Say what you want, but good case studies help you win business. In the right hands, case studies are one of the best marketing pieces to help you sell to prospects and clients alike. They are extremely useful throughout the entire sales and marketing process.
Before we get into creating the perfect case study and how to use it, let’s take a quick look at why they work so well.
Here are a few high-level reasons they are so effective:
- They allow you to focus on problems that your target audience experiences every day
- They allow you to feature the services/products that you provide
- They help people better understand what you do and how you can help them
- They can generate high-quality leads when presented to the right audiences
- They’re extremely versatile and effective tools for sales and marketing
- They increase your brand credibility and reinforce buying behavior
- They are simple to create and repeatable for different verticals/industries
Now that you know how they help you sell, let’s break down how to craft a great case study. A case study should be simple and straight to the point, usually between 500 and 1200 words with strong design elements for a larger impact.
The first step is to identify who is the right candidate to base your case study on. This sets the stage for the case study and the story that you choose to tell.
Finding the right candidate
The right candidate should show a huge success story with quantifiable results. Their success journey should include a story that’s relatable to others in your target audience and how you helped them along that path to success. They should be sharing your praise and talking about you at dinner parties. They should also be a recognizable brand that others in their vertical can relate to.
Finding the story
Many candidates may not fit all of these criteria, but several should check off a lot of these boxes. Once you have the right candidate selected, you need to figure out what story that you want to tell. This usually is the most challenging part to a solid case study. You have to tell their success story from beginning to end, and the better the story the more it will resonate with your target audience.
Start with a little insight into who they are
Who they are, what industry they are in, and why they do what they do. Give some background on who they were before they met you. This can include a brief history and the customers that they serve. Remember to keep it brief. This helps others understand and relate if they are in similar verticals.
Focus on the challenges that they face
Define the business challenges that they struggled with and the negative impact it had on their business. The effect of these business challenges could be staffing, revenue, infrastructure, sales, marketing, etc., but make sure to explain how it all relates to the business challenges that they were facing.
How did you work with their team to understand their unique challenges? What was your process for developing a strategy to help them? Give them a quick high-level on the strategy that you created to help them but remember to keep it simple, short and to the point.
Getting it all done
With the strategy done, now’s the time for the execution phase. Simply define the work that was done and deployment of that work. This could be prototyping, web development, sales training, etc. Again, keep this high-level and drive to the point of how it all helped solving the business goals of the client.
Quantifiably results are what everyone is looking for. This is where you finish the story and bring it all home. Recap the problems that were solved, but also back it up with data. Explain how sales increased by 123% or the client achieved a 17% cost reduction, or applications rose 46% in the first 3 months, etc. Hard data shows that you’re not blowing smoke and builds credibility. Many of these results demonstrate the same outcomes that many other clients/prospects would like to see for their businesses as well, so be simple and concise with all the details.
If they want to know more details about how you got there, they will contact you!
This part should be really simple. If you’ve done an awesome job for the client and they feel the same way, just ask them for a testimonial for the case study. It makes a great exclamation point to the project and reinforces that they stand 100% behind the work that you did for them. Video testimonials are more effective, but written testimonials still work great as well.
Make sure to add a strong CTA to the end of your case studies. If you’ve done a great job throughout the case study, most prospects want to know what the next move is, so give it to them. Ask them to contact you or to read more, or click here, or submit a quote there, etc. Whatever CTA you add to the end, just make it strong, clear and confident so they understand what to do next.
Now that you’ve created an amazing case study, what do you do with it? The simple answer is everything that you can.
- Website – Add them to your website. The more you add the better. Create a simple, easy to find, and easy to navigate section so that people can view your work and the results you deliver.
- Social – Share, share, and share them over all relevant social platforms. You never know where leads will come from so spread the word as much as you can. Help them get found.
- Sales Team – Get them into the hands of your sales team. They can use them in sales meetings or send them to potential clients all the way through the sales process.
- Tell the story well.
- Keep it human but professional.
- It should be easy to understand and digest. In most cases, your basic case study should be between 500 – 1000 words.
- Keep it simple and always relate the case studies to the benefit of the client.
- Back it up with data.
- Add a testimonial with a strong call to action.
- Promote and use them!
Once you develop a strong case study, then you just need to make it into a repeatable process. The only thing better than a great case study are dozens of them. Just focus on doing great work for your clients and review each as a possible opportunity to develop a case study for. Not every client will be a great match, so just focus on the clients that are. Quality over quantity is what matters here.
Case studies aren’t the only thing that you should be doing, but they can have a huge impact on your clients and prospects. They can resonate with pain points that your clients are having that you don’t already know about as well as introduce you and the problems that you help solve to prospects that don’t already know how awesome you are!
If you have questions or want to learn more about building strong case studies, you can check out some of ours right here or feel free to give us a call at (248) 579-9972. Our passion is helping businesses bring their story to the masses and we’d love to help you get a leg up on the competition.