Earning the trust of prospective customers is a critical first step to achieving business success. Case studies are a valuable asset when it comes to establishing proof that what you are offering is good quality.
When shopping for a new product or service, you are likely to trust a customer who has already purchased from the vendor. That is because getting a real-life opinion from someone is seen as less biased and rooted in actual experience. A full 88% of consumers report that they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Think of case studies as an extension of online reviews.
Case studies add authenticity to your business. They provide credibility and social proof that your product or service has actually helped others overcome business challenges and achieve their goals. Your leads might be experiencing the same challenges and be seeking the same solutions. Alternatively, case studies might help your leads envision how your solution may act as that missing piece that moves them forward.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study examines your client’s specific challenge or goal, how it was solved, and the final results. Case studies can vary in length and focus on numerous aspects related to the:
Case studies can take the following forms:
- A brief snapshot of your client's health since working with you
- A long success story of the client's growth using key performance indicators (KPIs) such as the number of leads your client generated, customers closed, or revenue gained
- A client-specific problem addressed with a unique solution and the results
How to Write a Case Study
Regardless of the type of case study you choose to create, there are some common first steps to take.:
1. Determine the Case Study's Objective
In other words, what do you want to prove to your future clients as a result of publishing this case study? This is your opportunity to shine. Any one of the following are fantastic objectives:
- Complying with government regulations
- Streamlining internal training
- Lowering costs
- Increasing website traffic
- Increasing social engagement
- Increasing profits
- Lead generation
- Increasing marketing reach
- Increasing customer acquisition / repeat customers
- Increasing revenue
- Increased market share
- Expanding into a new market
- Becoming more energy efficient
- Decreasing churn
- Increasing staff and talent
2. Determine the Case Study Medium
While most case studies are written, this does not have to be the format. Case studies can be in video format or even an infographic. They should be on your website and shared via a social media channel.
3. Choose a Case Study Candidate
Choose a former client that had a particularly successful experience with your company and who you think will be happy to get some exposure on your website. The case study will provide a backlink to the client’s website, which will help with their SEO. Well-known brands or larger companies will add credibility to the case study, but smaller companies may also have remarkable results. Clients that have achieved excellent results after coming to you over your competitors make for compelling case studies. Remember, not all clients will want to admit to having challenges. You may want their permission and some quotes.
4. Contact Your Candidate for Permission to Write About Them
Make sure you confirm their permission in writing. This confirmation should be done via a case study release form or in an email referencing the manner in which they gave permission. At this point clearly explain your objective and outline expectations and a timeline. Make sure that you get permission from someone who is authorized to give permission.
5. Create a Questionnaire and Schedule a Meeting to Interview the Subject of Your Case Study
Send a list of questions beforehand so that your client can gather information if need be. You will get your quotes from this interview. Make sure you ask questions that relate to the history of the company, the challenges, the solution, and the results. You will also want to be able to describe or measure the results over time.
6. Format Your Case Study
Keep your case study simple and easy to read. There is not a specific layout that you need to follow but the format below is a good example.
7. Publish and Promote Your Case Study
Once you have completed your case study, it is time to publish and promote it. Each case study can be its own page on your website and you can direct visitors there from a “Case Studies” or “Testimonials” link on your homepage navigation. You can also include your most recent case study on your homepage. Promote your case studies via your social media channels.
Case Study Format
Below is our recommended case study format.
- Title: Keep it short but interesting.
- Subtitle: Describe the results in 1 sentence.
- Executive summary: Provide a 2 to 4 sentence summary of the entire project.
- About the company: You can pull this from your client's website.
- Challenges and objectives: Write 2 to 3 short paragraphs about the challenges your client had before retaining your services. Also, set out what they hoped to achieve by retaining your services.
- Solution: Compose 2 to 3 paragraphs on how you solved their challenges.
- Results: Create 2 to 3 paragraphs that provide proof that your solution was beneficial to the client. Try to quantify the solution. This should include quotes from the client.
- Use supporting visuals and other quotes to increase the visual attractiveness of the case study. Remember, if it is not easy to read then it will not be read. You can also include a CTA if that makes sense.
Be Proud of Your Work
You work hard at what you do and should be proud to showcase your work to potential new clients. Case studies can take a lot of effort but if you follow the above steps you should be able to create a fantastic marketing and sales asset.