But Does It Work? How to Write a Case Study Your Leads Want to Read
According to marketing analytics firm BazaarVoice, more than 8 out of 10 people cite opinions, recommendations and case studies as being major factors that influence their buying decisions, whether the information comes from people they know or not. This means that your leads are more likely to make a purchase when you can provide them with some type of real-world context that helps them envision how your product or service would work for them.
This makes case studies are invaluable. More often than not, this documentation of real-world experience gives your potential prospects the push they need to cross over the threshold into purchasing action.
Case studies don’t have to take a ton of time or be long, but they do have to be engaging, informative and highly relatable, so your leads will easily be able to see how your product or service can work for them as well. Below are some tried-and-true steps you can take to create a compelling case study that your leads will want to read.
1. Identify the right candidate for your case study.
This is the easiest step. These are the people who are your raving fans, the ones who’ve found a great benefit from using your product or service, and aren’t shy about spreading the word to others. They’ve seen solid results, and they can speak freely about their experience in a way that will be inspiring to others who may be on the fence. The enthusiasm with which these people can talk about your product or company will provide you with some excellent soundbites and quotes for your promotional materials.
Another surprisingly effective candidate is someone most people wouldn’t consider to be your typical customer. Many times a lead may look at a case study or a customer testimonial and say “Well, of course it worked for them; they’re the perfect fit for this type of product…but what about me?” Highlighting the experience of an unorthodox customer may give you access to an entirely different range of leads among various verticals and buyer personas.
2. Contact the candidate and ask them if they would like to be featured.
The easiest way to do this is via email. You can send them a quick introductory request, just to let them know you’d like to have them featured in a case study. Don’t worry about including dates or times in this initial email; just check their interest level, and then you can move to scheduling once you get a green light from them.
When you do receive a response, let them know you’ll be asking them a series of questions about their experience with your product or service, and that they can respond to the questions via email, or over the phone – whatever they’re most comfortable with.
3. Ask questions that focus on how your product or service delivered a solution to their problem.
Let’s say that you manufacture awesome mousetraps. Here are some questions to include:
- Name three of the biggest problems you were facing before finding out about Zap-a-Mouse. How did Zap-a-Mouse specifically address and alleviate those problems?
- What were you doing to try and solve your problems before finding out about Zap-a-Mouse?
- What type of results did Zap-a-Mouse produce for you that could help other people dealing with this same problem?
- How different has life (or business) been since you started using Zap-a-Mouse?
- What is the number-one reason why you love (and would recommend) Zap-a-Mouse?
4. Build a story with the case study that contains the following three points:
- Set the stage by highlighting the challenges that the customer was experiencing before finding out about your product or service. This is the best approach to take, because while people may not be instantly familiar with your company, they can definitely relate to a common problem. Emphasize typical pain points in this section.
- Talk about the solutions that your company created or provided in order to address the problems mentioned in the first point. This will show potential customers how your product or service is capable of addressing their needs.
- Share the results that the customer has experienced after using your product or service. Let your customer show off what your company has done to solve their problem and make their life (or business) better! You can display your results by using charts, pictures, infographics, direct quotes – whatever will stand out the most and tell your customer’s story in an impactful and memorable way.
Always remember that the main goal of your case study is to make your product or service appealing to potential prospects through the effective use of story. By keeping the above steps for how to write a case study in mind, you can create one that will have new leads knocking down your door!