Who would have imagined case studies as one of the oldest constructive methods of content marketing?
According to Boast, more than 85% of B2B marketers identified case studies and customer testimonials as the most effective content marketing tactics.
What is a marketing case study?
Marketing talk is boring, we all can agree upon that, can’t we?
How about if you conceal your marketing talk within a story with actual facts and figures that can substantiate the claims you make?
A case study does just that.
It’s a detailed analysis about how you approached a client’s issue, executed strategies and delivered results.
On one hand, the numbers and percentages used in the case study provide authenticity to the content, while on the other hand, the storytelling approach engages the reader better.
Therefore, case studies are a long term digital asset that can be put to repetitive use as and when the situation demands. For instance, it could be sent to a prospective client as a part of a mid-funnel lead nurturing strategy if the subject and goals of the case study are relevant to their industry.
How to write a converting case-study?
- Pick out the right subject
Choose a case study subject that closely resembles the audience segment you are planning to target. This step is crucial as the objective behind a case study is to strike a chord with your prospective client and make them confident enough to complete their journey through the sales funnel and convert.
Your audience might span various segments. Therefore, you might have to come up with case studies that can resonate with each of these segments.
- Hook the Introduction
The introduction should contain the hook that would prompt the reader to continue reading the case study. A crisp overview detailing the problem faced by the customer, how your company solved it and the results can be included in the introductory paragraph.
The prospective client will be curious about the results, be sure to satiate this curiosity at the beginning itself.
- Stick to the format
A case study must include the following 3 parts:
The problem: Under this section, you can describe the nature of the client’s business and what prompted them to hire you. You can go on to talk about the problems they were looking to solve or the goals they were hoping to achieve by working with you.
The Solution: Here, you elaborate on how you helped the customer solve a specific problem. This section gives the reader a peek into how working with you would feel like.
You can blow your own trumpet in this section, but in a subtle way by providing detailed facts and figures about the strategic approach you took towards solving the client’s problem. The reader should be able to find the answers to the following questions here:
- What strategy did the team come up with?
- How a plan of action was decided on following the initial analysis?
- What performance optimizations were made based on the initial results?
The Result: It’s the cream on top of the cake- results. Your prospective customers will be keen on finding out whether your strategies helped the client achieve their goals or not. Therefore, illustrate clearly how the client benefitted from working with you.
- SEO-fy your Case Study
A compelling customer story alone is not enough to reap the benefits of this content marketing strategy. Your case studies should be SEO-ready.
Be sure to include the right amount of keywords that are relevant to your solution. Case studies are also quite good at attracting backlinks which are an important part of SEO. Adding descriptive meta tags and title tags can also profoundly boost your search engine rankings.
Before concluding, here are a few bonus tips from Casey Hibbard, the success story specialist at Compelling Cases that could help you with writing some really great case studies:
Quote the customer
Case studies typically employ reported speech, but putting in a few quotes in the actual words of the customer can let your credibility shine through the content.
Quotes that describes the challenge faced by the customer, a comment on why the customer chose your product/service or a result quote summing up the results the customer reaped by working with you, can help the audience connect better to your business.
Tell a story
Weave the customer journey into a story. Irrespective of your audience segment, stories are more engaging and they let the readers visualize themselves in the subject customer’s shoes if they are facing a similar problem.
Casey suggests a Hollywood style storytelling structure: a hero struggles with a problem, finds a mentor who guides him and finally emerges victorious. Such a story can make the reader feel that they are on a familiar ground while reading the case study.
Give it a touch of emotion
Case studies can get really technical with a lot of numbers, graphs, and figures. Adding a few details about the emotions that the customer went through would give it a human touch.
When you interview the subject customer for the case study be sure to ask a few questions that can get an emotional answer from them.
Highlight the results
They are the juicy parts of your case study your audience will be looking forward to.
Make it explicit in your content.
Casey’s advice is to include your #1 result at multiple points in your content such as the headline, summary, subheadings and of course a detailed explanation in the body copy.
Make it interesting with graphics
Images talk more per square inch of screen. So, try to take your case study to the next level by incorporating billboard-style images, infographics, interviewee’s photos, and graphical results.
A case study is a clearly documented proof of the claims that you make about your products or services. Presenting your prospects with such data-rich, easily skimmable long-form content can sway their purchasing decision and make things work out in your favour.