Case studies are a brilliant way to show the story of a project (or other types of service delivery) and demonstrate your expertise to prospective customers. They can provide greater insight into how you work with your customers and how you conduct business.
The Content Marketing Institute reports that 73% of the most successful content marketers use case studies. While Uplift Content reveals that almost 50% of SaaS companies use case studies as an effective conversion technique to drive sales.
Case study explained
Case studies can take different formats depending on how you want to build out the story of your project and show how your product or service has helped a customer reach a particular goal.
A good case study will highlight the customer’s problem and how you helped solve it. So when writing a case study, you need to consider three things: the challenge, solution and the result. That’s all that prospects need from a well-written case study.
What was the challenge?
What actions did you take to solve the problem?
And what was the result?
So how do you go about writing a great case study that will help you win clients?
Follow these simple steps…
Write with your target audience in mind
To attract the kind of audience you want, you have to write to that audience. But to write relevant, high-value customer-centric content, audience research is key and this entails creating a Buyer Persona to better understand your target audience.
In creating a strong buyer persona, include things like the customer's role in the organisation, the social channels they are likely to use and the pain points that might lead them to need your product.
To create a strong buyer persona you’ll find some helpful tips in our recent blog 5 Easy Ways To Optimise Your B2B Content to Get More Followers, Engagement and Sales
Consider including specific client commentary
You may also wish to include either a simple testimonial or a more detailed Q&A-style interview with your client.
With an interview, preparation is hugely important. You want to ensure the questions asked resonate with your audience.
Here is a brief example of the type of questions you could ask a previous client/customer.
Can you tell us about your company?
How did you first hear about our service?
What challenges did you face that necessitated a change?
What were you looking for in a solution?
How did you find the collaborative experience with our team?
Are you happy with the result?
Do you have any specific metrics/KPIs that show our product/service has helped you hit your business goals?
How would you describe working with us in three words? 😀
Targeted questions like these mean your customer will describe their experience working with you without leaving out any key information that a prospective customer arriving on your site will want to know.
Think about different content formats
As we just mentioned you should write with the customer in mind. Think about the information they need to know. This is why case studies are so effective at speeding up the decision-making process. It really helps to have another company speak about the problem you helped solve and to talk about the speed and ease of the process.
But you should also consider what content format would best convey your message. Beyond text, you could choose to use an image, a video or infographics. Or you could use a mix of different assets that will make your case study more effective and engaging.
Craft a compelling story
Storytelling is huge in marketing. A well-crafted story to explain your case study could be very compelling to your target audience.
You might choose to have a dramatic start to hook the reader in e.g. “John’s business was in crisis as his digital transformation plans had failed to deliver on expectations….”
You are of course teasing the upcoming positive result that your reader will be predicting.
Don’t be shy about throwing in some project setbacks that you might have encountered along the way. All good stories need some element of risk and the story might be more interesting if it’s not seen as too perfect an outcome.
And make sure to include how you worked closely with the client to deliver a positive result showing any backup information as proof of how you achieved this.
Keep your case study short
Just use enough content to tell the story you need. The current trend is to have case studies more tightly edited and to use more visual content formats – as outlined above. Most prospects want to know the salient facts so that they can more clearly evaluate your offering.
You may consider having longer-form versions of case studies that are not publicly visible on the website but are used further down the sales funnel when a client is more directly engaged.
Now you know what goes into writing a good case study, let's explore the key reasons why case studies are important to have on your website.
Show your process
Case studies are an excellent opportunity to describe your process in detail to help prospective clients understand how you operate, thus informing their decision on which supplier to choose.
You can also establish credibility by sharing the story of the delivery of your product or service. From reading case studies, users will get a feel for your processes and learn about the positive outcomes and how you helped another company hit its goals.
Promote your overall business
If you have used a testimonial in your case study, you can use it to share across your social media channels.
This will help expand your reach and drive traffic to your website, where prospects can learn more about the product or service you offer, moving them further along in the buyer’s journey.
Promote a particular product or service
A case study testimonial is powerful social proof. A case study may or not contain a testimonial, but adding one will generate additional credibility. Digital Strike reports that 72% of consumers trust businesses more if they read positive testimonials.
To have a previous client rate your product or service highly establishes trust increasing their desire to purchase.
Establish Brand Authority
We’ve touched upon how case studies can establish credibility and build trust. But what case studies also do well is help your business stand out from your competitors.
A good case study will demonstrate your level of professionalism and show prospects you are knowledgeable and reliable in your field.
Challenge, Solution, Result!
Remember these three key things when writing your case study. What was the challenge? What actions did you take to solve the problem? And, importantly, what was the result?
Bring your prospect on a journey. Tell the story of how your product or service provided value for a customer. Show how you understood your customer’s needs and pain points and provide tangible evidence that proves you improved that customer’s life.
A compelling case study will showcase the positive experience of how you have helped others and increase confidence in your target audience to reach out and connect with you. It should also offer prospects real insight into how you do business offering valuable social proof that you can do what you claim to be able to do.