Picture this: you walk into a swimming pool equipment store looking for a new automatic pool cleaner. Even before you talk to the attendant, you overhear a conversation between a pleased customer and the shop attendant:
Customer: Hey, the automatic cleaner I bought last week works excellently.
Attendant: That’s great! Did it solve the problems you were experiencing?
Customer: Yes, it did. I wish I had known about your products earlier.
There’s a pretty good chance you would want to buy the same automatic cleaner the “elated customer” bought, right?
That conversation is like a scaled-down version of a case study. It demonstrates how a product or service solves a real problem for a customer. And, when other costumes catch wind of that experience, it makes them want to try it.
Case studies are just like word-of-mouth advertising. It’s that third-party credibility that potential customers trust because they know that these other, satisfied customers have nothing to gain from encouraging others to support a business. Case studies can be gold not only for your inbound marketing efforts but for your email marketing strategy, too.
If you’re wondering how to create great case studies, fret not. In this article, we’ll walk you through.
Four Steps to Creating Case Studies For Your Business
1. Establish the Case Study Objective
You should first stipulate the case study objective. Remember: each case study is part of your overall sales and marketing strategy. As a result, the objective should align with your overarching sales and marketing goals.
The rule of thumb is to have each case study showcase a specific benefit potential customers can reap from using your product or services. For example, if you offer email marketing technology, you could create a case study to prove how your product helps email marketers:
- Improve email open rates
- Lower email bounce rates
- Improve click-through rates
- Improve email lead generation
- Increase email subscribers
- Generate more revenue
The objective informs the case study creation process, so it’s critical to get it right from the onset. It might influence the choice of candidates and even the type of questions you ask them.
2. Find The Right Case Study Candidates
Once the objective is checked off, it’s time to pick the proper case study candidates. Your business may serve hundreds or thousands of customers, so how do you choose who to build a case study around and who to leave out?
The goal of the case study is to help potential customers reach their “Aha! Moment” and start using your product. To that end, the case study candidate should be a stand out amongst all your other customers.
The candidates could be businesses that:
- Posted remarkable results after implementing your solution
- Have recorded outstanding ROI
- Have been with your company for a long time and are always happy with your services
- Referred tons of other companies and people to start using your product or services
The case study is even stronger if that brand has a recognizable name. Do you have a notable brand that most potential customers might look up to as a sign of success in their niche? Prominent brands make case studies more credible and relatable for prospects, and they can help get your brand noticed more easily.
Lastly, it’s much better if the brand is a switcher — a firm that recently switched over from a competitor. That’s a gem of a case study. It allows you to showcase your product as the best alternative to a competitor and outline the various ways you were able to deliver on results and satisfaction over the competing brand. You could potentially win more customers over from that particular competitor solely by presenting your results.
3. Contact Selected Candidates
When it’s time to reach out to your selected candidates, keep in mind two important things:
Get Permission to Tell the Story
First up, you need to ask these candidates for explicit permission to publish their stories. Remember: some of them might be your former customers, and telling the story without their consent could ruin your relationship. Or, some may not want their customers or audience to know what tools and software they use. Either way, it’s important to always get their permission and cooperation.
Get to Know the Customer and Collect Data
This is a critical step, and you should line up time and schedule an interview with the customer. It could be a face-to-face meeting, video call, or phone interview, depending on what works best for both parties.
Some of the data to collect includes:
- Company and industry background. What industry are they in? How long have they been in the industry? How many employees do they have? What are their short-term and long-term objectives? Ask questions unrelated to your partnership that are aimed at getting to know the customer better and their industry landscape. Your case study should share background information for case study readers.
- The problems they faced before discovering your product. This information helps you give potential customers more context and make the case study resonate with their issues. Clearly identify what your case study customer was experiencing that made them decide to look for a different or new solution.
- What their decision-making process was like. Explore what helped the customer decide to use your product. This is where you can highlight the key selling points of your product or service, setting your brand apart from all the competitors.
- How they implemented your product or service. Focus on the customer onboarding experience and how this particular customer took your service, tool, or product and put it to use. How long did it take the customer to get your product up and running? Was it a seamless transition, or were you there to help them along the way? How many team members of them were involved?
- The results they experienced. This is the gist of the case study. Without results, your potential customers won’t even consider using your product or service. Be sure to collect as much detail about the metrics that changed since they began using your products. Talk about actual figures, such as a 10% increase in open rates, a 3% drop in bounce rates, etc. The more specific you can be, the better it is at convincing potential customers that your brand can deliver on its promises.
4. Create The Case Study
You have all the materials you need; now, you have to align and turn them into a compelling story. To begin with, lay out the case study format. There’s no one-size-fits-all format for a case study, but a good case study should have the following parts:
- Compelling Title: This should be compelling and can include the client’s name and a reference to the pain point to grab the reader’s attention. If this is a customer that left a competitor, it might be a good idea to incorporate that into the title somehow.
- Executive Summary: Short but concise paragraph or bulleted list that elaborates on the accomplishments or main points of the case study.
- About the Company: Explain who the case study is about, utilizing the information you gathered about the customer during the interview.
- Problems or Pain Points: A detailed description of the problems the company was experiencing before they turned to your product.
- Solution: Two to three paragraphs explaining how your product or service solved the challenges as mentioned earlier.
- End Results: A section to showcase real results. What has the company achieved since they started using your product? Be as specific as possible. Don’t say something like, “Our product helped the brand improve email marketing.” Instead, go for, “Email marketing reduced their bounce rate by 10%, increased email lead generation by 30%, and led to 10% revenue growth.” This could also be a good section to incorporate visuals for added effect and engagement.
How to Use Your Case Studies
Once your case studies are completed, we recommend creating a section on your website to house them. Just make sure that your site navigation is intuitive so visitors can easily access them.
But don’t stop there. Create visuals and share your case studies on your social media channels. Maybe pull quotes from your customers to highlight in these visuals so people can see first-hand what your customers love about working with you or your product.
Lastly, make sure to incorporate your case studies into your email drip campaigns, email newsletters, and sales outreach. Case studies are great resources to share with leads that are at the consideration and decision-making stages of the customer journey.
There’s no doubt that case studies can unlock infinite sales opportunities for your business. Create remarkable case studies, publish, and then promote them to tap into their full potential.
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