You’re an expert in your field - and your clients are happy as a result. Your brand is working tirelessly to make a real difference for your clients and your customers. What better way to convert readers to customers than by sharing some of these real-life examples of how your company is improving people’s lives?
You can share one of these real stories of how your company is making the lives of your customers easier in the form of a case study.
It’s easy to claim that your product or service is worth the investment, but by writing a case study, now you get to back it up with real results.
When done well, a case study can provide potential clients with a perfect example of why they should work with your company. You get to establish your brand as a problem-solving, helpful asset they should consider. It makes it easier for these potential clients to see why it would be so beneficial to them to hire you, or purchase your product.
So what’s the best way to go about this? Let’s take a closer look:
What’s a Case Study? And Why Should You Write One?
A case study is basically a detailed analysis of a particular project, campaign, or experience working with a client, where you evaluate everything that happened to see how it contributed to the failure or success of the case.
In preparing a case study, you should examine:
- A situation or problem that needs to be solved
- The recommended solutions
- Any implemented actions your team or client took based on these solutions
- Any other factors you believe led to the success or failure of the case
It’s a little like when you would write a lab report in your high school biology class. It’s detailed, professional, and puts all the information in one place, so you can synthesize the facts and arrive at a solid conclusion.
So why should you write a case study?
They are unbelievably effective.
- Customer testimonials have the highest effectiveness rating for content marketing, at 89%.
- Case studies are the top content type for buyers, with 78% of buyers consulting some kind of case study within a 12 month period to research something before buying.
Your case study is like an extended customer testimonial. Your readers will see exactly what it was really like for this particular customer to work with you and your team.
Writing a Case Study
How should you go about writing a case study? Let’s start with the format. Once you know how it should be formatted, you can start implementing the truly important information in all the right ways.
- Title or Headline: This should summarize your customer, their problem, and the result. And like any title? It should grab your reader’s attention.
- Executive Summary: A one-or-two paragraph summary highlighting the facts of the case study is the perfect way to hook your readers and keep them reading.
- The Subject: Who is your case study about? What is the vital information your reader should know about your client?
- The Problem or Challenge: What did your client have trouble accomplishing? What issues were they having in their work life or home life?
- The Solution: How did your company solve their problem or bring about positive change?
- Results: What are the facts you can share with your readers? Percentages, statistics, and cold hard facts are the best way to prove, without a doubt, how your solution made a difference to your client.
When writing a case study, you will need your client’s permission to write about them, and then obtain written permission as well. Additionally, interviewing your client is the best way to get their perspective on what it was like to work with your company.
Choosing a Subject and Conducting an Interview
Who should be your subject if you’re writing a case study? The main criteria you should keep in mind are:
- A customer who is well-acquainted with your product or service - either because they have purchased your product or they have used your service.
- A customer who has experienced dramatic, great results, or improvements to their life which might make a great story?
- Maybe you have a client or customer that switched to your brand from a competitor? If so, they would be a great example for a case study.
Does your sales team know of someone who would be willing to share their experience? Or perhaps your customer support team know of a truly wonderful customer? Maybe someone has recently posted a stellar review to your website or social media page? Chances are, someone within your brand knows the perfect person to help you write a great case study, so ask around!
Once you have the perfect subject, how do you get the best interview?
You should start with an introductory questionnaire. Think of it like a pre-interview. This can be a few questions to help you shape your case study, and give you a few talking points when you conduct your interview.
Looking for a few questions to jumpstart your questionnaire?
- What problems did your client have before using your goods/services?
- Why did they select your brand instead of a competitor?
- How did your product or service help solve a problem your client was experiencing?
- What are your client’s goals for their business or organization?
Once you have your introductory questionnaire, you can better shape your questions for your interview.
You will want to learn about your client, their problems, and then learn specific experience with your brand. How did they choose your brand? How did they implement your product or service? What results did they see? How does your solution help their problem?
Stuck forming interview questions, or looking for a few tips to get the best interview? You can find a list of question starters here.
Once you have your interview, you can begin to write your case study.
Amazing Examples of Great Case Studies
What makes a great, effective case study? You want your case study to be compelling; to tell a great story and attract future customers. So how can you keep them engaged in your case study? Here are some stellar examples of case studies that are informative, effective, and engaging.
App Annie: App Annie worked with Coca-Cola, one of the most recognizable brands in the world, and used video, and in-video, full-screen graphics to make an informative case study both interesting and engaging.
Digitas: Digitas worked with AstraZeneca and LVNG With - to create a community for people living with lung cancer, and their loved ones. This means that the focus of their mission is the people they work with. What did Digitas do that was so effective? They kept these people at the forefront of their case study. Sure, Digitas did a lot of heavy lifting for LVNG With. But the heartfelt video at the top of their page highlights the human moments and not their work. They stayed true to their clients’ mission - and that is highly effective.
Asana: When Asana partnered with Style Haul, they created a case study that reads like a narrative. The style is readable and creative, and not at all clinical. It’s fun to read. Instead of highlighting their excellent customer service themselves, the case study is written from the perspective of the client - giving insight Asana couldn’t share themselves. It reads like an in-depth interview, not a report, so even though it’s a bit lengthy, there’s no doubt it will keep readers’ attention to the end.
What you really need to know about case studies is that as long as you are true to your brand’s tone, your mission, and also to the truthful recounting of your client’s authentic experience, your case study will ring true and capture the attention of your future clients. And these future clients, in turn, can become your future case studies and success stories.