A case study is an essential sales and marketing enablement asset that often describes a success story that showcases how a past or current customer used your product or service to better their situation. This compelling story/study serves as social proof to prospective customers and can impact their decision-making. Want to know how to create a case study that is worth your time? Keep reading...
As we just mentioned, a case study is a tool that businesses use to showcase how their product or service was successful in resolving a customer’s problem in the past. And you might be thinking, wait, don’t client testimonials do that? Well, yes. But case studies pack more of a punch than a client testimonial since they show real-life examples and supporting figures to back it up.
Unlike client testimonials, case studies demonstrate exactly how your product or service took your client from “Point A” to “Point B.” They also can contain facts and statistics that can be powerful in bringing validity to the story. These are the kinds of insights you just don’t get from reviews or testimonials.
In fact, HubSpot’s State of Marketing Report 2020 finds that 13% of marketers list case studies as the primary media form they use for their content marketing strategy. Why? Because case studies act as solid proof to new customers that this has worked in the past.
At Levitate, we believe having a mix of case studies and testimonial videos is a winning approach to cover all your bases.
How to Create a Case Study
If you want to know how to create a case study that is worth your time and effort, there are a few key tips to think about before you even start:
- Choose the message or topic that you’ll focus on (e.g., what question(s) or problem(s) did your customer have, what problem is it that you solved?)
- Focus on one specific client or situation
- Ask the right questions and answer them accordingly and effectively
- Describe in detail the context and complexity of your subjects problem(s)
- Support the data you include
- Format your case study so it’s easily digestible for the readers
Choose the Right Message/Topic/Customer
How do you know which customer story will make a great case study for potential clients? You want to choose one that truly shows the benefit/impact of your product/service.
The goal of your marketing case study is to get future customers thinking, “wow!! If so-and-so got these results, I can too!!” This leads us to our next point...
How Do You Know Which Customer Is the Right Customer to Focus On?
Knowing who/what you want to focus on when creating a case study can make a big difference:
- Do you have a customer who regularly purchases your product or uses your service?
- Has your customer recently switched to you from another brand or competitor?
- What type of results have they gotten from working with you?
Not sure how you’ll know this? Your marketing team or salespeople should have this information readily available to give to you.
How to Create a Case Study by Asking the Right Questions
Some examples of things you may ask for your business case study are:
- Before using our product/service, what were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
- What have you learned about our product/service and how it has helped you in reaching your goals?
- By using our product/service have you seen an improvement in your key metrics? If so, what were they?
Remember, focus on the problem, your solution, and the results. Asking open-ended questions will help you get answers from customers in their own words.
Do Not Underestimate the Power of Storytelling
Have you ever watched a heartwarming “where are they now” video? You know the ones. It’s usually a story that focuses on someone who was in a bad way or down on their luck. Then it fast forwards a few months to show them how successful they are. Take approach this into account when you’re writing your case study.
Don’t just focus on following your subject’s results a week or two down the line. How were they doing six or eight months later? How does your product or service continue to help them today?
NOTE: You must get crystal clear on who your target audience is before you can develop an effective case study. Before you start, write a detailed customer profile highlighting who your ideal clients are, what they do, and what their goals/needs/expectations are. Then, choose a client who fits this description and how you met or exceeded those needs.
Include Solid Facts and Figures
It’s easy these days to say your website “tripled its monthly traffic by including video to your home page.” While that sounds impressive, what do those metrics actually look like? Did their website go from 10 visitors to 30 or 1,000 to 3,000? Big difference, right?
Credible facts and figures are essential in how to create a case study that makes an impact.
To make a powerful impact, hit your readers with clear and factual numbers. Whether this relates to website traffic, social media insights, revenue – whatever metrics are important to you and your customers. By being open and transparent, you’re creating a level of credibility and trust from the get-go.
BACK IT UP WITH EVIDENCE
If possible, don’t just throw out rounded or estimated figures. Back it up! If you have charts, graphs, and screenshots of your analytics, show them. If you’re being honest, you have nothing to hide and these things can only help your case study, not hurt.
While we’re talking about using clear and concise numbers... don’t forget how you achieved these things. Much like anyone can say their website doubled, anyone can say “our marketing team created campaigns that led to higher conversions.”
Get specific. “Our marketing team created a seven email-sequence course launch campaign that had three separate funnels. One funnel focused on new subscribers, the second focused on current subscribers who have worked with us before, and the third was on current subscribers who have been idle. This led to XYZ specific results”
Don’t worry about giving away too many insights; having a brand that is recognized as an industry leader requires you to show you know what you’re doing.
Don’t Forget Formatting When Learning How to Create a Case Study
If you’re focusing on a written case study, please – do not underestimate the importance of case study formats.
Generally, walls of text make readers feel overwhelmed. That’s why formatting is so important. If you’re hiring a copywriter to take on your case study, then you should be golden (professional copywriters know the importance of white space!). But if this is a task you are taking on yourself, keep in mind that some people like to read every little minute detail while others skip finding the highlights.
Just as you would apply formatting to a blog post, landing page, or even social media caption, be sure to apply these formatting elements in your case study:
- Headings – use headings that clearly state what your sections are about
- Images and Graphs – incorporate images and graphs throughout your text to create breaks from text
- Fonts (Bold or Italicized) – make an impact by using bold and italicized formatting (and consider the size and font)
How to Present a Case Study
There are people who enjoy reading, while others may prefer to see or hear the presentation. Case studies can be done using infographics, webinars, and podcasts. Want to make your case studies even more effective? Include videos. Your customer may only give you one chance to interview them, why not capture video also so you can make a testimonial video and take maximum advantage of your client's time and produce multiple assets- a case study and a testimonial video from your client's answers.
The majority (90%) of consumers say a video will help them make an informed purchasing decision (Social Media Today)
With videos, users can learn more about each business’s challenges, solutions, and results with a more human side, instead of focusing on numbers and percentages.
These can be done in an interview-style (much like testimonials!). Instead of simply telling their story, customers can answer the same questions you’d ask them in their case study interview. Getting the information straight from their mouth will give your already good case study even more credibility. You can also use some of the best customer quotes on your website.
Also, consider interviewing the business owner or manager in your video case studies. Ask them what difficulties they faced before you found a solution. Then feature a team member who describes how they came up with an acceptable solution and what final results they achieved. If you have problems getting your customers to agree to this consider adding in a line to your contracts that your customer could be asked to provide a case study- or offer them a gift or a discount off future services or products to entice them to agree to be interviewed for a case study
How to Create a Case Study: Now it’s Your Turn
Now that you know how to create a case study, remember – whatever types of case studies you choose, there will be a general structure to follow:
- Create a title/headline
- Give an introduction to the customer
- Explain the problem
- Introduce your product/service as the solution
- Get specific on the results (i.e. proof)
- End with a strong call to action (CTA)
- Include photos/imagery/client logos to make personal and visual
It’s clear that when well executed, there are benefits for big companies, small businesses, and their potential customers. Besides using case studies to attract leads, you can also use them to gain the trust of those leads. Use an engaging design, have clear objectives, and share tangible results.
Want to create a video case study but don't know where to begin? Our team of experts can help you with how to create a case study that will have an impact. Contact us today!