Do you want to build credibility and earn the trust of prospective customers? Start writing convincing case studies.
A case study is a detailed customer story that demonstrates how you helped a business succeed. With an in-depth and well-written case study, you show potential customers how you can help them attain a certain goal rather than listing claims of what you do. The strategy is effective because people are more likely to buy from you if they understand how you helped others, in a similar situation as theirs, achieve certain results.
This article will show you how to write an awesome case study that will help you win business.
To identify the right person or company to feature in your case study, you must think about your target audience. Who is your ideal customer? What services and capabilities are they looking for?
Once you have answered those questions, you should select participants whose stories resonate with your target audience. This means you may have to create several case studies to connect with prospective customers—especially if you serve various industries.
Depending on your business, you can identify your case study participants by checking:
- Customer feedback or testimonials on your website or social media accounts
- Positive mentions of your brand, product, or services across the web
- Third-party site reviews
- Client database (if any)
A great case study starts with asking the right questions. Whichever medium you choose to get information for your case study—video interview, in-person, or email— it’s important to prepare the questions early enough.
Since you already know what your target audience wants, structure your questions in a way that helps you focus on:
- What problem your customer was trying to solve
- Why they chose to work with you
- How your services or products have helped them
You can reach out to the participants by email and let them know:
- Why you are interested in featuring them
- What they will gain from the case study
- What the timeline and process is
While the case study is a marketing strategy for your brand, you must give the participants an incentive, for instance, product/service discounts, brand exposure, backlinks, etc. See the following brief example by OptinMonster:
Remember to attach the following to your email:
- Basic interview questions—The customer will have better answers if you give them time to go through the questions before the interview
- Case study release form—It informs the client what you’ll need from them, for instance, permission to share the collected information with the public
If the customer is interested, they should sign the case study release form and send it to you. From there, you can set up an interview date.
What should you include in your case study? When it’s time to organize your case study information, remember to focus on the details that will enable your potential customers to choose to work with you.
Wondering what a case study should look like? You can experiment with different structures like:
- Telling the story from start to finish
- Using online templates
- Using the problem, solution, and results structure
Whichever structure you opt for, you should include the following sections:
Use a headline that mentions the brand name, highlights the benefit the business got, and includes data to support your claims. The benefit should be a goal that your potential clients are hoping to achieve, for instance earning links in the example above.
Give a brief introduction of your customer, what they do, their unique selling point, and their industry.
Try to zero in on the specific challenges the customer desired to solve. Illustrate what was at stake. The pain points should be similar to what your potential clients are struggling with.
Explore how the customer decided to work with you. How did they hear about you? What was the most crucial factor when evaluating who to hire? Such information can help new customers in their decision-making process.
Focus on the customer experience. How easy was it to start working with you? Present your product or service and describe how it works. The goal for this section is to make a connection between the client’s challenges and your solution.
Illustrate how the customer uses your product/service to solve their problems and show the progress using real data. How does the customer feel about the ROI? Would they work with you again?
Include a call to action for anyone having similar problems to your featured customer.
There are various options to choose from when presenting your case study. You can use webinars, slide shows, podcasts, infographics, pdfs, blog posts, ebooks, and videos. The ideal format will depend on what your target audience responds to best. You can even get creative and utilize more than one approach to cater to different audience needs.
Don’t make it boring if you opt for a text-based case study. Follow these tips to make it actionable and interesting:
- Use headers for different sections
- Include visuals by presenting data in the form of charts and graphs
- Avoid jargon
- Bold important texts, like statistics and relevant quotes you pull from the interview information
- Use bullet lists
- Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Data makes your case study strong. Don’t just say you helped the customer increase traffic. Include the numbers! 100 to 500 daily? 20,000 to 100,000 per day? Use clear numbers for the goals or metrics that matter to your potential customers. Whenever possible, add proof of the data using charts, graphs, dashboard statistics, etc. Also, add context to the data to help the reader understand why it matters.
You can also add information about the strategies you used to obtain the results. It’s not about exposing your methods but selling your products or services. Your digital marketing efforts helped the client attain the results, but how? Through a six months facebook and link-building campaign? Such details will set you up as an authority in your industry.