It’s no secret that online shopping has grown significantly in the last decade. It’s important to note, however, that people aren’t simply making purchases online, but also researching those purchases as well. According to an Orbelo study, 85% of online shoppers do online research before making a purchase.
From a marketing perspective, it’s important to have online content that educates potential customers on your product and your brand. There is a wealth of content marketing tactics you can adopt, and it’s important that you use a combination of those tactics to best serve your audience. For example, writing a case study is an excellent way to start building a content repertoire. Not only does a case study provide an opportunity to tell one of your brand’s success stories, but it also provides opportunities to create future content that elaborates on, updates, and promotes your case study.
Case studies were the third most effective content tactic (only behind white papers and having a website) B2B decision-makers used to make a selection. A case study on its own will be incredibly valuable and can lead to conversions. So, what exactly is a case study?
What Is a Case Study?
A case study is a short document (typically one or two pages) that helps showcase the dynamic between your consumers and your business. Not super technical, case studies are overviews that highlight how consumers benefit from having a relationship with your company. Even though you’re the one publishing the case study, showing how others benefit from your product can work like a word-of-mouth referral, which is extremely effective.
The goal is to position your product or service as the best option for consumers. You can illustrate this using real results through a case study. This sets them apart from blogs in a couple of ways. Blogs are often free-for-alls that can focus on anything and everything. More often than not, they tackle theoretical subject matter like which tactics work best together, or what trends you see in certain industries. Blogs, however, don’t touch on personal successes the way that case studies do. There are bloggers everywhere for everything, and they certainly have their place, but most people are intimidated by or simply ignore case studies as a tactic. Writing a case study can set you apart from everyone else.
How to Write a Case Study
The first step in writing a case study is to find your subject. Find someone who is a loyal, frequent user, who experienced results worth talking about.
Next, ask them for permission to use their experience in a case study. Ask for any information, statistics, graphics, and images you may need. You’ll need to ask for an interview as well so you can get direct quotes from the customer. It may take a few emails or phone calls to get all the information you need, and you may need to send a questionnaire, but this fact-finding stage is incredibly important. This is where you find the showstopping facts and figures that will make your case study incredible.
Now it’s time to create an outline of your case study. In your introduction, you want to get right to the point and talk about what problems your subject was experiencing. This is where you give your audience plenty of context. You want to appeal to readers who have similar problems. You may want to ask about when they realized there was a problem; any previous attempts to solve the problem; what led to the problem; was it sudden or did it happen over time; and how did they know they needed outside help?
Next, focus on how the subject reached their decision. Were there certain materials or processes that influenced them? What were they looking for in a solution? Did they look at any competitors? What made them sure this solution was right for them?
Find out how your solution fixed their problem. Did the product or service simplify their tasks, save time, or eliminate tasks altogether? This is the home-run part of your case study, where you really get into why your product or service is valuable to real people. You can also talk about how your subject implemented your product or service and how they transitioned to it. Finally, what does life after transitioning to your product or service look like? Did your subject reach their goals and how have those goals grown? Using this framework to structure your case study will really aid in actually writing the case study.
Now it’s time to really write the case study. You have to start out with a really catchy title that should include the name of your customer. You can then mention the product or service in a subheading.
Next, you should write an executive summary. This is a two or three sentence paragraph that gives a summary of your subject’s story. You can throw in a statistic, but no more than two. You want them to actually read the case study, so don’t give it all away in the summary.
Now that you’re finally writing the case study, just follow the outline that was laid out previously. Be sure to answer the questions, but you don’t need to be too technical. Remember, this is a case study, not a white paper, so you should really be focused on telling a good story. You want to establish your subject’s problem, detail their search for solutions, explain their decision-making process and why they chose your product or service, display the transition and use of your product/service, and finally showcase the positive results your solution brought the subject.
That’s it! You’ve written a case study. It’s a valuable marketing tool, but you can wring more value out of it by supporting it with other content.
Promoting Your Case Study
The first thing you should do when you start writing case studies is to create a website page dedicated to your case studies. Because case studies are written in a fashion more akin to a magazine whereas a white paper is more like a scientific journal, people could be more inclined to binge. That’s why it’s a great idea to have all of them in the same place.
Another great idea is to use quotes, statistics, pictures, graphs, and situations from your case study on your social channels. On one hand, you have a treasure trove of content you can break into small pieces to feed your social media calendar, and on the other, you can link to (therefore driving traffic to) your case study.
There’s a similar possibility with your blog. Your case study should be a treasure trove for blog topics. You can dive into processes used with your product/services, why people choose your product/service, and you could even repurpose the story to fit in a blog. This option can get your success story in the hands of someone who may shy away from a case study. Plus, you can promote the full-length case study and drive attention to it.
Finally, you could create video content that can help visually tell the story of your case study, while also pushing people to read the full story. This is where investing in the fact-finding/interview phase can pay off big time. Clips of those interviews/testimonials can be solid gold when putting together a marketing video. Once again, when you post this video, be sure to provide a link back to the original case study to drive traffic.
While having a case study opens up a world of options for your marketing playbook, you have to have a case study first. It’s a lot of work and it requires expertise to get it done right. That’s where Little Red Writing comes in. Whatever phase of the project you need us for, we’re there to help. We could even do the whole thing for you. If you think it’s about time to add this valuable tool to your marketing strategy, give us a call.