Case studies are very useful as a marketing tool, however rather then cover the benefits of case studies we are going to dive straight into how to write one.
Before you start writing your case study, there is some preparation work you need to do.
1. Choose your customer
When deciding which customer to use, start by looking at customers that meet these criteria:
- They have seen good results with your product or service – and these are likely to be replicated by other customers
- They have a respected brand in your industry
- They are a typical customer
2. Define your process
- Acceptance – You will need to obtain approval from your customer’s marketing team.
- Questionnaire – collect information for the case study from your various departments such as sales, support and customer service
- Interview The Customer
- Draft The Case Study
- Final Approval
3. Contact the Customer
Get in touch with customers who use your product or service with good results. You need to speak to someone who knows about the results they have achieved. Be clear about what the process involves on their part—whether it’s a list of questions in an email, a phone call, or camera crew. Usually the less work they have to do the better (and the more likely they are to agree to the case study). Confirm that they will see the final version before it is produced.
You may hear “no” a few times but don’t get discouraged. Customers will decline for different reasons, such as IP or not wanting to reveal the issues the company had before they implemented your product.
Anonymised case study – if you do find you have a lot of customers that decline on the basis of revealing their identity you can offer to do a case study but anonymise it and only give generic information about their industry.
4. Begin your research
Start collecting information about your customer from your internal departments such as sales, marketing, customer service, in fact anyone who’s been involved in delivering the product and supporting the customer.
5. Ask your questions
When writing your questions think of the answers you want to obtain. Here are some examples to start with:
- “What were the challenges you faced before using our product/service?”
- “What did you want to achieve by introducing our product/service?”
- “Which key metrics have improved since using our product/service?”
- “How did you find working with us?”
- “Why did you choose to work with us?”
Be flexible and use these questions to suggest more targeted questions depending on the answers you are given. Let the conversation flow naturally. If possible record your interview as stopping to take notes disrupts the flow and you may use your train of thought. It also gives you the option to go back and listen to get an exact quote.
6. Identify the top three things you want to highlight
Identify the three most important business results you want to highlight in your case study. If you only sell one type of product, try to find an interesting angle so that your case studies don’t get repetitive and all say the same thing.
Statistics and key performance indicators (KPIs) are always good to include as they provide quantifiable improvements, such as:
- Sales results
- Return on investment (ROI)
- Productivity increases
- Cost savings
- Staff reduction
7. Choose your format
Think about your format, and who is going to read it or watch it. Do you want create a case study that has interactive content? Choose the format that reflects your product and that you think best engages your target audience.
Report/leaflet format – This document format has been the standard layout for B2B case studies for many years. This format is especially effective when the subject matter is complex or detailed. A C-Level director evaluating a large-scale business platform for a multi-year deal is going to want more detailed information.
Video – Videos are a great way to tell a story, and enable you to use music, lighting, pacing, and voice.
Infographic – Infographics are an excellent way to convey important data in a simple, easy-to-read way. If your case study has a lot of data—or if visualizing data can make the results clearer—an infographic case study could be the answer.
Key sections to include in a case study
It should give the most important information. You can also include a subtitle with supporting details.
The customer’s name/industry, the product/service used, and quick result stats often displayed in a banner or pull out box
Briefly introduce your customer including their industry, product, company size, and location. Just enough to help the reader understand who they are and what they do.
Explain the challenge (or problem) that you helped your customer overcome, and what the objective of the project was.
5. Solution (and approach)
Briefly introduce your product or service and what it does. Discuss which teams or individuals used your product and how they used it. If it is relevant or unique you might also want to include the approach you took to the project.
You could possibly include how your customer found you or choose to work with you if its relevant to the case study.
What results did your customer achieve using your product or service? Although you can describe descriptively the benefits they achieve but don’t forget to include any of the stats you gathered in step 6.
7. Supporting Visuals and Quotes
Include any images to show improvement but they also help break up the text. Include quotes from the customer that back up, and also expand on, what you have said in the case study.
8. Conclusion/Next steps
Summarise briefly what the customer achieved. Also cover if there is a next phase for the customer or if they will be rolling out the product to new departments or in a new way.
After creating your new case studies don’t forget to add them to your website. If you are looking to update your website then get in contact.