Writing case studies
Proving your product in the real world
Case studies are vital to any content marketing or sales campaign. Why? They answer the one question no amount of marketing copy can answer. Does the product really work?
Put yourself in the shoes of a potential buyer. Who are you most likely to believe, the marketer who is paid to promote a product or a real life person or business who has used it and liked it? We think we know the answer.
Using opinion to sway sales is a powerful tool. Few buying decisions are performed at any level without reading reviews, looking for customer feedback, testimonials or other real life examples. Case studies allow you to tell a story using your successes as the subject.
That’s why good case studies are so important. That’s especially true if you have a new, innovative product that doesn’t fit an established mould or need to tailor your proposition around particular needs.
Case study structure
There is a defined structure to a typical case study. Effectively you’re telling a story, so will need an introduction, a bit of background, the meat of the story, the epilogue and the details at the end.
In a case study, this is demonstrated by first introducing the customer and their problem. We then describe the situation, the solution and how you as the provider did everything you could to solve that particular problem. The meat of the story is the solution itself and how it was designed specifically for the situation.
We generally round off with quotations from the customer telling everyone how you did all you could for them, offered great service and how the solution continues to benefit their business.
The medium that you use will determine how long and how it is arranged. If you want to use it as a presentation, then a slide per segment is enough. So one slide for background, one for the problem, one for solution and so on.
If you’re planning to put it on your website you have two options. The first and our preferred, is a short introductory paragraph of 100-150 words and a link to a PDF of the full case study. The second option is to have the entire case study on a web page running to around 500 words.
For a print or PDF version of a case study, we tend to produce two A4 size pages of between 500-1000 words. With images, breakout boxes and branding added, this is plenty enough for the average reader.
While the power of a case study is in the copy, the appeal comes from design and layout. A good case study will survive or thrive on the quality of its looks. To be successful, a piece needs to look as good as it reads.
That means using readability rules to influence layout. Using colour, images, highlighting, ordered lists, company branding, graphs and other elements to create appeal within the study. The combination of great looks, readability and compelling content should be enough to begin converting right away!