A case study can be an invaluable tool for businesses. They are one of the most powerful ways of showcasing your solutions and attracting future customers.
Capturing real-world examples effectively can demonstrate how you have helped other companies with real-life results to back up your claims, providing the customers with the confidence they need to invest in a product or service.
They are the difference between saying you can do something and proving you can do it. It’s therefore crucial that you showcase them.
In the same way that consumers check reviews before they dine at a restaurant, any customer considering your services will want to gain a deeper understanding of what they can expect to receive.
How do you typically work with customers? What sets your offering apart from your competitors? What return on investment can I expect? These are all potential queries that customers might have which can be answered with the help of real-world case studies.
However, presenting real-world use cases in a manner that is insightful, interesting and easy to read is not always straightforward. Here, we’ll offer five tips which can help you to write and structure the perfect case study.
1. Ensure you have everything you need
Any successful case study will include evidence to back up your claims. It is therefore vital that you speak with the company at the centre of your success story to ascertain exactly how your solution helped them.
When you do this, it’s important to put yourselves in the shoes of a potential customer – what might they really want to know about your product or service? To get insightful answers, you need to ask smart questions.
Typically, a case study will include:
- Information about the customer: Prospects will want to see how you’ve helped organisations similar to their own. It’s therefore useful to include some information about the company at the heart of the success story. While it isn’t always necessary to have permission to use company names, it can be incredibly helpful.
- Benefits and results: Are you able to retrieve any key statistics? How much did your solution save the customer, or improve productivity? What was the ROI? Think about the value you’re looking to demonstrate.
- Testimonials: Quotes from the customer are also important. This ensures your case studies aren’t just ads where you praise your own product but have neutral parties verifying your claims.
- A call to action: Consider why you want to write this case study? What exactly do you want to achieve? Perhaps you want prospects to contact you or view a product page on your website. Consider where you want customers to go next and find logical ways to drive them down the marketing funnel and towards a final sale.
2. Nail the structure
Next, consider how you can bring this all together. It’s all well and good having all the information you need, but you need to pull it together in a manner that makes sense.
Don’t overcomplicate things. Often, simple is better. Here’s a four-part structure that is both logical and concise:
- Introduction: Begin with a short paragraph that offers some context to your project.
- Problem: Follow this up with a concise problem statement where you describe the challenge the customers faced, and why the problem was important to solve.
- Solution: Convey exactly what steps were taken to solve the issue. How was your product implemented? What were the goals? This is arguably the most important part of your case study.
- Results: What kind of results did your customer achieve using your product or service? Here is a good place to include any key statistics and testimonials to prove that your product worked.
3. Keep your case study short and sweet
Length is also important to consider.
There are no rules about how long a case study should be, but a good question to ask is “how short can we make it?”. A good case study knows what it’s trying to say and says it clearly and concisely, without any unnecessary waffle or jargon.
Being succinct is often the best way to get your message across. Highlighting the biggest wins at just a glance is usually preferred for prospects who are short on time and after something they can quickly scan.
Don’t be afraid to use bullet points, short sentences and pop out graphics. These can really do wonders when it comes to conveying the most crucial points.
4. Tell a story
While structure is important, your case study will also need to be interesting to read.
Consider the problem – how did this make the client feel? Was there tension or urgency to solve it? Trying to capture these emotions within the case study will make it much more compelling and grab the reader’s attention.
To really go the extra mile, you might want to include a video. Equally, testimonials can be used to really bring the story to life, showing first hand how much difference your solution has made the lives of those that are using it.
5. Showcase your value
Ultimately, case studies are sales tools – above all else, they must clearly communicate the value of your product or service.
Whenever you can, back up your story with cold, hard facts. Not only do they make a case study more credible, but they also serve to answer the reader’s most burning questions. Details matter, so be specific. If you can demonstrate the return on investment of your product, do it. If nothing else, it will make it easy for prospects who want to try out your product easy to justify their investment.