HTML vs PDF – Making your Case Studies Accessible in the Mobile Era

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When a prospect decides to read one of your case studies, you want to give them the best reading experience possible. Readers on mobile devices need responsive content that adapts to the size of their screen. That’s just one reason why PDF case studies are now giving way to web-based versions.

In this article we’re going to look at two companies’ best efforts at creating case studies for the mobile era. You’ll come away with a handful of actionable tips that you can apply to your case study production process today.

Make your content accessible on any device

Let’s start with this example from Mimecast. It’s in HTML, which means it will adapt to any web browser, making it easy to read on mobile devices.

Use HTML to allow your reader to access content on any screen size.

HTML doesn’t require a PDF reader or other plugins. The case study just renders in the browser and it looks great.

In contrast, PDFs are an annoyance on small screens. No one wants to pinch and zoom that much!

Cross-promote other case studies

Web-based case studies make it very easy to cross-promote other content. (Tweet this) Mimecast takes great advantage of this with three additional case studies in the sidebar, all inviting the reader to continue reading.

HTML allows for easy and effective cross-promotion of other case studies.

Also in the sidebar, they cross-promote a PDF version of the case study. If you still want to offer a PDF version, no problem.

Promote your PDF case study on its HTML equivalent.

(By the way, as we saw in an earlier video, Mimecast has three calls-to-action at the bottom of the case study. This is great practice.)

Always include calls to action in your case studies.

Give your reader plenty of content.

Next, let’s look at this example from Tenable. They present an HTML version of the case study, including a summary of the client, the key takeaways and then a lot of substantive content.

That’s a great idea. Readers who are farther along in the research phase want that kind of detail. (Tweet this)

Give your reader plenty to compare you against your competitors.

Cross-promote versions

At the bottom, Tenable cross-promotes a downloadable one-page version of the case study. However, they don’t cross-promote from the one-page PDF back to the longer HTML version. They’ve missed an opportunity to lead readers back to their domain. (Tweet this)

Don’t miss a chance to invite readers back to your domain.

For that matter, there’s nothing in the longer HTML version to tell the reader that the PDF case study is a single page. Tenable should mention this fact, so that it will come across as easier for their reader to share.

Four reasons to switch to web-based case studies today.

  1. They’re responsive; your reader can access them easily from any device.
  2. They require no plugins. The reader can just open the page in a browser and start consuming the content immediately.
  3. They present an opportunity to cross-promote your other case studies. When your reader’s done with one case study, they can switch over to the next. What’s more, you can alternate the options that they see over time, or use a tagging function to present case studies related by industry, geography, company size, etc.
  4. If also including a PDF version, keep it short and sweet: a condensed version of the HTML page. Invite readers to return to the longer HTML version.

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