The Case for Case Studies

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Case studies can be transformative for your business.

And if you’re doing them right, they will be.

You know your business does good work. And you tell your prospects and customers all about it during your sales meetings, on your website, and in your other marketing efforts. If you’ve built enough rapport, they’ll probably take your word for it. But what do you do if they want more proof?

When prospects want to know your business can deliver on what you promise, it’s helpful to have someone relatively unbiased tell them you’re worth whatever you charge. That’s why reviews are so powerful. But reviews, while effective, do shift the control out of your hands. Anyone who’s ever perused Yelp knows all it takes is one rankled, ranting customer to flavor a company’s entire reviews section. So how do you get outside perspective on your business while keeping control over what’s said about you? Easy. Start writing case studies.

What case Studies do for your business

Case studies are essentially stories you tell about other people’s experiences working with your business. It’s an opportunity to identify places where you’ve done a really good job and interview that customer, basically soliciting a rave review you can publish for your business. And because case studies are more in-depth and formal than general reviews, they’re a source prospects trust and often use to get a better look at what your business can offer them.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Here are some key case study stats you should know.

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77% of B2B buyers said case studies helped them make the decision to purchase

60% of B2B and B2C marketers agree that case studies are their target audience’s most trusted form of content

88% of marketers say case studies are their most effective content marketing tactic

3 out of 4 marketers say that case studies are one of the most effective tools available for converting leads

Ready to put the power of case studies to work for you so you can convert more leads and build a stronger brand reputation? Great. Here are some guidelines to help you do exactly that.

Keys to Highly Effective case studies

Like all content, not all case studies are created equal. Here are a few tips to make sure the energy you put into creating case studies delivers returns for your business.

Choose reputable subjects

If a company has two case studies — one from working with GE and another from working with a brand you’ve never heard of — which one are you going to check out? The one with some brand clout, of course. If a company can serve a household name, you’ll feel relatively confident they can serve you, too.

Even if your brand doesn’t work with companies the average person off the street will recognize, your prospects probably know your industry. Choose case study subjects that are most likely to resonate with them. At the very least, make sure the subjects you choose have a solid web presence. The more legit they look, the more your business is legitimized for working with them.

Identify industry-wide pain poiNts

A case study that pretty much shows you know how to help your customers is good. But a case study that specifically shows how you solve a pain point you know people in your industry face is great. When you’re talking to your case study subjects, ask them which pain points drove them to seek out your company for a solution. Focusing your content on that issue — and how you solve it like a total champ — ensures your finished case study will speak to your industry.

Include tangible metrics

If your case study says things like “improved X” and “streamlined Y,” you’re going to lose your customers pretty quickly. Saying how you helped in general terms just sounds like marketing jargon. Make your case study a powerful tool by asking your case study subject for metrics you can include. They’ll probably only have a ballpark; that’s okay. Take the lower end of the range they give you and include it. “Improved X by 22%” and “streamlined Y, saving 7 employee hours each week” will mean a whole lot more to your prospects.

Include direct quotes

You saying that someone else said something good about your business is too much like a game of telephone. If you want your case study to speak to your prospects, include direct quotes from your case study subject as frequently as possible. That way, your prospects don’t have to take your word for anything. They’ve got your subject’s testimony to go off, too.

Let your case study subjects review it

Your case study isn’t just a reflection of your business; it also reflects your case study subject. It’s bad form to publish it without giving them a chance to look it over. When you’re developing a case study timeline, factor in time for your subject to review it before you go to print or click the publish button.

How to get started with case studies, extra work-free

Sounds good, right? But you’ve got a full plate and, while enticing as a powerful tool for your business, you can probably already tell that case studies are a lot of work. Don’t stress. I’ve got you covered. I can help you identify case study subjects. Then, I conduct interviews with your subject, write the case study so you and their team can review it, and help you pinpoint the right channels on which to publish it.

Let’s get started.

Kacie GoffComment