Tips for Writing Great Case Studies

What motivates customers to make a purchase? Today, consumers have the tools to research and make more informed buying decisions. Prospective customers aren’t satisfied with businesses and products that say they can do X, Y, and Z, without any hard proof. They shouldn’t be either. Would you buy a product without seeing it in action or work with a business without researching it first?

Probably not. People want proof. As a business, it is a priority to provide prospective customers with it. One of the most effective ways that businesses do this is by creating case studies.

In business, case studies clearly outline real-world examples of your company’s products or services in action. When they are well-written, they can be a valuable asset to any business.  Below are some tips that can help you craft more compelling case studies that can help inform and attract new customers:

1. Choose the proper candidates.

You may have an extensive portfolio of happy clients, but they may not all make a great case study. Be strategic when selecting case study examples. It is important to select candidates that will resonate with your target audience. It is also crucial to accurately represent how your products and services work and what benefits they provide.

Three qualities to look for in case study candidates are:

● Familiarity with your product or service. It is easier for someone who has worked with you or used your product for a while to articulate how it works and the benefits.

● Relatable and similar to your target customers or audience. Think about the industries you primarily work in and the types of customers you want to attract.

● Exceptional and noteworthy results. Choose a case that highlighted your top qualities and abilities and made a significant impact on your customer’s life or client’s business.

Once you have a customer or client in mind, always ask permission first before creating a case study. When asking, be absolutely clear on how you will use the case study and any other examples that reflect their experience with your company.

2. Collect the right information and ask the right questions.

Often, the reason that a case study isn’t effective or useful to potential customers is that it didn’t contain relevant information. The business didn’t ask key questions or track the right metrics to prove effectiveness. Some helpful questions to ask candidates are:

● What challenges did you face before using our product or service?

● What did you hope to achieve?

● What was your customer experience in every stage of the process?

● Why did you choose our business or solution?

● What made our offerings or company different from others that you have worked with in the past?

● How did you measure results? Can we use real data?

● How has our solution impacted your business?

Asking these questions can help you be as specific and thorough as possible in your case studies. In addition, it will help you reflect on your current processes and alert you to any aspects that could be improved.

3. Be clear, concise and specific. 

Case studies come in all different lengths and formats. A written format is the most common way to start, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t repurpose your information into a video, infographic or podcast. When it comes to length and formatting, there is no one-size-fits-all standard. However, there are certain considerations.

Consider your target audience. How long will they spend on researching your business? In most cases, short and to the point is the best way to go. In fact, according to research from Nielsen Norman Group, 81% of people skim what they read online.

Flattery will get you nowhere with prospective customers, so cut to the chase. Don’t be vague. Instead, use real numbers and specific examples to prove your point. Format it in a way that they can quickly and easily understand the most important parts.

4. Tell a compelling story.

A great case study is a carefully crafted and well told story. Like a good story, it has three main parts: a beginning, middle and end. In more specific terms the beginning is the problem. The middle is the solution(s) that you offered, and the end are the results of said solution(s). Below is are details that we have used in a real case study for one of our clients. We’ve outline the three part format clearly here:

 The Problem: In January, we detailed a problem that one of our clients─a Chicago seafood restaurant—faced.

They wanted to bring in business on days that are usually slow (Monday-Wednesday).

The Solution: Over three weeks, the restaurant discounted their menu by 10% from Monday to Wednesday. In order to get the word out about the deal and bring in business during those slow day, one of the solutions we offered and tested was the use of Facebook promotions. 

The limited-time deal would entice people to come in on days that they may not have normally considered it. 

The Results: We reported the results for each week of the promotion with real, hard numbers. For example, on Week One, some statistics that we cited were that the post:

● reached 68,347 people within local zip codes.

● had 1,200 likes and 572 overall page likes.

After Week Three, we reported the overall results of the promotion so far. “It had reached over 140,000 people, brought 364 people into the restaurant and generated over 1,000 shares and comments.”

You can check out the original post here to see more of the statistics that we used to measure the effectiveness and ROI of the campaign.

Remember to set how frequently you will measure and report results. We did it on a weekly basis. It is also important to see how a campaign progresses over time. Since we first reported the campaign results, we continued the promotion. The most recent results show:

● The post reached an additional 38,859 people within local zip codes

● Engagement was 1,590.

● Received 872 likes and 316 overall page likes

● 132 people shared the promotion directly to their friends.

● 45 people commented on the promotion.

● 180 additional people checked in at the restaurant.

● 432 photo clicks and 111 link clicks.

● 5 Call Now clicks.

In the week prior:

● The post reached an additional 23,782 people within local zip codes

● Engagement was 1,040.

● Received 598 likes and318 overall page likes.

● 65 people shared the promotion directly to their friends

● 25 people that commented on the promotion.

● 136 additional people checked in at the restaurant.

● 218 photo clicks and 137 link clicks.

● 4 Call Now clicks.

As you collect more results, you may want to consider displaying them in a graph, chart or other visual. When case studies are paired with relevant images, it can be more visually appealing and engaging to viewers. People are also more likely to retain 65% of information with visuals, in comparison to just 10% when there are none.

When crafted well, case studies can be an incredibly valuable asset for your business. It highlights your products and services, provides a real-life example of ROI and effectiveness, and can attract new customers. Want to learn more? Browse our site for more examples of our work at 10twelve, or you can chat with us to discuss how we could help..