) Curate a library of case studies
The first time Conversion Rate Experts created a case study, they weren’t intending to create a formal “case study”. They were speaking at a conference and it just so happened that some of their clients were there.
For Conversion Rate Experts, it was completely opportunistic that everyone was in the right place at the right time and there just happened to be a guy with a camcorder to capture their clients’ experiences. Conversion Rate Experts quickly realized the benefits of curating a library of case studies and, over the years, they’ve built a more systematic approach.
Ben says, “Nowadays we send a crew to our clients’ offices and we’ve got a script with specific questions. We want to make sure that our testimonials do the same job as a reference call. In B2B, most people would want to speak to references. They want to speak to other clients, which is totally understandable. We would too, so we wanted to reproduce the experience a prospect would have, literally speaking to one of our clients.”
2) Ask the questions people ask references to reproduce the experience a prospect would have
There’s a technique behind recreating the experience a prospect would have if they were actually speaking to one of your clients, and it lies in the questions you ask.
Ben shares that you have to find out what questions people ask when they request references:
“We found out what questions people ask when they request references, such as: ‘Why did you hire Conversion Rate Experts?’, ‘What problems were you trying to solve?’, ‘What were your concerns?’ Once we got an understanding of what questions were asked, we started to build them into the scripts that we give our video team when they go out and record these testimonials.”
Ben adds that there’s also an internal benefit to asking these questions:
“We get to hear from our clients about what nearly prevented them from using us, which is valuable to us and it shows the areas in our sales process that could be improved, made clearer or more user-friendly. It also allows our sales prospects to resonate with our clients. After watching our client interviews, they think, ‘I feel that way too. I have that fear, I have that concern, and it’s good to see that Conversion Rate Experts not only address that but do so in a way that worked so well the client was happy to give a testimonial.”
3) Use tags to organize your case study content and then create industry-specific pages
Do you want to show a prospective client the success you’ve achieved for companies just like them? Organization is key.
That’s why Conversion Rate Experts tag every case study they published with industry verticals and then create standalone pages focused on the success they’ve achieved for that specific industry.
Ben says, “We just use tags in WordPress – nothing clever, nothing fancy. What we find is when we’ve got a given number of tags for a specific vertical, we could then go and create a standalone page that talks about how we’ve helped clients in that particular industry. It’s very much driven by what we do on the sales side. For example, if someone comes to us from a financial institution or a Fintech company and is interested in using our services, we can show them a page that contains all of the case studies, testimonials, and results that we’ve had for similar companies.”.
For companies that work with international clients, Ben also adds that you can take this tagging strategy one step further and not only organize your case study library by industry but also by geographical location so you can also show what works based on location or in comparison to another country.
4) Start with a great process. Then build relationships
You won’t get a great success story if you don’t have the processes in place to deliver compelling results. Conversion Rate Experts know this, which is why they strive to deliver second-to-none experiences and build strong client relationships first. Those grease the wheels for great case studies.
“You have to be worthy of testimonials and case studies, which is hard. You have to have good workflows and processes in place in order to create and capture quality testimonials and case studies. You have to have great relationships with your clients, along with a good reason for them to want to tell the world about the amazing work that you’ve done together,” Ben says.
5) Take your time and have patience
Success with case studies also comes down to time and patience. Ben highlights that to build a library full of quality case studies, it takes a lot of dedicated effort. Now Conversion Rate Experts have a case study page that’s over 16 feet long.
“It’s hard to get your first five case studies because you’ve got to do the work and then you’ve got to hope that all the stars align in order to get the case study published. Then, you’ve got to build them up over time. You have to be patient and you have to trust the mindset of doing whatever you can to help your clients achieve the best possible results and ultimately doing whatever you can to be deserving of testimonials.” Ben says.
Staying true to their method, Conversion Rate Experts have received a lot of notable attention from their case studies. But, as Ben points out, it’s because their clients are notable and deserving of the attention as well.
Ben says, “We have the benefit that our clients tend to be newsworthy clients and companies that people write about and are interested in. In terms of whether or not case studies work, it’s been a good investment for us as a business.”
And the results are tangible. Thanks to the Conversion Rate Experts team’s dialed-in strategy, many of the clients who walk through their door mention that they’re there because of the case studies.
“We survey every one of our clients during the onboarding process, asking, ‘What were the top three things that persuaded you to engage with Conversion Rate Experts?’ and everyone always mentions the case studies, testimonials and the evidence that we actually get great results,” Ben confirms.
The “proof’s in the pudding,” or in Conversion Rate Experts’ case, the proof is in the case studies. For them, case studies have paid off in spades from the very start, and they can for you too!
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