Within professional services, case studies are an incredibly effective piece of marketing collateral. By demonstrating your work and expertise alongside a client’s satisfaction, you can build your credibility and move prospective clients through your sales funnel, faster.
According to Dimension Research, 90% of respondents who recalled reading case studies claimed that positive reviews influenced buying decisions.
The impact of case studies is obvious. However, too often case studies aren’t clear and don’t truly deliver the potential benefit to a firm. Below we’ve listed a few tips for writing your own compelling case studies.
Map your goals
When creating case studies, don’t start until you know what you want to achieve. What message do you want to send and what actions are you trying to prompt? Are you wanting to highlight an offering that customers aren’t aware of? Or do you want to emphasise the benefits and outcomes you can bring to an organisation? Deciding upon your goal will help you maintain consistency and reinforce your message.
Having a repeatable structure is crucial, it’ll keep your case study together and importantly will keep it concise. The best route to follow is explaining the situation, the challenge, the solution and importantly, the results.
- Situation. What is it that the company does? Which markets do they operate in? Where are they located? This section must be short and sharp only giving the essential facts which will give the reader context and better focus. Think of it as a mini introduction.
- Challenge. Introduce the problem(s) the customer faced before they used your services. It needs to be made clear why this problem mattered and what the outcome may have been if it wasn’t addressed. Think of your ‘why’. This section is key for engaging the reader as it is likely to be a problem which they can relate to.
- Solution. What exactly did you do to address the challenge of your customer? This section needs to be focussed on how you met your customers pains and how your offering works for them with a qualitative approach. Include any USPs without getting too narrative and sales like.
- Results. This is the real ‘meat’ where you can demonstrate the measurable outcomes of working with you, grabbing the reader’s attention so they can see that what you offer actually works. Where possible relate it to the day to day metrics of your customer but also business outcomes – the outcomes their bosses sit up and take notice of. This section is your evidence for the impact a client can make working with you.
Use your clients
We always believe interviewing your clients is essential for compiling a great case study, as without this information you have no reference point. Firstly, interview several individuals involved from the company to give different perspectives on the work you did for them. The structure of your case study should guide your questions. Starting with asking about the company, why they chose you, how was the experience and what they got out of it.
Ensure that the client is using their own words to explain how you went above and beyond to deliver your service to them and the impact it made on their business. Use these quotes throughout the case study. Peers want to hear from peers. Of course, you’ll need to get sign off, but it’ll be worth it. In addition to qualitative questions, ask for other forms of data which demonstrate the quantitative outcomes – from sale figures to productivity reports.
Mix it up
While traditional written case studies are effective, you should explore creating case studies across different mediums. Create a PowerPoint slide with the key messages for future sales presentations, create an infographic or visuals for social media. Alternatively, interview clients in person to create video content that can be used across your website. Varying your case study format means that you can use them fluidly and remember, potential clients absorb information in different ways.
Case studies are crucial to display social proof that other businesses have successfully worked with your firm and achieved the expected results. However, collecting great testimonials and using them effectively requires strategic planning, hard work and patience. If you require help writing or producing case studies or using them effectively, contact us here and we’ll be happy to help.