How to write great case studies
Creating business to business marketing success with powerful customer success stories
When you have limited time and resources to dedicate to marketing, it pays to focus on things that will really make a difference. Near the top of the marketing priority list is a good set of customer success stories or case studies.
Why do case studies work so well?
Case studies create a powerful response in a prospective customer:
- “You have experience in situations like mine.”
- “People like me put their trust in you.”
- “You have a track record of success.”
Writing an effective case study
Make sure your case studies are believable, insightful, and reasonably brief. Keep them focused on the challenge that you solved for the client, not getting lost in the details of your solution.
A really good case study is written from the customer’s perspective. There is no substitute for picking up the phone and talking to them about their expectations, their experiences and how they perceive the outcomes. Everyone likes to talk about themselves and their work, so to keep them focused on the case-study, try these questions:
- What was the background to the business or project?
- What was the problem? What was it costing you? What had you tried to fix it?
- How did you hear about us? Recommendation?
- How did you evaluate our solution? Did you compare us head to head with others?
- What did you particularly like about our solution or the way we delivered the project?
- What was the outcome? What are you saving? What can you do now that you couldn’t before?
- Would you recommend us?
When you are writing, don’t try to cover everything; choose an angle that leads to a strong narrative and highlights benefits that your target customers will identify with.
Do you need approval for your case study?
I am often asked whether you need to the customer’s approval to use their name or logo in your case studies. I reply with another question: how would your customer react if you didn’t ask them for permission then someone else spotted the case study and showed it to them?
Maximising the marketing impact
Once you have got some good case studies, make the most of them!
- On your website, add links from products and services to the case studies.
- On ‘quiet news days’ post them on social media. LinkedIn is particularly well suited to this.
- Incorporate them into proposals, either in summary or in an appendix.
- Encourage your sales people to use them in follow-up emails or even email footers.
No matter what sector you are in, good case studies help inform, reassure and win-over new customers. Here are some of my favourites, which we created for refrigeration specialists, Parasense, last year: