Finding case studies was one of the main tasks I had when I first started at The Guardian as an editorial assistant. My editor loved nothing more than sending me out on the streets with a photographer in tow to ‘vox pop’.
This meant I had to go out and ask unwitting passers-by in the street to tell me their reaction to a news story.
Getting people to stop, talk, and then agree to have their opinion and picture published in a national newspaper was no mean feat.
Even when I’d qualified as a journalist my editor’s request for case studies didn’t stop. So, for many years I begged my family and friends to feature in stories that would be written by me or one of the team.
Facts tell. Stories sell.
Lead with a human angle
The latest Mori report, house price Index or consumer survey is interesting enough. But these reports come to life when accompanied by a case study.
You only have to look at the top selling magazines and papers to see that they all lead with a human story.
And it should be no different in marketing.
So, these days, instead of going out on the street, I’m helping my clients persuade their customers to talk.
This is because case studies, or customer stories, are a great tool to connect your brand to your audience. Telling the human side of your customer’s story helps your audience picture themselves in the same situation.
Customer stories allow you to emotionally engage with your audience in a way that telling them facts and figures about your products and services can’t.
What is a case study?
A case study is a short-form account of how your organisation helped your client to solve their challenge/s. It can be presented in written format or video. It often includes images, infographics, testimonials or charts. The narrative clearly outlines the advantages you provided to your client.
Whether you write your customer story or present it as a video case study it should follow a set formula.
You should tell a story with a distinct beginning, middle and end. The beginning should include what the customer’s needs were. The middle should outline what you did to solve these challenges. You should conclude with how the customer benefited from working with you.
- The introduction should outline the business challenge,
- The middle section should move on to your approach or solutions you used to solve or address the challenge,
- The end should discuss the results and provide evidence.
Strong case studies should also include customer testimonials (a quote) from the highest-level person in the organisation you helped.
The quote should focus on the strategic, high-level benefits that your service provided, rather than the practical details of how it was delivered (which you can easily describe yourself).
Not only does this add credibility to your story – your customer’s ‘voice’ will bring a welcome change of tone to the content.
Finally, your customer story should end with a call to action, asking your reader to take action be it getting in touch or booking a demo.
Why case studies are important
Case studies are very important because they build credibility and trust with your prospective customers. Plus, they illustrate and demonstrate that you can successfully provide the services and benefits you claim. And because they’re endorsed by a third party – i.e. your client/customer – they help you to come across as a trusted pair of hands.
If you still need convincing of the merits of writing a customer success story.. read on to find out three more reasons why they are worth investing in.
1. Case studies highlight your past successes and attract future business
Case studies are an invaluable way of helping your prospects, who are in the ‘decision’ phases of their journey, choose a product/service that meets their needs.
By the time your prospects read your success story they’re already looking for evidence of solutions that are most likely to solve their specific challenges.
So, case studies are your best opportunity to demonstrate how you solved your existing/previous customers challenges successfully.
2. Case studies focus on your audiences’ problems
Case studies are respected and sought because they are an easy way to link your company with your prospects.
They help to bridge the gap between what your prospects know about your service and what they know about their own business needs.
A well-written case study will clearly lay out the challenges your client faced and the approach you took to solve them.
The case study should act almost like a mirror – showing prospects how a similar customer benefited from buying your services.
The more similar the prospect is to the customer in the case study, the more striking it will be.
3. Case studies enable your site to stand out as an authority to your audience & Google
A well-written case study really helps your business to shine. By paying attention to certain common situations experienced by your audience members will help you demonstrate that you understand your market.
From an SEO perspective, including a case study on your website can boost your ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs) too.
You can earn backlinks, improve your domain authority, and start ranking for search queries your target audience uses to find solutions to their challenges and pain points.
So, in conclusion, good customer stories not only demonstrate that you know how to solve your customers’ pain points, they also make your website stand-out as an authority too. And as an added bonus, they help to attract future business.
Submit your case study
Do you have an inspiring business story to tell? Submit your case study to Econsultancy for a chance to share your success and promote your brand to a global audience of leading industry professionals.