Why are case studies important?
Case studies can be an invaluable tool for businesses. Whether your company is B2B, B2C, D2C etc and in any sector, a good case study can demonstrate your expertise, how you work with clients and set you apart from your competitors.
- But what are case studies?
- What should they be about?
- What form should they take?
- What do you do with them?
- How do you improve them?
What are case studies?
Case studies give a business social proof and help build a strong brand. There is no better way to tell a potential client what you do by showing them your success stories.
They should be evidenced-based, telling the story about how you have helped your customer solve a problem, what challenges you and they faced and the solutions you used to overcome them.
Case studies should be about real projects for real clients. They build your trust and credibility in your abilities as a company.
They will help you build a strong brand by showing that you are an expert in your field. How you stand apart from your competitors, and what do you that is different from others.
What should case studies be about?
The aim of a case study is to help your potential customer understand what you do. Showing how you helped a client via a story is the best way to connect with the reader. Giving examples and details about how you work with your clients will help to convert customers; it is giving them all the information they need to help make the buying decision easier.
Case studies work for all types of business but the form they take may vary, but they are equally important across all sectors.
The following is a basic structure for a case study:
- Client name
- Client sector
- What services did you provide?
- Background: – What was the challenge/s?
- The solution: – What did you solve?
- The result: – How did the client benefit from your service or product?
If possible, name the client in your case study to give it gravitas. When this isn’t possible due to NDAs etc. craft the content in a way that the client isn’t identifiable.
What form should they take?
The format that your case study takes should be guided by your industry and your target market, who it is you are trying to reach.
However you format your case study it should lay out a clear journey from problem to solution.
What should you do with them?
They are a great marketing and sales tool and can be used in many ways:
- Website content, listed in a standalone section on your website or used to support content on your services and/or products throughout your site
- Downloadable pdf
- Social posts, sliced down into bite-size nuggets of information with links to read the full case study
- Mentioned in a blog
- Portfolio, either on a website or used in presentations at exhibitions etc
- Pitch meetings, looking to evidence your expertise and capabilities to a potential customer
- Direct mail, they can be great content for emailers to show off a recently completed project to demonstrate your expertise
- Press releases, the format would need to be slightly tweaked but if you have completed a project that is worth shouting about then use the case study as the basis to get some press coverage.
How do you improve case studies?
- Add a client testimonial, this will add gravitas to the case study and gives your customers a voice to show them as brand advocates.
- Think about who you are aiming the content at, who is your target market, this will also help define the format that the case study should take.
- Make them detailed but concise, less is more when it comes to word count or video length.
- Think about the language you are using, it should follow your brand voice but don’t use technical jargon, write in simple terms, spell out abbreviations and explain technical terms.
- Use of imagery, whether written or video, can you use imagery to show what you did, can you show a before and after? Or simply use relevant images to highlight important points.
- Think about the layout of a written document, give the words space and use titles, bullet points, graphics, and/or images to break up the information. It can be worth getting a layout designed that can be supplied as a template for you to use in-house, this will keep your case studies consistent.
- Using video for case studies is really engaging but make sure you have planned a storyboard with a beginning and end. Can you interview any personnel or the client? If so make sure they know what you are doing and what you want them to talk about and allow them to practice ahead of being filmed. If you have the budget then get these professionally filmed.