Case studies are an effective way to show prospects what your company has done for others and how you can help them achieve their objectives. Unlike reviews and testimonials — in which customers explain first-hand what it was like to do business with you — case studies use a storytelling approach to demonstrate the success that customers had as a result of working with you.
According to a Publicis Hawkeye study, 77% of B2B buyers in the consideration stage said testimonials and case studies are the most influential types of content. When you’re convincing prospects to do business with you, an effective case study can tip the scale in your favor. Let’s look at what a case study is and how you can use it to sell your products and services.
What is a Case Study?
A case study highlights a problem posed to your company and explains how you solved it. It outlines your strategy for solving the problem and reports the results with as much data as possible. Case studies can vary in length, but they generally follow the same format of teeing up the problem and swinging through with the solution you developed for your customer.
Our content marketing agency recently wrote a case study about our successful content promotion campaign for Rainbow Muffler & Brake, one our clients. They needed help increasing website traffic to boost sales at their chain of auto repair shops. We knew that with the right content promotion efforts, they could attract more leads and convert them into customers. Our content promotion case study explains how we came up with a blog post called The Essential Road Trip Checklist for Your Car. We published the post during the summer, when people were searching for road trip information, and made sure it would rank high on Google by including relevant keywords and links.
Our case study highlighted how we promoted the blog with the help of Pitchbox. We agreed on a mutually beneficial backlink exchange with an automotive influencer, WheelScene, which shared the blog post with its 70,000 followers. This resulted in a 23,245% increase in views, a bounce rate that declined by 1.31% and an exit rate of only 3%.
Supported with data, this case study illustrated the positive results we generate for our clients, which will spur more leads and help prospects in the consideration stage understand how we can help them achieve similar results.
How to Write a Business Case Study
Anyone can create a business case study, regardless of what industry you’re in or what service you provide. To get the best results, follow this general outline:
1. Introduce the client
2. Set up the problem
3. Highlight your strategy and tactics for solving the problem
4. Show the solution (with data to back it up)
5. Explain your client’s reaction and transformation
6. Include a strong call to action
Now that you know what format you’re following and what information you need, let’s dive a little deeper into each step.
- First, determine which client and results to showcase. Always get permission to write about a client, and ask if they’ll give you a testimonial to add to the case study. Using a client who has brand recognition is best because it adds credibility to your company. If the client doesn’t have a national presence, choose one with local or industry recognition.
- Figure out which buyer persona the customer case study will serve. Ensure that the tone will resonate with that specific persona and will persuade them to continue in their buyer’s journey. Your buyers should see themselves in this case study. Include the pain points and proof that would convince them to convert.
- Choose a title. Keep it short and to the point, but also make sure it sums up the case study. For example, our case study was titled madison/miles media Increases Page Views by 23,245% for Rainbow Muffler & Brake. Include specifics in the title; numbers are always good in a headline.
- As you begin writing the case study, introduce the client in an overview, so readers understand who you’re talking about. This can be a sentence or two that showcases who your client is and what they do.
- Outline your story. The case study should tell a story about your client (the character), the conflict your client was experiencing and the solution that you helped bring about.
- Find data to back up your claims. This may involve analyzing reports in HubSpot, Ahrefs and Google Analytics accounts — or any other platform that monitors your sales and marketing activities — to gather data for your case study. Be specific when talking about the solution you found. For example, instead of ” We helped our client increase sales,” say, “We boosted sales for our client by 59% in the first quarter of 2019.” Citing specific numbers quantifies your success and can get the prospect excited about having you do something similar for them. Include screenshots to help support the data.
- Present the conclusion/solution. Show how your product or service helped your client reach their objectives. Include a quote from your client that shows just how much their business has transformed since you stepped in to help. For example, maybe you helped increase sales by 59% and now your client has more salespeople on board to handle all the prospects who are eager to work with them.
- Include a call to action at the end of the case study. The call to action should prompt the prospect to get in touch with your company or to fill out a form. If using a form, make sure you retrieve the basic information like their name, email, phone number, company name, company size and budget. You can also gate your case study and ask prospects to fill out a form in order to gain access to it.
A business case study can help spotlight your company as a problem solver and convince prospects to partner with you. Get started with your case study today and experience the benefits as a powerful marketing tactic for your company.