It’s no secret that case studies help businesses convert leads and therefore, it’s a no-brainer they have to be part of your marketing strategy. Customers nowadays have much higher expectations compared with previous years. It’s simply not enough to introduce yourself and expect a dialogue to start. Customers want a lot more in their touchpoint journey before they are approached and that includes evidence and data on what you can offer them.
In the most basic sense, a well-written case study should provide a summary of the product or service you offer, and how it can help a customer or client overcome a specific kind of challenge. Case studies usually sit towards the end of the awareness to conversion funnel, giving the reader one last story that they can relate to and giving you a final chance to showcase your expertise and results.
This blog post explores the 5 key areas to cover in order to produce a powerful case study that will bring in a steady stream of relevant leads for your business. They are:
- The Title
- The Client or Customer
- The Challenge
- The Process
- The Results
We’ll also cover what a case study is, why they are important for business and other key elements to include to drive the results you are looking for.
What is a Case Study?
In the most basic sense, a case study shows off your skills, expertise and knowledge whilst quantifying the results your business has helped the client, company or customer to achieve.
The layout of a case study can vary but at its core, the study will examine a particular challenge the business or customer has faced and then demonstrate how your business provided the solution. Case studies can differ in length and content based on the intended target audience but the purpose of a case study will always remain the same. It’s not intended as a direct sales pitch, case studies are there to educate the reader, written in the context of helping and informing others, using real-life scenarios which the audience can relate to.
Whether you want to highlight how a client has benefitted from your services over a specific time period or showcase a long and sustained growth story, every case study requires metrics used to measure the right kind of success – whatever success means for your client or customer.
This could be anything from brand visibility, number of leads acquired or revenue growth. Any of these key performance indicators (KPIs) are clear data-led examples of how your expertise was put into action.
Why are Case Studies Important in Business?
Case studies might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of conversions but for businesses, they are an incredibly powerful tool to convince your target reader that you know your stuff, and you know how to do it well.
A case study has the power to be an emotional connector with your audience, taking them through a journey of challenge right through to solution and helping them to relate to their own problems that they are faced with in their day-to-day working lives.
What to Include in a Case Study
All case studies need to have a few important ingredients to make them work and most importantly, turn readers into converters. Our simple checklist covers the key points to include in a case study:
- Storytelling, not name-dropping.
Some businesses make the common mistake of waiting to talk about that well-known brand they have worked with so they can name-drop. The harsh reality is that readers aren’t so easily impressed anymore and expect more from businesses than a name they recognise.
When it comes to effective case study content, a good story at the heart of it is what will bridge that gap between you and your target customer.
- Keep it targeted
A successful case study needs to be industry-specific and highlight the challenges that are unique to those people working in that industry. If you generalise your content in attempt to widen your reach, it will have the adverse effect of not reaching anyone because no one can relate.
You want your reader to identify themselves in the story you are telling and build a level of trust with you as a business.
- Showcase your thought process
Essentially, case studies are problem-solving content so showcasing how you tackled a specific problem is a must. This goes back to the storytelling aspect and ensuring there is a clear start and finish to your story that leaves your reader satisfied with the approach you took.
- Give them evidence
Online consumers have become more demanding than ever and a case study will not be successful unless you can give them hard evidence as to why your product or service works.
Back in the old days, brochures, phone calls, even leaflets were enough to convert a customer and bring them on board. Nowadays however, technology has advanced and so has the expectation from customers. Whether that’s testimonials, videos or hard stats and metrics – being specific and dealing with numbers is what will help your case study shine amongst the competition.
How to Prepare a Case Study:
1. The Title
The title is one of the most important parts of the case study. It needs to have impact, relevant data and also relate to your target audience and their pain points. It also has to summarise the project and entice the reader to read on. It’s a lot to pack in to a few words so you’ve got to choose your words wisely.
2. The Client or Customer
Build a detailed picture of the person, industry or sector you have helped with your service or product. It doesn’t need to be lengthy, but it does need to introduce them, clarify who they are, their background and specialist industry.
You can get this info simply by speaking to them, scanning their about us page or LinkedIn profile for some finer details.
3. The Challenge
You then need to create the emotional connection that hooks the reader and urges them to continue reading. Explain over a couple of paragraphs what your customer or client faced in their personal challenge and try to be as detailed as possible when describing their specific pain points.
Pain points are crucial here because you want the reader to relate to those challenges and find out how you solved their problem.
4. The Process
The balance of detail here is so important, you don’t want to use too much technical language so you confuse the reader but equally, you want to give enough detail to demonstrate your expertise and authority in this area.
Talk about the services or approach which was utilised and how specifically it was deployed to solve the problem. Drill down into the specifics and explain the thought process that led to the decisions that were made.
5. The Results
And now for the bit your readers have been waiting for. The results. How you visualise this data is important; you don’t want to be wishy washy with your terminology i.e., “we improved their traffic”, you want to use numbers and stats that really hold some impact.
You can then support your achievements with a testimonial from the client or customer who can testify to the good work you have done and how it has helped them overcome their problems. It doesn’t need to be lengthy but it does need to be in their own words so it retains authenticity.
Taking the next steps with your case study
So now you are armed with all the information and guidance to captivate and convert your target audience with a compelling case study. Although there can be a set process and structure to formulate your case study, it’s important to remember that every industry and challenge faced is a unique one, so your content needs to be tailored to reflect those differences.
As long as you follow this guide, answer the fundamental pain points of your target market, and provide a convincing solution, your case study should be a success.
Well-written case studies can take time and resources to really reflect the hard work and expertise of your business. However, the leads and conversions it can generate make it a worthy investment of time.
To help you get started, we have put together a free case study template. Simply enter your details and grab yours below. For more insights and advice on everything to do with search marketing, read our informative blog and learn something new.