Case Studies for Your Business: A Quick Guide

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FEBRUARY 2017

Not everybody is gifted with the sharp business acumen of a Henry Ford or a Martha Stewart. We can’t all be geniuses like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. But these businessmen had what all business owners want: a high level of trust with their customers. One of the most difficult challenges in having a business is creating and maintaining trust with customers. How were these companies able to make clients feel comfortable about buying their services or working with them? Was it easy to prove they’re worthy of their precious time and money? How can today’s business build such bond?

Using a case study

One tried and tested method is through a case study. If done correctly, a case study can show how your business can become more trustworthy to your potential customers and have a truly mutual relationship with them.

In a nutshell, a case study explains the processes, methods and, usually solutions showing how your business work and how well you can help your customers. Think of it like a mini biography with customer reviews but demonstrating a whole lot more.

Businesses shouldn’t feel intimidated about the creation process in case study writing. In fact, there are many benefits to putting effort and investing money in doing one for your business. Some of these benefits are:

  1. Content marketers see case studies as an effective content marketing tool. Along with webinars or webcasts and newsletters, marketers put more stress in case studies.

 

  1. With case studies done, you have an edge over your competitors. Some companies still won’t’ invest on it since it takes more effort in creating a truly engaging case study.

 

  1. Your company gets instant credibility knowing that you have case studies showing your worthiness to be in business. This is eye candy to the new but potential customer.

 

How to get case study writing right

Here is an 8 step guide into creating a highly effective case study:

Step #1 Know who you are targeting in your case study

JNot all are qualified and you wouldn’t want to spend your precious time on Mr. Wrong Candidate. Neither does he. Take time to scout for the perfect (or near perfect) candidate.

The best ones are those who you already have a strong relationship with and you know they can give positive recommendations, praise your product and even highly promote your business. These candidates know what you do and know what your business did to them. They can also be the switchers from a competitor. They can swing in the positivity in your favor.

Step #2 Give your case study a compelling story

We all love a heart-warming story. So give them one that they can relate to, to keep them engaged. It can be funny, embarrassing, unique, etc. Keep the story interesting by involving the reader. Add questions like their work and background. Ask why they came to use your product in the first place, what was their need or problem. Make them feel important by asking how your product was able to help them. Be engaging in your start wherein you can introduce the problem of your clients and the possible problems they are facing. Continue on with the middle by describing how you can solve these problems or conflicts. End it with a bang by giving them results of how your customers’ lives became better with your product.

Step #3 Keep the format simple

One possible turn off for potential candidates is the length and format of the case study. It should be clear and easy to follow without forgetting to be engaging. Remember, not everyone wants too much information.

A simple format could include:

  • Short paragraphs with headers
  • Infographics, pictures or videos
  • Lists and numbered items
  • Bold, italicized or underlined words

Step #4 Ask the right questions

Ask the right question, you get the right answers. This is why it is important to compose the correct set of questions for your questionnaire and interviews. Here are some good examples:

  • Do you have any goals?
  • Do you have hesitations/apprehensions before purchasing/considering our product?
  • How did you come up with a decision?

 

These questions will give you insights to their buying behaviors. Use the ever-popular open-ended questions and never use questions answerable by “yes” or “no”. You won’t be able to get anything else beyond that. Let them elaborate by asking “Tell me more about…” or “Would you like to add…”

Step #5 Present your case study

And so you’ve completed the hard part, (questionnaires, interviews, surveys), the harder part now begins. How will you collate all the information you have gathered and lay it out into one comprehensible structure?

Fortunately, there is no correct structure or correct pattern. It can be all text, a visual one or both.

As a guide, include all these but be creative on how you will present them:

  • A title with great impact (not too long)
  • A preview of your entire story
  • An introduction of your company
  • The main problem which describes what the customers want to achieve with your product
  • How your product helped solve your customers’ problems
  • Testimonials showing how your company helped customers achieve their goals

However you choose to structure it, make sure that you use all the information you’ve gathered and present them in such a way that even those who only skim or scan through case studies will be able to digest a major chunk out of it.

Step #6 Add your Call-To-Action

Always put a call-to-action in case study writing. You want to encourage people to contact you or ask about your products. Make it an inviting one that will make them consider the action. Show them why they should click it. What opportunities will they miss if they don’t? Words like “Join Us” or “Get Started With Your Career”

Step #7 Promote it

Now that you’re done, it’s time now to tell the world where to find it. Promote them on your website, all your social media channels, sales meetings or conferences. Keep a hard copy handy because you never know who might be a customer.

Step #8 Follow up Your Candidates

Revisit your case study after 3 to 6 months and make an update to keep it fresh. Give your candidates a quick follow up with new stats, new goals, achievements or news. This shows your concern with your clients and that your relationship is still active even after their goals were met.

 

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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