You’ve done a great job satisfying your customer’s needs and helping them accomplish their own business goals. Surely, you don’t want all that hard work to go unnoticed. But, what’s the best way to show to the world how valuable your services are? A case study.
Learn how to showcase your company’s success using compelling case studies. Plus, we’ve included 40+ examples to give you some awesome case study template ideas.
In the context of marketing, Top Rank Blog defines a case study as “an analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.”
According to Content Marketing Institute, case studies are the 5th most popular marketing technique, right after social media, e-newsletters, blogs, and website articles. In fact, 63% of marketers think that a case study is an effective marketing strategy.
Case studies are real-life examples that show the value of your product or service. They are also used to further promote your services and get you even more customers. What we like the most about case studies is that they are very effective when it comes to turning your ideal potential customers into actual customers.
Case studies are especially effective for converting customers sitting on the fence. You wouldn’t believe it how often the answer to the question “Why did you choose to work with us?” is “I was impressed by your case studies” or “I saw you helped someone in my industry so I figure you can help us too”. But what makes case studies so effective?
Case studies don’t tell, they show. For example, telling you that you can generate lots of leads using LeadQuizzes is fine. You may believe it, but you don’t have to. But, showing you how GothRider, an e-commerce company similar to yours, profitably generated 75,813 leads using LeadQuizzes leaves a much stronger and more credible impression. Doesn’t it?
Before we provide you with some actual case study template ideas, let us briefly guide you through the preparation stage of writing a case study.
Preparing a quality case study eventually comes down to obtaining all the necessary information from your company and your client or customer (along with the permission to publish it) and then showcasing it in a format that appeals to your customers.
A compelling case study must appeal to your ideal customer. In order to learn what appeals to your customers and how to tailor your content to their needs, you’ll have to do some in-depth research and create a buyer persona. What’s a buyer persona?
In a nutshell, a buyer persona is a profile of your ideal customer. It represents your target customers’ behavior and preferences when interacting with your online business. Creating your own buyer persona is crucial. In fact, NetProspex case study shows that using buyer personas can lead to a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue.
Moreover, Bourbon and Boots generated 35,752 leads and doubled their sales in only 3 weeks. Their secret? They based their online quizzes on buyer personas, instead of creating sales-focused quizzes.
Once you know who your ideal customer is, you have to show them that you’re comfortable in their industry, know its specific needs and, most importantly, know how to deliver results in the selected industry. Creating a great case study is the way to do it (while our case study template ideas make it a lot easier).
Simply told, you have to decide who or what is your case study going to be about. Ideally, it will be some of the clients or customers who have seen a dramatic result after using your product or services.
When opting for a case study subject, you should have the desired outcome of your case study in mind. In most cases, you do not write a case study just to showcase your success – you do it to get even more clients.
We’ve already shown you how to choose your target audience above. It’s time to apply that knowledge. For example, if your buyer persona is somebody from the automotive industry, make a case study about car parts manufacturers. If it’s somebody in the education sector, create case studies about university students. If it’s… well, you get the gist.
You could simply send out an email asking for permission. If you plan on doing several case studies, it might be a good idea to have a pre-written template that you can later adjust. This will save you some time in the process. Here is a CoSchedule’s template you could use as a starting point (later on in the text we’re going to give you some actual case study template ideas as well):
Hi [Name of person],
Our team is conducting a case study, and we would love to tell the story of [company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product?
Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you:
What we’d like from you:
High-resolution company logo (basically as big as possible)
High-resolution images of your team, company office, etc – stories with photos of your team will drive more traffic (people like seeing that there are humans behind a story)
Stats: before [Company] / after [Company]
What does the process look like?
1 [phone/video call/coffee] interview with [person].Our team will then take your interview and build a story out of it.
2-3 email conversations may be necessary to gather extra information.
Once the final draft is complete – we’ll send it over to your team for review.
We’ll then finalize the story, create a landing page, and build a campaign around it.
Once live we’ll share the final story with you (for your marketing efforts)
Average Turnaround Time: 1 month (subject to change based on response times and edits).
What’s in it for you?
Once you get the necessary permissions, it’s time to draft your interview questions. It’s critical that you obtain all the necessary information in order to write a great study, so here are some of the things you could ask your subject:
These are some of the things you’d generally want to know when writing a case study, but you could break them into even more detail, to make sure you get all the relevant information.
Every piece of content (case study not being an exception) starts with a quality headline. Some studies show that 8 out of 10 people will read the headline but only 2 out of 10 will read the entire thing. What should a good case study headline be like? Ideally, it should…
This is usually a paragraph-long section that explains the background story of your subject (client or customer). It should be short and concise and could include some statistics that showcase the success of your subject.
An introduction to your client or company. Basically, it’s the data you can pull from their website or LinkedIn profile.
This is the ‘before’ section of your case study. Here, you should elaborate on your client/customer’s situation prior to turning to your company for assistance. You should also briefly outline the results they expected to achieve by using your services.
This section gives you an opportunity to describe how your product or service helped solve their problems or address the challenges they faced.
What effect did your product or service have on their business? Here, you should emphasize the change in their business since they started using your services. This is the ‘after’ section of your case study. Make sure to support the results with some actual numbers and visuals.
Sometimes numbers speak louder than words.
Claiming in your study that you’ve tripled your customer’s traffic doesn’t have to be an impressive achievement at all. For example, if the traffic was 100 visits and now is 300. But, if their visits had gone from 170,000 to 570,000, now that’s something.
So, instead of just saying you’ve tripled their traffic, it’s much more effective to use real numbers to support that (accompanied by graphs or any other proof that you might have).
Keep in mind that most people just hate looking at huge chunks of text. So, make sure to apply all those formatting elements that you use with other types of content, such as articles and blog posts. This includes but is not limited to headers, images, and bulleted lists. But, why not take it a step further?
While some customers still enjoy reading, many others would probably prefer a graphical, audio, or video presentation of your case study. So, try turning your old-fashioned text-based case study into an infographic, a podcast (we at LeadQuizzes are especially fond of podcasts), or a YouTube video. Make it as visual as possible by including graphs, logos, and photos. Take a look at this infographic case study from KISSmetrics, for example:
After you’ve completed your case study (and your client’s thrilled with it), it’s time for all that hard work to pay off. It’ll all be in vain if you don’t get it out for the world to feast their eyes on your success. Some of the ways to promote your case study include:
The great thing about case studies is that they can be easily pinned to any piece of content and there are at least 15 ways of using case studies in your marketing strategy. As promised at the beginning, you’ll find 40 case study template ideas down below, including case studies involving some of the greatest companies in the world. We hope these will help you find inspiration for your own case study.