posted on September 4th, 2012

How to Write an Effective Case Study

BY Jason Howard in Blog ,

Have you ever had a satisfied customer for your product or service? If yes, then you have a very powerful content marketing tool at your disposal. People relate well to a story that resonates with them on a deeper level. They like to read about success stories of those who triumphed over the same or similar challenges that they are going through. If you've been able to improve the lives of your clients in their relationships, career, family, finance, business, or other area with your business product or service, and they can testify to that, then you stand a higher chance of attracting new customers.

How can you capitalize on such a positive example? By compiling the story of how everything happened from start to finish. And that is called a case study.

What is a Case Study?

A case study is simply a testimonial from a happy client who used your product or service and was satisfied with the results.

This type of testimony is expanded and details the whole story of the business operation that took place between you and your happy client. It usually includes the life of your customer before using your product or service, what happened during the course of using your product or service, and how it helped improved your customer's life after using it.

It's not About You

Your case study should be centered on your client's story, not your product or service and what it can do for prospective customers. If you talk a lot about your business, your target audience will perceive it as self-promotional material instead of a tool for convincing prospects about the credibility of your brand.

In a case study, the following are discussed:

  • Client's details or profile
  • Client's challenge or problem
  • The solution – your product or service
  • The result – outcome after using your product or service

The Client's Details

In terms of an individual client, this could be gender, age, career, educational level, marital status and location. Regarding a company, it could be the name of the company or organization, location, industry, annual revenue and the number of employees. In terms of a family, it could be about a couple and their kid(s). The details of a client may vary depending on your niche.

The Challenge

Describe the challenge your client was facing before benefiting from your business services. This could be the problem a potential client was facing that lead him or her to buy your product or service. It could also be a need to update an existing product or service for the latest improvement or innovation. Finally, it could be malfunctioning equipment or a gadget that needed replacement for improving operation. A challenge can arise from different angles depending on the industry that you are writing the case study for.

The Solution

This is where your product or service becomes instrumental in the story, but not a place to mention all the features and benefits of your product or service.

In this case, you will focus on the procedures your featured client went through in order to solve the mentioned challenge or problem. Of course, your product or service will be the solution and your prospective audience should be able to figure that out when reading your material.

The Result

This is where your featured customer's satisfaction is mentioned, including how the solution has helped improve your client's life – business, career, relationship, finance or health. This will vary depending on your niche. It should be about the outcome of using your product or service, and must be detailed without leaving a stone unturned.

How a Case Study can Benefit Your Business

Below are some of the benefits of using a business case study to market your product or service.

  • It reduces prospecting time. People prefer to educate themselves about their needs, rather than allowing sales personnel to talk them into a purchase. With your business story at their disposal, they'll be inclined to make buying decisions without being pestered.
  • It helps build trust. With the information and details about the featured customer included in your case study, your potential customers can contact the client directly to find out more about how your product or service benefitted them.
  • It helps build relationships. The fact that the story is real and devoid of marketing tone makes it easier to convince your prospective customers about your brand's credibility without sounding too pushy with your product or service. Also, your case study presents a problem and solution that your audience can relate to, and that will make them feel cared for.
  • It helps increase sales. When sent to your intended audience, it will remain with them until they're ready to make a buying decision. A well written and presented case study will convince your target audience in its quest for a solution to its pressing problems, and consequently influence buying decisions.

How to Generate Information for Writing a Case Study

Developing the content for a case study can be a bit challenging, especially if you don't have the right information. But you can make the creation very simple and less daunting by asking your satisfied customer(s) the questions below in order to give you an idea of how to go about the development.

  • What did our product or service do for you?
  • How did it work?
  • What were the outcomes of using it?
  • What parts were most effective and productive?
  • What influence do you think it will have on your future?
  • What did you like best about using or working with our product or service?

Don't limit yourself to the above questions alone. They're made to give you a grasp of the type of questions you can ask when preparing to write your story. You will want to personalize your questions to fit your business.

It is more beneficial to ask a few relevant questions than to ask several that have no purpose for the content. In addition, asking fewer, more direct questions will make the happy clients more inclined to answer them appropriately.

How to Use a Case Study to Attract New Customers

Don't finish writing a success story and put it down to gather dust on your hard drive. And don't use it to decorate your computer either. Use your case study as a valuable tool to market your business. How? Attract new customers with your story by following the tips and advice below.

  • Place your case study on your website's home page.
  • Incorporate it into your work portfolio page.
  • Include it in your testimonial page.
  • Send it to your newsletter subscribers list.
  • Link to it in your articles or blog posts.
  • Share it in your social networking platforms.
  • Blog about it.
  • Write a press release about it.
  • Send a copy to your featured client(s). They will be happy about it.
  • Include it in any content that you use for marketing your business.

If you have had customers who have used your product or service and were happy afterward, you can leverage their stories as a powerful marketing tool by publishing them as case studies for marketing your business to potential customers.

Any story of a happy client must be detailed with information such as the struggle or the challenge of the featured customer before using your product or service, how the customer used your product or service, the outcome of using your offer and the overall success your satisfied customer achieved as a result of using your product or service. By following the guidelines in this article, you are well on your way to developing an effective tool to incorporate into your overall content marketing strategy.

Do you need help putting together a content marketing plan to boost your online traffic and sales? Contact us online or call us at 866-440-5772 to find out what our online marketing company can do for you. From traditional marketing materials to full scale online marketing campaigns, Cynexis web marketing team has the talent and expertise to handle all of your marketing needs.


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