“Case studies? Why bother, I’ve got loads of testimonials?”
They provide vital social proof of a job well done and can sway customers to look at what you do. However, testimonials tend to be gushy, telling the world how great you are and how highly they recommend you. They’re all kinda the same thing, and people tend to skip over them after reading the first one or two. Case studies are different.
What is a case study?
A case study isn’t gushy. It’s real-life proof you understand the issues facing your customers and how you delivered results and solved the problems facing people just like them. And they usually follow a similar pattern:
One. A striking headline
A positive headline can make or break your case study, so it has to make people read on. Including how you overcame the problem, the end result or how much sales increased by goes a long way to impressing customers and justifying your services should they need sign-off from somebody higher in their organisation.
Two. An overview of your customers’ business
Although brief, the overview tells the reader a little bit about the company you helped. A company, like them, facing similar problems. Right away you’ve connected with potential customers.
Three. The problem they faced
Here you can explain the issues your customer faced and why they decided to use your product or service to fix it.
Four. How you implemented it
Next, it’s about how you went about implementing your product or service. This is especially handy if what you do is complex as you can get into the nuts and bolts of how what you do works.
Five. The outcome
You’re ace, so you tell everyone how your product/services produced amazing results. Maybe it streamlined how they work, cut time off production or boosted their income.
Six. A compelling quote from a key member of the business
The higher up the organisation you can get, the better. Bob in accounts is no use, if you can, get it from the very top, or as near as damn it. However, sometimes a client may want to remain anonymous, if that’s the case, the testimonial won’t be as useful – but it’s better than nothing, but try and push to use the name of somebody at the business.
Also, by including statistics, like ROI and savings for the customer, you’ll highlight just how impressive you are. You just don’t get that from a testimonial.
Why should you use case studies?
Case studies allow you to show your target audience what you do better than your competitors. And, not only do they build trust in your business, but they place you as a voice of authority in your niche/industry – boosting your reputation as well as helping your search engine optimisation. What’s better:
A business which relies solely on testimonials
A business which tells a story about how what they do solves problems with real, actionable results
It’s the latter, honestly. Because that’s what a case study is – a story.
Humans love stories. They tug at our emotions and stick in our minds long after we’ve finished them. It’s why we love reading books, binge-watching Netflix and settling down to our favourite films. A case study is a real-life rags to riches tale where you’re the hero. And who doesn’t love a hero, right?
Who are case studies for?
Any business can run a case study. Whether you’re a florist or supply industrial machinery to farmers, if your business solves problems then a case study is the perfect way to ‘big up’ your business without it sounding like you’re bragging – like it can when you’re posting testimonials on social media left, right and centre. And they’re especially useful for those in technical industries, or for those who sell products which need lots of explaining.
A case study allows you to break it down, step-by-step so you can get right into:
- What it does
- How it does it
- The problems it solves
Get on the case.
If you know you’re better than your competitors but struggling to get it across to potential customers, then adding case studies to your marketing materials is the way to go. You can post them on your website or print them in glossy brochures to hand out at meetings and conferences.
And I can help. As a freelance copywriter, I’ve written case studies for clients tired of chasing one-line testimonials and produced in-depth stories about how they saved the day for their customers.
Until next time,