Case studies are an incredibly powerful medium for marketing your business. Client case studies shift the point of view: They let customers tell your story. Think of case studies as in-depth testimonials that also provide an inside look at the way you work.
Case studies should be a part of every company’s marketing plan.
Here are some best practices when developing case studies:
|Do: Include the voice of the customer.||Don’t: Speak for the customer.|
Just like a photo is worth 1,000 words, a quote and, even better, a photo from your customer is worth far more than a generic case study with no real human representation. People like hearing from people. And they like hearing from people just like them.
Consider how effective a quote like this would be in a case study: “This service far exceeded my expectations. Top Solution set up a program tailored to our needs and efficiently and effectively built a program that saved us 20% in one year. Top Solution tracked inventory usage by department and employee, increasing accountability and reducing shrinkage on the plant floor. Gloves are no longer walking away at the end of the day,” said ABC Company CEO Fred Smith.
|Do: Write plainly.||Don’t: Use jargon.|
Jargon is not your friend. Say what you want to say as if you were explaining it to a friend. Some examples:
- “Solutions” – Every business is offering “solutions.” Be specific about which “solutions” you offer and which your customer is benefiting from.
- “Improved processes” – Which processes? Improved by how much? And how did you measure the improvement? Why do those processes matter to your customer?
- “Better customer service” – What does this mean? Have you cut order time for the customer? Improved response time? Improved communication? How? And again, why does this matter to your customer?
The more specifics you can provide, the better. The goal is to have your potential customers relate to what they are reading. Don’t forget the five Ws and the H: Who, What, Where, When, Why and the ever-important How. Cite actual numbers as evidence for your claims, and avoid being vague.
|Do: Integrate specific benefits into your headline.||Don’t: Name your case study using just the customer’s name.|
In today’s world of information overload, you need to grab your customers’ attention. If you’ve saved a customer 20% by managing its inventory last year, then say that. Of course, keep in mind what matters most to potential customers. In this case, those cost savings probably are the most important. However, your product or service is likely to have multiple benefits – many of which will be mentioned in your case study – so when drafting a headline, focus on the benefit or result that speaks to your customers’ top pain point.
Bad – Case Study: ABC Company
Unless someone is in deep research mode and willing to read everything and anything about your company, this headline is not enticing enough to get him to click.
Better – ABC Company Saves 20% in 2014 with Top Solution’s Inventory Management Services
This is far better than a generic headline and provides incentive to a potential customer to click to read about how Top Solution was able to drum up those 20% in savings. Even if they don’t click to read, and instead scan your website, the message enforces the benefits you provide. In other words, Top Solution has helped this particular company. Maybe it can help me, too.
|Do: Create a consistent branded template for your case studies.||Don’t: Use your case studies on just one platform.|
I’m a huge fan of repurposing content, and using a case study in just one place is a sure way of limiting your exposure. Build a professionally designed PDF of your case study so that it can be downloaded by potential customers researching potential solutions to their problems. Pull content out and highlight throughout your website. Write a call-out in the form of a blog. Print copies of the case study to hand out at trade shows. Share links to your case studies on social media platforms. The content in your case studies is valuable; make full use of it.
3 Aspens Media helps businesses craft effective case studies. We also edit existing ones. Give us a call today or shoot us an email.