5 top tips for writing case studies
Writing case studies can be hard to master. However, they’re well worth the time and effort. After all, a whopping 78% of buyers look at them during product research, making them a key ingredient in pushing your visitors down that sales funnel.
So, how do you write a killer case study? We’ve got a few ideas…
Why are case studies important?
Case studies are the second most popular form of content for customers. They’re only beaten by social media posts (we’re guessing that’s due to their similar short and snappy nature).
Despite this, businesses don’t always use case studies correctly because they don’t understand their value. You can change that mentality within your business, and start writing case studies that will convert visitors to buyers within days!
First off, we should explain why case studies are so popular. It’s simple really, visitors to websites love a good story and essentially that’s all an effective case study is.
Also, a case study is often a narrative of an existing customer’s journey from downtrodden, unsuccessful underdog to happy and successful hero – who wouldn’t want to read that story?!
Each case study has three stages: conflict, resolution and happy ending.
Each stage plucks at the heartstrings, evokes emotion and resonates with the reader because it explores an area they’re genuinely interested in. They have an interest in that product – that’s why they’re looking at your site – so you can be sure that a case study will really connect with them.
Why are they good for content marketing?
Case studies are a content marketer’s secret weapon! There are so many reasons why we love them, we could write a whole other blog post on this! But for now, here are the highlights:
Case studies hone in on specific goals related to your product offering. Chances are, visitors to your site are aiming for those goals too, so each case study will speak to their needs.
Case studies are very specific, so use them to target different audience segments.
Case studies are built on real-life experiences and facts. This makes them one of the most trusted forms of content that you can produce. Only user-generated content/reviews can top them … and you don’t have much control over those!
Case studies also establish you as an authority and a thought leader. They provide evidence that your solution works, and if it works for a big brand/recognisable name, that’ll really help elevate your status!
Demonstrate your solution:
This type of content proves how you helped fix something for your client and suggests you can do the same for your reader. This gives the user a reason to tick over from the ‘desire’ stage to take ‘action’, by purchasing your product.
Case studies act as a little nudge, but they can make a huge difference to your sales figures!
5 tips for writing case studies
1. Include these elements
When writing a case study, you need to create a narrative that takes the reader on a journey. Be sure to include these elements, and you’ll be well on your way to producing an immersive and engaging case study:
- Informative and engaging title
- Executive summary of what happened
- ‘About the client’ section – a bit of background info to provide context
- Description of challenges the client faced
- How you helped
- Results – if they’re measurable (e.g. X% increase in sales) that’s even better!
You could also try a few techniques to make your case studies feel more dynamic, such as:
- Quotes from clients
- Examples of product in action (videos, pull-out sections etc)
2. Find the right client to profile
A recognisable name is a huge bonus when it comes to writing case studies, but there are other elements you should consider when choosing clients to profile.
It really helps if they know about your product and you have a good working relationship with them. This will enable you to include meaningful and effective quotes in your case study that will speak to the needs of your prospective clients. If your case study client recently switched from a different supplier, that’s even better as they can do a direct comparison!
They should also be able to prove how your product solved their problem. Do they have any analytic software to back this up with? Have they been keeping an eye on their progress? If the answer is yes, then start writing!
The most important thing is that your client is available to comment and provide input. Without their involvement, the case study will fall flat as your audience may think you’re faking it.
3. Ask the right questions
The questions you ask are vital to the success of your case study. Get them wrong, and you’ll end up with a weak narrative that your audience simply won’t engage with.
We suggest creating a standard list of questions to ask all your case study candidates, covering your basic requirements. You can always follow up with additional questions later.
Through these questions, you must get your client to:
- Give some background information about their business
- Identify what they wanted to achieve by approaching you
- State if they had any prior experience trying to achieve this goal elsewhere
- Explain what made your product/service stand out
- Consider what pushed them to purchase: describe how they’ve benefited from using your product
4. Use your customer’s voice
Case studies are all about the customer, not your brand or product. You must describe their journey and their specific benefits, not the advantages for your company.
Do this by using direct quotes where possible, and focusing on their journey.
This will help audiences think “what’s in it for me?”. Identify how you can slot in as their chosen solution and prove effective – without sounding conceited.
5. Think about your formatting
When writing case studies, the formatting needs to be clear and accessible.
Use headings, bullet point lists and images to help get your point across. This will make things easier for the reader to digest, so they’ll be more likely to connect with your brand.
Hopefully, you now feel a little more confident about writing case studies. Start putting one together today and see how it helps your business thrive!