Your lead magnet will only get downloads if your opt-in page is compelling. Find out what 6 opt-in page elements you need to include to drive conversions.
Increase downloads of your B2B SaaS lead magnetwith a great opt-in page
As a SaaS marketer, you know it takes a significant amount of time and effort to create high quality lead magnets, like ebooks, white papers and guides. But your lead magnet’s ability to drive downloads—and revenue—depends heavily on how compelling your opt-in page is.
The opt-in page is so much more than just a form to fill out. It has to attract visitors and convince them that they need the content you’re offering. If your opt-in page doesn’t include the right elements and fails to communicate your lead magnet’s value, your efforts will be wasted.
Opt-in page anatomy for high conversions: 6 key elements
Here are the 6 elements you need to use to create a powerful, high-converting opt-in landing page that drives downloads for your B2B SaaS ebooks, white papers and guides.
6 opt-in page elements you need to include
1. Page title
The page title on landing page plays a huge role when it comes to readers deciding whether or not to download your lead magnet—so your title needs to make an impact. The best titles are strong, persuasive and benefit-driven. A great page title:
Grabs your readers’ attention
Clearly explains what the ebook will cover
Tells people what’s in it for them if they download your lead magnet
What they nailed: This page title grabs the readers’ attention by speaking to their pain of having lots of individual solutions that weren’t built to fit together seamlessly.
What they can improve: The page title would be stronger if it identified the industry or role the ebook is geared towards—for example, “7 Reasons for Corporate Accountants to Ditch the Duct Tape and Embrace the Cloud”.
Best practice to steal: Start your page title with a number to capture your audience’s eye quickly.
Incorporating visuals like photos, illustrations and graphics on your opt-in page helps pique interest in the content. Strong imagery is:
What they nailed: This section of the opt-in page sets up the situation and the need for a chat support strategy. It also outlines 3 ways readers will benefit from downloading the ebook.
What they can improve: Use numbers within the bullets to be more specific—for example, “discover 5 ways to provide exceptional chat support.”
Best practice to steal: List benefits in a bulleted list and start each bullet with an action verb that describes the benefit the reader will gain.
4. Social proof
Using social proof on your opt-in page to demonstrate the importance of your lead magnet topic is a smart strategy for B2B SaaS marketers. Some great examples of social proof on an opt-in page include:
Quotes from current customers raving about how the topic of your lead magnet (for example, marketing operations software) has impacted their business
Quotes that dispel myths or address objections about the topic of your lead magnet
Numbers that give weight to the topic of your lead magnet (for example, 10 million people use cloud software for B2B banking)
Having a robust content brief template is the only way you’ll get the high quality content you need to knock it out of the park every time. Download the content brief template Uplift Content uses.
Updated July 2022: You need to knock it out of the park with every piece of B2B SaaS marketing content you create. The best way to get the results you want is to kick off each project by filling out a content brief template that covers all of the standard elements, but also includes a few things you may not have considered before.
A content brief is a document that outlines all of the expectations, requirements and suggestions for a writer as they set out to write a piece of content. It typically includes basic information like word count, topic and keywords to use, but it can also include more in-depth information like the goal of the content, who the audience is and a rough outline.
Unlike a quick conversation or messy meeting notes, a content brief is important because it provides a written record of what is expected from the content. It helps ensure everyone on your team is on the same page—especially if you’re working with an extended team via an agency or freelance writers.
What is a content brief template?
A content brief template is a reusable document that has predetermined sections outlining all of the pieces of information you need to include when creating a content brief. Having a template for your content brief will not only save you time, but it will also ensure you don’t forget to include any important elements.
Who should use a content brief template?
A content creation brief template is an invaluable tool for anyone involved in content creation. From the product marketer tasked with writing a post on the newest functionality to the vice president of marketing charged with creating an entire content strategy, content writing brief templates are useful at any level of your B2B SaaS business. Here are two roles that typically fill out content brief templates:
Marketing strategists are well-versed in keyword research, content strategy and planning. But their real superpower is understanding how to connect all the pieces of the content puzzle together to achieve specific business goals.
Using a content brief template allows marketing strategists to communicate all of their insights to the writer in a way that is easily digestible and actionable. It also provides the writer with a better understanding of how this particular piece of content fits into the broader strategy.
With a detailed and fully completed content marketing brief template to work from, the writer can create content that aligns with the content marketing strategy, performs better and requires less back-and-forth time with the editor.
Sometimes content projects don’t have dedicated strategists. And sometimes the only information provided to the writer is high-level information like “we need a blog post on the benefits of our product.”
In these cases, the writer should fill out the content marketing brief template and run the brief past the stakeholders to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Content brief templates also help set clear expectations for the piece of content and save a lot of time (and headaches) down the road.
Why are content brief templates so important?
Jumping into a content project without a fully fleshed out content brief template is a bit like baking a cake with no recipe. You might get lucky and end up with a great tasting cake, or you may end up with a hot mess.
Filling out a content writing brief template is critical to the content’s success for 3 reasons:
1. Prevent rewrites and reduce revisions
Content briefs help the whole content team align on what’s important. With a completed content marketing brief template, everyone can clearly see what’s expected, which is crucial for avoiding rewrites and multiple rounds of revisions, as well as getting approvals quickly.
2. Ensure all requirements are met
A content creation brief template acts as checklist for the content you’ll be creating, ensuring the writer doesn’t forget to include anything that’s needed for a comprehensive and useful piece of content.
3. Save time
With email, Slack, Trello, meetings and Google Docs, we have so many ways of communicating about our next piece of content that it can be difficult and time-consuming to find a specific piece of information. By collecting all the information into a content brief template, the entire team knows where to easily and quickly find the information.
How do content brief templates fit into content marketing workflows?
The content marketing workflow is cyclical, and the content writing brief template is arguably at the center of it all. Here’s a typical workflow:
Conduct research to figure out the content strategy and how content fits into the big picture.
Map out how specific pieces of content fit into the content plan and editorial calendar.
3. Content brief template
Fill out a template for every content item in your content calendar. The brief is the critical link between your research and planning—and the actual content creation.
Refer to the content brief continually while executing on the content.
Use the content brief as a checklist when reviewing the content to make sure all critical information is included.
Keep an eye on the content brief when publishing the content to ensure that the keywords are fully optimized.
What should you include in a content brief template?
A content brief template should include all the elements necessary to produce great content. Here are 8 basic components every content creation brief needs:
Provide a working title for the piece of content so everyone knows how to refer to the project.
When is the draft due and when will the content be published?
What is the goal of the content? What are you hoping this content will achieve?
4. Buyer’s journey
What stage in the buyer’s journey is our reader? Awareness, consideration, decision?
Who is your target audience? Why would they want to read this content? What’s in it for them?
Clearly describe the topic you’d like the piece to cover. Are there any specific angles you’d like the writer to explore?
What type of content is it? For example, blog post or ebook? What’s the word count? Any specific formatting considerations?
Provide any templates, style guides, key messaging documents or background information that could be helpful to the writer.
What are some lesser known elements to include in a content brief template?
Take your content from basic to brilliant by adding these 5 unexpected elements to your content creation brief:
1. Emotional outcome
As a B2B SaaS marketer, you already know the aim of your content, but do you know how you want people to feel after they read one of your blog posts? How about relief or excitement that they finally have a solution to a problem that’s been nagging them? This is the emotional outcome. Get clear on this in your content creation brief and you’ll forge a strong connection with your audience.
2. Big picture
Craft your content brief with your company’s greater purpose in mind.
The well known example from author Simon Sinek explains how Apple markets its products—not as user-friendly computers or smartphones, but as part of a bigger picture that centers around challenging the status quo.
For many SaaS companies, their ‘why’ could involve disrupting old patterns and breaking down barriers so people can work more efficiently and with greater impact. Make sure your content creation brief reflects your company’s ‘why’.
3. Competitive analysis
Include a few links to your competitors’ content in your writer’s brief to give a sense of what other companies in your industry are doing well—and not so well—in their blog posts and ebooks. This is one of the best ways to ensure your content stays sharp and fills in any missing gaps in information.
The most engaging and effective content tells a story. So, when developing a content brief, plot out the story that you want the content to tell. Like any good narrative, it should have a beginning, middle and end. For example, highlight a problem and describe how it’s challenging an industry. Then provide thought leadership on how to solve the problem.
5. Performance expectations
The content brief isn’t just a way to outline what information the content should include. It’s also a chance to share your enthusiasm and ambition for the content—and inspire the writer. Is the goal to publish the definitive guide to a subject? Spell that out. Let the writer know you’re confident that you can achieve this together.
Now that you know what sections to include in your content marketing brief template, you’re ready to fill it out. Here are 4 things to keep in mind as you fill out a content brief template:
1. Be clear and concise
The goal of the content brief is to provide clear instructions to the writer so that they can produce content that meets your expectations. For this to happen, you need to be as specific as possible about what you want—and just as importantly, what you don’t want.
2. Know your audience
Your target audience should be at the front of your mind when you’re filling out the content brief template. Every decision you make, from the topic to the tone of voice, should be based on what will resonate with them.
3. Set realistic expectations
It’s important to set realistic expectations for both you and the writer. If you’re unrealistic about deadlines, word counts or the level of detail you expect in the final piece, it will only lead to frustration on both sides.
4. Be flexible
While it’s important to be specific about what you want, it’s also important to be open to new ideas and perspectives. The best content is often the result of a collaborative effort between you and the writer, so be prepared to put your own preconceptions aside and let the writer take the lead.
Start using content brief templates for your next project
Having a clear and concise content brief will save you time and frustration in the long run—and ensure that the final product is exactly what your team wants. Once you’ve created a content brief template that works for your team, you can use it over and over again for all your future projects. Fill in the blanks with the specific details of each project, and you’ll be well on your way to producing great content that achieves your goals every time.
It’s crucial to choose the right call to action (CTA) for every blog post you create. See 12 examples of convincing CTAs that other leading SaaS companies use successfully.
Use these CTA examples to nail your own calls to action
You’ve worked hard to produce blog posts that build brand awareness and drive traffic to your SaaS company’s website. Once you’ve got a reader’s eyes on a post, the key to successful content marketing is to get the reader to take another action. Check out the blog CTA examples in this post to help you craft the right call to action (CTA) for every blog post you create.
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to learn more about our products and services by clicking on specific product or service pages.
Snowflake’s blog post promotes one of the company’s products with a CTA that explains the benefit the product offers. Because the link text is blue, the product name really stands out in the paragraph.
VidyoHealth’s blog post has a CTA to an industry-specific landing page for the company’s telehealth platform. This CTA could be improved by adding benefit-driven language. Also, by shortening the link text, it would be easier to scan and understand quickly.
CTA examples for downloading a free resource
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to download a free resource so we can send them nurture emails and move them through the buyer’s journey.
Lineup Systems’s blog post has an eye-catching CTA at the bottom of the page that promotes a report for readers to download. The graphic works well because it shows you a picture of what you’ll get if you download the report, and the CTA button stands out nicely.
ServiceNow’s blog post promotes a downloadable report and a webinar, but the in-text CTAs are easy to miss since they don’t pop off the page.
CTA examples for subscribing to an email list
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to subscribe to the newsletter so we can engage with them on a regular basis and stay top of mind for when they’re ready to buy.
Zendesk’s blog post has a clear “subscribe” button, and also describes what readers will gain from signing up for the company’s email list.
Snowflake’s blog post has a “subscribe” button on the left sidebar that catches readers’ attention and stays with you as you scroll through the article, but the CTA doesn’t contain enough context. Subscribe to what?
CTA examples for booking a demo
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to sign up for a demo so we can personally show them the solution and how it might work for them.
SentricHR’s blog post includes an in-text CTA to schedule a demo. It’s not in your face or overly sales-y. But it’s the logical next step if you’re serious about the solution and want to learn more.
ServiceNow’s blog post has a “schedule a demo” CTA at the bottom of the blog post, but it lacks focus because it lists two tasks: 1) requesting info and 2) scheduling a demo. If booking a demo is important, ServiceNow should use one big, colorful button that says “Book my demo.”
CTA examples for starting a free trial
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to do a trial so they can experience the solution for themselves.
Twilio’s blog post has a “sign up and start building” CTA, however it’s buried at the bottom of the page, and it’s unclear that the reader is signing up for a free account until they click the button. That said, giving a secondary CTA is a nice option for people who aren’t ready to pull the trigger yet.
CTA examples for contacting us
Goal: We want our blog post visitors to reach out with any questions they might have so we can help educate them on our solution and deal with any objections they might have.
While Stripe’s blog post is a little heavy on CTAs (it includes in-text CTAs, a “subscribe to RSS” CTA, a “check out jobs” CTA and a “contact with feedback” CTA), the “contact” CTA is prominently highlighted. This CTA is simple and personable, encouraging people to reach out to Stripe.
Twilio’s blog post contains multiple CTAs. It’s essential to figure out which specific CTA is the most important—and drive attention to it. In this example, contacting the Twilio sales team doesn’t stand out as an option. If the reader happens to see it, all they see is the words “Twilio Sales team” linked, with no action word like “Contact” to guide them to their next step.
The Power of a Strong Blog Post CTA
* 121% increase in conversions with in-text CTAs
* 87% boost in conversions with CTAs that have the search keywords in the link
* 240% improvement in conversions with CTAs for free templates
Compelling CTAs for your SaaS blog posts need to have a specific objective in mind. They should speak clearly to the audience they’re intended for, in a manner that’s both informative and to the point.
6 blog post CTA goals to consider
1. Build brand awareness
We want the blog post reader to learn more about our solutions by exploring our product or service pages.
2. Boost leads
We want to send the reader email nurture sequences by having them complete the form to download our free ebook.
3. Grow email subscriber list
We want the reader to get to know and trust us by signing up for our newsletter.
4. Increase leads
We want the reader to see how our solution works by getting them to book a demo.
5. Improve sales
We want the reader to experience our solution in action by starting a free trial.
6. Get prospects on the phone
We want to give the reader the opportunity to ask us questions by giving us a call.
7 Tips to writing a strong blog post CTA
Use these blog post CTA best practices to drive conversions on your SaaS blog posts:
1. Be direct and informative
Make your message transparent and let readers know what they’ll gain from taking the action.
CTA example: Sign up for weekly tips
2. Deliver value and build trust
Keep your prospects’ attention through the long B2B sales cycle. Blog post CTAs that drive people to lead magnets work well for this purpose.
CTA example: Download the ebook
3. Use action-oriented language
Keep your audience moving forward in a low-pressure environment.
CTA example: Get started for free
4. Make it personal
Try using first-person phrasing like “my” instead of second-person phrasing like “your”.
CTA example: Start my free 30-day trial
5. Nurture rather than transact
Focus on building long-term relationships that eventually lead to sales. Rather than demanding your prospects to “buy now,” ask them to “learn more”.
CTA example: Explore our solutions
6. Invite readers to reach out
Give your audience the opportunity to ask any questions that might be holding them back from buying from you.
CTA example: Ask us a question
7. Create urgency
Instead of requesting your prospects to simply “subscribe”, encourage them to take action faster.
CTA example: Subscribe now
Get help with your SaaS blog posts
You’re under pressure to produce compelling blog posts with strong CTAs on a regular basis. The only problem is, you’re slammed. At Uplift Content, we’re here to help.
We understand the power of blog posts to drive leads for your SaaS company. Carefully crafted blogs have the potential to get you triple the amount of leads generated by paid advertising.
It’s difficult for customer marketers to evaluate how their peers at other SaaS companies create and use case studies—what they’re getting right, and what they’re learning along the way. We did a survey to find out.
As a sales tool, effective SaaS marketing case studies are hard to beat. Almost every SaaS company publishes case studies to showcase the real-world benefits of their products through their customers’ success.
But what makes a great SaaS marketing case study?
From inside the busyness of a single organization, it’s difficult for customer marketers to evaluate how their peers at other SaaS companies create and use case studies—what they’re getting right, and what they’re learning along the way.
That’s a gap we wanted to fill
We surveyed 121 SaaS marketers and related professionals in February 2022 to gather their insights and experiences with case studies.
The results shed new light on the value of SaaS marketing case studies and how customer marketers are using them to maximize ROI. Our analysis also breaks down SaaS marketing trends, like what case study formats are currently working well and how SaaS companies secure customer buy-in and measure case study success.
A great case study tells a story that resonates with a prospect. It includes shared pain points and showcases how your solution solved that pain for them.Ashley Ward, Director of Customer Marketing, LeanData
How many SaaS marketing case studies do you really need?
If you’re anything like the customer marketers we surveyed, you’re trying to find the balance between having enough case studies (to cover all your products, use cases, company sizes and so on) and not wasting valuable resources creating repetitive stories.
While there’s no right answer to how many SaaS marketing case studies are enough, you might be interested in how many case studies your peers at other SaaS companies are producing.
How many case studies do SaaS companies currently have in use?
SaaS companies reported having 28 active case studies on average.
Depending on the size of the company, the average number of case studies in use varies quite significantly:
37 case studies for larger companies (500+ employees)
16 case studies for smaller companies (<500 employees)
SaaS marketing case studies: a growing priority
All survey respondents said case studies are a growing priority.
On average, SaaS companies plan to produce 18 new case studies in 2022, compared with only 11 in 2021. This represents a 61% increase in the number of new case studies planned in 2022 over 2021.
Smaller companies plan to produce 13 new case studies in 2022, compared to 6 last year. And larger companies plan to produce 22 new case studies in 2022, compared to 16 last year.
It will be interesting to see how these SaaS trends change year over year.
A case study by any other name
Before we go much further, we need to talk about what companies are actually calling the dang things.
At 45%, “case studies” is the term most companies use for these assets. But larger companies with 20+ case studies tend to prefer “customer success stories.” The least used term is “customer stories.”
Case studies are a great way to raise awareness in the market. When prospects see that your customers are the leaders in their industries, they’re more likely to consider your solutions. They’re also a great way for a salesperson to bring their ‘pitch’ to life in an authentic and relatable way.Emma Telfer, Principal Customer Marketing Manager, Twilio
Are you using your SaaS marketing case studies in the right places?
77% of SaaS companies have a case study section on their website, but that’s not the only place you’ll see them. From presentations to social media to webinars, SaaS marketing case studies are highly adaptable assets.
Is it better to offer free and easy access to case studies—or require an email address? Survey respondents say: don’t gate.
50% of SaaS companies don’t gate any of their case studies. Only 15% gate all of them; about 30% gate some of them.
Where do SaaS marketing case studies fit in the sales process?
Over 50% of respondents say case studies are most valuable in the middle of the funnel—the consideration stage—though 33% say they’re also useful at the top of the funnel and 15% at the bottom of the funnel.
Case studies are our most important piece of marketing collateral because they’re powerful at every stage of the funnel. They increase buyer confidence, give prospects an idea of what they could achieve, inspire our customers, and help our sales team move deals over the finish line.Julie Matheney, Associate Director of Digital Marketing, Feathr
What popular case study formats should you try in 2022?
Most companies currently make their case studies available in multiple formats:
55% of the larger companies surveyed use video to showcase case studies, while 62% are using video and text together.
You’ll see more case studies including video soon. 44% of companies who don’t yet incorporate video elements in their case studies plan to do so in 2022. These are really interesting SaaS trends you should keep your eyes on.
Expect more infographics in 2022
Infographics are currently underused—only 22% of respondents include them as a case study format—but another 49% plan to try infographics in 2022.
How long should a SaaS marketing case study be?
We know you’re dying to know the answer to this question so here you go:
Across the board, respondents keep case studies between 500 and 1,000 words, regardless of company size or the number of case studies in use.
Case studies are great for starting initial conversations with prospects. Our audience is so worried about changing the way they do things, but hearing that other companies are taking the leap really helps them feel confident about starting the conversation.Stephanie Mansueto, Director of Marketing, Athennian
Are you doing enough to get strong metrics for your case studies?
Potential customers want to know how a SaaS product can solve challenges and improve their bottom line. Nothing illustrates that better than concrete numbers.
Case study metrics make an impact
77% of SaaS companies include metrics in at least 50% of their case studies. Only 2% publish case studies without any metrics at all.
Respondents say their key metrics focus on time and money.
An impactful case study needs a great customer logo, powerful results and strong storytelling that showcases the customer as the champion of your product.Clarke Conlon, Customer Marketing Manager, Pandadoc.com
Do your customers consistently participate in (and approve) your case studies?
Finding enthusiastic customers with a great story to tell can be challenging. In this section, we’ll look at marketing tactics you can use to encourage your sales team to identify case study participants. We’ll also talk about how to incentivize customers to participate, and why customers sometimes say ‘no.’
Responsibility for finding customers willing to participate in SaaS marketing case studies sometimes falls to the sales team and account managers.
SaaS companies use a variety of tactics to motivate the sales team and account managers to identify customers who would make ideal case study subjects.
In the majority of cases, SaaS companies remind the sales team and account managers of the benefits of having fresh, well-written case studies to use in their sales process.
Only 20% of companies give gift certificates or cash to motivate the sales team to find case study participants.
Incentivize your customers to participate in case studies: yes or no?
30% of SaaS companies surveyed offer customers no specific incentives to participate in a case study—happy customers love to share their stories. Another 30% of companies build case study participation into an initial contract.
Over 60% of companies offer an indirect incentive to their customers by explaining the benefits (to them and their companies) of participating.
But some SaaS companies sweeten the pot with direct incentives. 35% of larger companies offer reduced fees for future projects or services, and 27% of smaller companies offer swag. 22% of all SaaS companies offer gift certificates and 16% offer an expanded level of service.
Reasons customers say ‘no’ to participating in a case study
Even if a customer is delighted with a service, they may refuse to participate in a case study for confidentiality or legal reasons. Or they may simply not have the time or interest.
Customers rarely refuse to participate due to concerns about the case study itself, or the process involved. Perhaps case studies are known entities in 2022—this may bode well for recruiting future participants.
Your customer’s name and logo are important
Since you likely don’t have an unlimited case study budget, you have to be strategic when deciding which customer stories to turn into case studies.
80% of SaaS companies publish customer names or logos in their case studies, and for good reason: well-known customers instill trust and confidence in both your company and your services.
A powerful case study has great storytelling that makes a complex use case easy to understand. It also has strong metrics and highlights tangible value from the product.Amanda Peacock, Director of Customer Marketing, Zylo
What are you doing to set your SaaS company up for case study success?
Not every case study hits the mark. In fact, not every case study even sees the light of day. Our survey results offer a few clues that might help ensure your SaaS marketing case studies are not just visible, but as impactful and effective as possible.
Ensuring your case study is published
According to our survey, 17% of case studies produced are not published because the customer doesn’t approve them. And 39% of SaaS companies have had this unfortunate experience.
Respondents offer a few tactics for avoiding this waste of time and goodwill:
73% ensure the customer knows they can suggest edits
63% secure buy-in at all levels, including legal, upfront
A great case study demonstrates ROI clearly and is relatable for your target audience (i.e., they recognize themselves in the story). It paints a complete picture, from challenges to solutions to results.Dennis Looijenga, Head of Customer Marketing, Foleon
Tips for improving case studies
60% of SaaS companies would add more measurable results or statistics to improve their case studies.
About 40% of companies say they would strive for better storytelling, including stronger and relatable challenges and customer quotes. And about 40% also say a video element would improve their case studies.
How satisfied are marketers with their SaaS marketing case studies?
Only 18% of SaaS marketers are very satisfied with their case studies overall. Interestingly, SaaS companies are equally satisfied with their case studies whether they write them in-house or outsource them—with 3.8 stars for each situation.
Want to see what other leading SaaS companies’ case studies look like? Check out Brent Barnhart’s post that digs into 7 case study examples and why they’re so effective.
How SaaS companies measure the success of their case studies
30% of SaaS companies say they don’t measure case study performance at all because they lack the time, resources or know-how to do so.
The rest of the respondents use a wide variety of marketing tactics to evaluate case studies.
Compelling case studies make it easier to sell the vision of where prospects could be, were they to do business with you.Alexander Walmsley, Marketing Manager, Compuco
Should you produce your SaaS marketing case studies in-house or outsource them?
We all know case studies can be a bit of a beast to produce. From first identifying the customer to final approval, our survey respondents reported that it takes 2 months on average to produce a case study.
Within that time frame, the marketing team spends an average of 6 to 20 hours actively working on each case study.
When your marketing team is constantly slammed, outsourcing case study writing can be a good solution.
The team at Uplift is skilled at using the voice of the customer to create high quality content that helps generate brand awareness, grow leads, influence new opportunities and produce growth within our accounts.Brittany Rolfe Hillard, VP, Customer Advocacy, WalkMe
Thank you to all survey participants!
Your input has helped us take the pulse and identify SaaS trends of how customer marketers across the world are successfully using case studies in 2022.
Survey methodology: We surveyed 121 SaaS marketers globally who currently use case studies as a marketing tool. We conducted the survey in February 2022 using Typeform, an online survey tool.
B2B SaaS customer stories take time and effort to produce, which means it’s crucial to evaluate whether these sales tools are performing well. However, this is often easier said than done. Get insights on this tricky issue from 8 customer marketers on how they measure the success of their customer stories.
Updated April 2022: Successful B2B SaaS case studies take time and effort to produce from everyone involved—including your customers—which means it’s crucial to evaluate whether these sales tools are performing well enough to make the content creation process worth your while.
However, determining case study success is often easier said than done because many SaaS companies use both quantitative and qualitative metrics to evaluate a home run versus a dud, and gathering this data can be challenging.
In this blog post, we’ll share insights on this tricky issue directly from customer marketing leaders in the SaaS industry, as we dig into what case study success looks like for 8 customer marketers.
Case study success: why is it so hard to measure?
Your B2B SaaS case studies can only be successful if they have impact, and to have impact, these stories must be shared.
Content creators rely on others within their organizations, such as social media marketers and sales reps, to get these stories in front of potential customers, which makes it hard to keep track of the content’s success.
Say your case study catches a prospect’s eye on LinkedIn and they click through to your website to read it.
Even at that point, it’s tough to determine case study success because metrics such as page views and time spent on a page track the level of consumption of a story, but not how it was received by readers, which is highly subjective, or how it might go on to influence a deal.
No cohesive view of case study success
Case study success is something that every customer marketer is aiming for. But it’s extremely hard to get a cohesive view of how case studies perform.
While some SaaS marketers report receiving anecdotal feedback on case studies from sales colleagues, this is a rare occurrence.
Other customer marketers feel they have no concrete view into how often case studies are used in sales conversations.
Metrics can be deceiving because there’s no way to know how often a sales rep has saved the content to their desktop and emailed it to a lead.
Finally, technology poses another challenge. One SaaS marketer describes case studies as an engine that powers other components of marketing and sales, which often use different MarTech stacks. As a result, the variety of places marketers need to look for metrics makes the evaluation process time consuming.
With a multitude of tools being used, it becomes tricky to get a cohesive view of the impact of your case studies, and you’ll often be missing key pieces of data required to gain a full picture.
Case in point
In February of 2022, we conducted a survey of 121 SaaS marketers and found that 30% of SaaS companies say they don’t measure case study performance at all because they lack the time, resources or know-how to do so.
The rest of the respondents use a wide variety of marketing tactics to evaluate case studies.
It’ll also be more difficult for you to analyze your competition and demonstrate accountability to your boss. Establishing KPIs will enable you to get a sense of your wins and opportunities for improvement.
Knowing which of your case studies are performing best can help inform your next steps, such as promoting these heavy hitters far and wide.
Many customer marketers are creating so much content on a quarterly basis that it’s tough to build awareness of each individual piece due to information overload.
Sales teams are being bombarded with emails and messages, and sometimes case studies get lost in the shuffle. Identifying priority content based on performance can help solve this problem.
When it comes to the laggards, this content is just as crucial to pay attention to. By optimizing these stories for better performance, you can make them work harder for your SaaS company and generate more conversions, rather than focusing your resources and efforts on creating new content from scratch.
8 customer marketers weigh in on how to measure case study success
There doesn’t seem to be any research available online that speaks to how SaaS marketers measure case study success. So, we spoke directly to 8 customer marketers in the B2B SaaS space to find out how they measure the performance of their case studies. Here’s what we learned:
Andrew Sevillia, Director, Customer Marketing, Sage Intacct
“Case study success for me is if I can capture the story, then my PR team can pitch it and it gets picked up by one of the industry or business publications we work with. Another big success is when these case studies get used by our demand gen or sales staff, and when the stories help to either attract prospective customers or to speed up the sales cycle.” — See Andrew’s LinkedIn profile
Matt Arout, Senior Customer Advocacy Manager, Google
“We use Looker to measure case study success! Looker can be used to tie multiple data sources together to build a dashboard. We have a content dashboard that gives real time insights on how content is performing via Google Analytics, email campaign performance, social performance and overall influence on our pipeline.” —See Matt’s LinkedIn profile
Meaghan Britain, Senior Customer Marketing Manager, CPA Global
“We measure the landing page and channel performance of case studies. We gate several case studies, so we can track individual channel KPIs such as social impressions, as well as landing page metrics such as page visits, form fills/downloads and video views.” — See Meaghan’s LinkedIn profile
Sam Shepler, CEO, Testimonial Hero
“Given that about 80% of marketing content goes unused by sales, if sales is using a case study, that’s a good thing. They wouldn’t be using it if it wasn’t working. Another way we measure case study success is by checking to see if the story has influenced deals in the pipeline. If deals are being closed, and your sales leaders are thanking you and telling your CEO they’re getting exactly what they needed from you, that’s all the measurement you need.” —See Sam’s LinkedIn profile
“The mistake many make is trying to measure the impact of case studies instead of thinking about the impact of the campaigns that the story, video, quote, etc. supports. Everything we create in customer marketing supports other elements of the marketing function.” —See Jeanne’s LinkedIn profile
Kyle Yantis, Former Customer Advocate Associate, Ellucian
“We use Marketo and Eloqua dashboards to measure email campaigns. We also track click rates on our website through Google Analytics, and case studies that were included in RFPs by comparing closed/won rates.” —See Kyle’s LinkedIn profile
Lauren Turner, Customer Marketer, UserTesting
“Time to close is also a great metric to track. The case study may not be the thing that gets the deal signed, but it can help remove objections and get the process done more smoothly. We also look to increase the SEO value of our other assets by embedding as many relevant links into case studies as we can that point to related blogs, white papers, and other content in an effort to drive traffic.” —See Lauren’s LinkedIn profile
Senior Customer Marketing Leader
“We monitor downloads from our website and minutes spent on pages. We also analyze the traffic of won deals to see which assets influenced our customers’ decisions during the entire sales process. I’d love to get to a place where we measure which specific case studies were shared against each opportunity, but we aren’t there yet. This would require a field on the opportunity records in Salesforce, for example.” —Senior customer marketing leader who prefers to remain nameless
As you’ve probably gathered by now, there’s no specific “right” way to measure case study success. However, by sharing knowledge and discussing what works for each of us and what doesn’t, we can all learn from one another.