The case study allows a business to expand on a specific problem and provide or explain how a particular company provided a business solution. This method gives new or existing customers a preview of what they could expect should they engage or choose to purchase your product or service.

So, why use case studies?

Using content marketing in a storytelling format is a great way to share or educate existing or new customers about your value proposition in a very relevant way. Case studies are unique in the way they are able to combine storytelling with providing insight and information relevant to your business solution.

A tool for publicity – a well-crafted case study can provide your business with additional exposure to other outlets such as industry-specific LinkedIn groups where you can become a “thought leader” or your content could be used in or be re-published on social media sites or used in the development of infographics.

Elements of a case study

The title: its best to stick with a short or catchy title, for example, you could use the outcome as the hook, “Consolidated delivery system slashes operating costs by 36%” or “digital security software reduces fraud by R2m”

Executive summary; provide a brief overview of the customer's problem and show how your business solution provided the answer.  Example: TMC highlights how it assisted the customer, African House, to increase its lead generation by 23% through the implementation of an effective SEO campaign.

The problem – detail the problem the customer faced. What was wrong, what had they tried, give examples.

The solution -  provide an explanation of how your specific business solution addressed the customers problem. Detail what separates your solution from the rest by providing examples.

The results before and after – provide concrete evidence that will demonstrate how your solution or service helped the customer. Detail how the customer has improved, metrics are important indicators to quantify your business contribution.

Develop a call to action – you should include a few sentences following the case study that relates back to your solution. Example: the final paragraph of the ABC study encourages business owners to contact them to learn more about their solutions.

Choosing your subject customer – you must remember that the customer represents the target audience you which to engage with as they can relate to the story told in the case study. This will help establish your reputation as a leader in your industry. Remember if your customers is a well-known brand, it will enhance your overall credibility. (“If client X is working with this business, they must be good!”).

Best practices for sharing case studies – please ensure that the copy itself is easy to read and follow. Short, simple sentences are best, refrain from using jargon or specific industrial speak. Include bullet points and lists. Have a marketing team member or freelance writer prepare the case study. Include numbers and metrics that demonstrate how your business helped the customer. Remember to provide examples.

Website Placement -  Publish your case studies on your homepage. This gives visitors to your website the opportunity to immediately understand your business in a relatable way. If you’re planning on publishing case studies on a regular basis, it’s a good idea to have a dedicated page to house them. This allows visitors to easily search for past studies without having to dig through all the published content.

Conclusion – develop some “did you know” stats…

  • Google Analytics helped PBS increase conversions and visits by 30%?
  • Twitter advertising tools helped Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery increase their following by 3000% and engagement by 104%?
  • Amazon Web Services helped Slack achieve a multi-billion valuation?

Case studies help prove your value to potential new customers. After all, if your company helped someone achieve success, wouldn’t you want to show off, too?

Conclusion -  Remember all humans daydream, including your new potential customers. It’s up to you to grab their attention and not let go. What challenges do your customers face? What solutions do you provide?

It’s time to tell a story of your own…