It’s important to earn the trust of prospective customers, but it’s also a struggle. Before you can earn their business, you must prove that you can deliver on what the service or product promises.
One great way to do that is by writing a case study!
You could tell others that you’re good at what you do or ahead of the competition. However, the way to win new business is by offering hard, cold-proof.
A compelling case study can help you prove your worth!
However, the goal here is to offer effective case studies, and that doesn’t happen overnight. You must learn how to write a case study correctly.
Below, you learn about what case studies are and the data you need to write them. That way, you are more prepared on what to include and how to use it as an effective strategy.
What Are Case Studies?
Case studies examine a company’s or person’s specific goal or challenge and how it was solved. Typically, the case study varies significantly in length and could focus on different details related to the applied solution and the initial problem.
For professional settings, good case studies tell a story of the successful partnership between a client and a vendor. When writing them, you need to consider various case study analysis details to ensure that your information is what others want to see.
You could show a brief snapshot of the client’s health since they started working with you or have a longer story about growth. Regardless, your case study measures the success with the appropriate metrics you all agreed upon before you wrote it.
There could be various reasons to write it, but a typical case study focuses on how many leads the client generated, what they were able to accomplish because of your product/service, and much more. Any of those performance indicators are great examples of the company’s service in action.
In a sense, those people are real-life examples of what your service or product can do.
When done correctly, they can chronicle the impact your business has on previous or existing customers. However, you must use an effective content format for your case study to give the prospects the information they need to trust you. This guide shows you everything you need to know:
How to Write a Case Study
You can’t write something if you don’t know how. Most case studies have a specific format, and you can learn all about that here. With that information, case study writing becomes much easier. Here are the steps to consider:
Use Case Study Templates
Telling the customer’s story is usually a delicate process. You must highlight the success while incorporating your company into the study.
If you don’t know where to start, it can be harder to write case studies. Therefore, it’s recommended to check out the many case study templates out there.
With so many options, it might be difficult to choose just one case study template. Typically, each case study template offers plain-text options with various designs to choose from. That way, you can tell the customer’s story in a way that meets their approval and matches your branding.
Determine the Objective
Business case studies should demonstrate the value of the services you offer. However, they also focus on different client objectives.
The first step to take when writing a case study is to know the goal or objective of the featured subject. In other words, what did the client do, and how did they use your products/services to do it.
Ultimately, the client objective you consider depends on what you want to say and prove to the future customers through the case study.
A case study can focus on these client objectives:
- Becoming energy-efficient or more sustainable
- Expanding into new markets
- Generating more revenue
- Closing more sales
- Generating more leads
- Becoming more profitable
- Lowering business costs
- Complying with government regulations
Establish a Medium
Now, you should determine the medium for which you create your case studies. In a sense, it’s like how you tell it and where.
Case studies don’t always have to be a simple, one-page copy. You can use different media for case study writing to promote the final piece through various channels. For example, a written case study could live on the website and be shared on Facebook through different posts. However, you could also create an infographic study for Pinterest or a video version for your company’s YouTube channel.
Here are a few case study mediums to think about:
Written Case Study
If you write case studies, they can come in different formats. For example, you might start with an eBook with references to your white papers. From there, you can change it to a downloadable PDF.
After that, you could gate your PDF behind the landing page and form. That way, readers can fill out a form to download the case study. In a way, it generates leads for the business.
Remember: a case study is a very influential piece of content right behind white papers or datasheets.
Video Case Study
Case studies can also be done by video. Plan to meet with your client and shoot the interview. Seeing someone in person instead of writing about them can be a great thing for your viewers and potentials.
Infographic Case Study
You can use the long and vertical format that infographics offer. That way, you tell a story from the start to finish. As you move down the infographic case study, emphasize your major KPIs with charts and bigger fonts.
Podcast Case Study
The podcast case study is relatively new, and it’s a great way to reach a younger audience. They allow for more candid conversations with the client. Many times, they feel and sound real and human, making the audience take notice.
Find the Candidate
Case study writing has to start with choosing the right candidate. You can’t just pick someone and tell a story. Instead, you must get quotes, have a plan, and have permission. Here are some things to watch for in potential candidates for case studies:
It can be beneficial to choose a customer who is well-versed in the product’s or service’s logistics. That way, they can speak about the value you provide in a sensible way for the customers.
To make a strong case study, you want clients that have had positive results. If their own companies see more ROI from the service or product, they convey more enthusiasm that the prospects feel, as well.
For example, you may want to choose a client who experienced unexpected success from the service or product. You’ve provided a non-traditional customer (someone who might not normally use the product) with great results, so it removes the doubts that others have.
If you can find customers who went to you after using the competition, those case studies can speak volumes. It might provide a better advantage and can sway others in your favor.
Contact the Candidate for Permission
You must provide open and clear communication to get your case study candidate involved. That means you should outline your expectations immediately and have a timeline in place.
While case study research is important, your main goal is to get them to give you permission. After you have the information necessary, you can work on formatting.
Writing case studies must always begin by getting the subject’s approval. Reach out to them and talk about your objective and the format you want to use. Both of you should be involved here.
Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. What do they want to get from the case study? While you’re writing this for your benefit, the subject is more interested in what they receive in return.
Long-term Benefits to Offer the Case Study Candidate
Not everyone has the same goals as you, so having a candidate persona helps. Here are a few benefits you could promise to the case study subject to gain approval:
Explain to the subject who might see the case study and how that exposure can boost their brand awareness. This is often hard to collect outside of the company’s market, making case studies very useful to those who want to expand their brand’s reach.
Let the subject offer quotes and credit specific employees. That way, they’re not only expanding their brand’s reach, but their employees feel like their voices are heard. When writing a case study, you can improve the lives of everyone involved.
Sometimes, all the case study candidate wants is a discount on future products, especially if they are a current customer. You may even go so far as to offer free trials of other products as a way to thank them.
Website Traffic and Backlinks
Your subject’s marketing team is sure to appreciate increased traffic. When you publish the case study on your site and link it to your candidate’s website (backlink), it gives them more traffic. Case studies with backlinks can increase the page authority for both of you. Writing for Google is a great way to see more conversions and get your data out there.
Draft a Case Study Release Form and Send to the Subject
Once the case study candidate approves of it, you can send the release. Remember, these are often research problem-focused, but you must still have a release form. That way, you know what information you need from them, such as permission to use brand names or share data publicly. Kick-off the process with an email detailing exactly what they should expect from you and what you require from them.
Before you write a case study, you must know the full process. For example, you need to get quotes and have answers to your questions.
However, you might be wondering what the case study release form is or the success story letter they should provide:
Case Study Release Form
Usually, this document varies depending on different factors. They can include the nature of the work, the size of the business, and what you want to do with the case studies when they’re done.
However, your case study release form should always offer a:
- Clear explanation for why you’re creating it and how the data is used
- Statement defining what you expect to talk about from the company (names, job titles, logos, pictures, etc.)
- Explanation of what the participant should expect. For example, is the customer requested to share feedback or be a reference? Do you have the permission you need to pass any contact info to others?
- Note about compensation
Success Story Letter
This document is the outline for the process of writing case studies. Before you can write a case study, you must offer a brief description of how the customer benefits and the steps listed below:
Before the case study can be written, you need to get internal approval from the other company’s marketing team. When that happens, the appropriate person signs the release form and returns it to you. This might be a good time to talk about timing and frameworks.
You want a productive interview for your case study because it’s easier to collect information. Therefore, you want to layout the interview questions and offer a questionnaire. That way, the person can use their own words for the foundation of the interview.
Some case studies neglect this part, but it’s highly beneficial.
Once the person completes the questionnaire, a team member from your company should reach out to them and schedule an interview. It often takes 30 to 60 minutes to complete, based on the interview questions you want to include for the case study. Be prepared for note-taking with a laptop or recorder if possible.
Final Draft Review
Now, you start to write everything. Once the case study is done, you send the draft to the customer so that they can offer edits or feedback.
When the edits are done, you should send the revised copy back to the customer to get final approval.
You now have a great case study that goes live on the website or elsewhere. Contact the candidate with a link to that page. Make sure you ask them to share the link within their networks to help them grow and build their company, too.
Find out Exactly What Prospective Customers Want to Know with the Right Questions
Before executing the actual interview or questionnaire, set yourself up for success. Strong case studies result from being prepared and asking the right things. Here are a few case study examples to help you:
- What are the goals?
- What challenges did you have before buying our service/product?
- What made this service/product stand apart from the competition?
- What was your decision-making process?
- Describe how you benefited from using the product/service? Make sure to ask for data when possible.
Remember, the questionnaire is there to help you get insight into the questions you should ask during the interview. It doesn’t have to follow a specific structure. Once you start interviewing, you should follow the golden rule. For example, if you want to craft a good story, close-ended questions (yes/no) aren’t enough.
Instead, you want to get plenty of data to use in your case study, so you should invite elaboration, such as “tell me about…” or “why did you…”.
You should then categorize the questions into specific sections. That way, it mirrors a traditional format. Now, you have enough information to put together a comprehensive and rich study.
Open with Their Business
Typically, business case studies are there to get a better understanding of its current goals and challenges. Therefore, questions for this case study might include:
- What are the objectives for your department right now?
- How many employees are there?
- How long have you been with this industry?
Cite the Pain Point or Problem
You must have context to tell a story, and that’s just what your case study is. Therefore, you must match the customer’s needs with the solution. With that, marketing case studies becomes much easier later. To do that, here are a few questions to include in the case study:
- What challenges did you have that made you look for the best solution?
- What could have happened if you didn’t figure out the key problem and identify the right solution?
- Did you explore other options before ours that didn’t work out? What happened?
Discuss Decision Processes
You should explore how the customer got to the decision to work with you. That way, your case study guides potential customers through the decision-making process, too. Here are a few sample questions:
- How did you hear about us?
- Which team members were involved in the selection?
- What was important when you evaluated your options?
Explain the Solution and How It Was Implemented
The focus at this point of the case study is placed on the customer’s experience for the onboarding process. Case studies can’t be great if they don’t talk about implementation. For example, you can include questions like:
- Did the product/service meet your expectations?
- How long was it before you were up and running?
- Who all was involved in this process?
Explain How that Situation Works
The goal for this part of the case study is to understand how your customer uses the product or service. Questions could include:
- Who’s using the service/product?
- What aspect of our service/product do you rely on most?
Most case studies end with the results. Here, you’re uncovering the impressive outcomes. While you want a good story for the case study, now is the time to add numbers. Questions could include:
- How have you increased the metrics for (whatever it is)?
- How is this product/service helping you boost productivity and save time?
- How does that enhance the advantage you have over your competitors?
Layout the Case Study Format
You now have all the information collected and want to turn it into something great. However, you might feel overwhelmed when crafting case studies. Where do you start? What should be included? How should it be structured?
The first thing to note is that you don’t have a one-size-fits-all scenario for your case study. It could be highly visual, and there are many examples of that out there. In fact, they could be videos or photos with just a bit of text.
Whether you choose a written or visual case study, you should focus on the following structure below for your case study outline:
- Title – Keep your title short. Choose an interesting name but make sure it focuses on the main points.
- Subtitle – This is the space to offer a brief explanation of the accomplishment. What happened?
- Executive summary – The executive summary is often two to four sentences that explain the whole thing. Include two or three major points to display the metrics that showcase the success.
- About the subject – This is the introduction to the company or person you served and can be retrieved from a client website or LinkedIn profile.
- Objectives and challenges – This is two or three paragraphs describing the challenges of the customer before they used your service/product. Structure it in a way that shows what they wanted to achieve.
- How the product/service helped – Include two to three paragraphs that describe how the product/service offered the solution they needed.
- Results – The following points are the testimonial, which can be two or three paragraphs. This proves how the product/service benefited the company or person. Include any supporting evidence here.
- Visuals and quotes – Pick a couple of powerful quotes to feature at the bottom. If possible, add an image that supports your story.
- Future plans – Talk about what the subject’s plans are next, even if they don’t include your brand.
- CTA – Some case studies don’t require this. However, if you add one, make sure it isn’t passive. It should encourage the readers to take action in some way.
Publish and Promote the Case Study
Now that you’re done writing the case study, you should publish it. Marketing case studies is quite easy to do, and some of them are very obvious. For example, videos go on YouTube, infographics work well on blogs and Pinterest, and written content goes in blogs and on websites. There are many examples of case study promotion that fit well with the brands.
Written case studies are great as PDFs. You can generate leads from the case study by writing a blog post telling the abbreviated version. Then, you can promote that blog post all over social media.
As you start writing multiple case studies, you can publish them directly to their own page on the site. Direct people to it from the homepage so that everyone can see it.
You work very hard, so now you can show the world. You learned the specific strategies used for crafting an awesome case study and how to promote it.
Now that you know how to write a case study, it’s all up to you. Just make sure that you follow the steps listed here so that you communicate your work effectively. Go out and write that great case study today by following the examples talked about here.