As a marketer, one of our biggest goals is to build trust. Not only with your prospects, but also with your current clients as well. There are many ways you can work to build trust, but marketing case studies are the best way to prove that your efforts drive results. People trust numbers.
But building a strong and effective case study is not always the easiest task on a marketer’s plate. Effective case studies must be well planned and created in a way in which both the customer (and ultimately the reader) and your company will be showcased and highlighted in a favorable light.
In this post we’re sharing tips for how to write the ultimate case study.
Finding the Right Customer to Feature
When choosing a customer to interview, you want to ensure that the person you’re choosing is not only super familiar with the project you worked on together, but also who is familiar with your company and your process. Additionally, this person should also embody one of your buyer personas, or emulate your “ideal customer”.
By showcasing a customer who fits into that category, you’re more apt to attract other buyers who have a similar persona to your website. In turn, you’ll spend less time qualifying these prospects because they’ll already be the audience you’re trying to reach. Ultimately, the hope is that this will result in more conversions for your team.
Creating a Purposeful Interview
The goal of the interview process is to extract as much useful and meaningful content you can from your featured customer. Below is a detailed listing that helps to make sure you’ve covered all of your bases:
- Asking for the Interview - It can be a little overwhelming for a customer to receive an out-of-the-blue phone call asking for an interview for a case study. We suggest starting the conversation over email as it doesn’t put the person on the spot and pressure them to give an immediate answer. It’s important to make sure you include the who, what, when, where and why about the case study. Remember, this is not always a lightning-speed process, and the interviewee will want to feel as prepared as possible.
- Choosing a Format - Not everyone has the time to spare for a formal interview; allow your customers to choose whether they’d like to meet in person, talk over the phone, or answer your questions via email instead.
- Determining a Goal for the Interview - What do you want to learn from this case study? And what do you want your readers to take away from it? Brainstorm questions and details relevant to this goal. (Are you looking to feature a product or service? Increase brand awareness? Get more leads? Etc.)
- Providing Background Information - Include an introduction and background on the goal you are trying to achieve with your case study. Your customer will have a better sense of what you are trying to achieve and will therefore be able to provide you with better (and more detailed) information pertaining to that goal.
- Area for Comment - Before diving into the interview questions, allow the customer to share their initial thoughts. This may reveal new topics for you to address and provides a great opportunity to get a compelling quote you can use as a call out in your case study.
- Q & A - Now’s the time where you ask your specific questions. If it’s an email interview, just put your list of questions into a blank document and ask that they write their answers down. If the interview is over the phone or in person, we advise you still send them the list of questions beforehand so that they can prepare and don’t get caught off guard. And with any interview, don’t feel locked into the questions that you developed before the interview. Go with the flow of the conversation and ask relevant, follow up questions as needed.
- Conclusion - Be sure to sum up any information and answer any questions the customer may have. Thanks are certainly in order, and you may even consider sending a hand-written note or special offer for one of your services in return for them helping you out. This is as much of a customer engagement strategy as it is a marketing and sales strategy. There’s no harm in rewarding your loyal customers!
Formatting, Using, and Sharing Your Case Study
Now that you’ve captured all the information, it’s time to put it on paper and share it with the world. Displaying your findings and measurable results from your case study is highly recommended, because it allows prospects to see how your organization actually gets results for your clients. These numbers help build trust in your marketing and sales abilities.
Of course, your case study needs to be written in an easy-to-understand and compelling way. You’re not just putting your Q and A down on the paper here. You need to digest the information you got from your customer and turn it into a piece of well-written content. One that you can easily tie into your content marketing strategy.
Check out our case study for UrbanBound, a web-based relocation platform; in this case study, we wanted to show how utilizing a modern website redesign and the inbound methodology, UrbanBound was able to increase overall sales. To show this we shared what our goals were, how we went about achieving those goals, and the results gained from our efforts.
Throughout this process, keep in mind that we are all busy, and in all likelihood, viewers of the case study will probably only spend a few minutes looking it over. Bulleted lists, short paragraphs, and images are all reader-friendly, and still get your point across. For UrbanBound, we highlighted the top results in green boxes at the top of the page.
Now that you’ve written and posted your case study, don’t let it go to waste. Use your case study as marketing and sales tool, including it in your inbound marketing campaigns, and sharing it on your social media.
You’ve got great customers and you want to highlight their success. Not only does it make them feel special, but it makes your company look more reputable and trust worthy in the eyes of your prospects. Take advantage of the successes you have together and share them!