One of the most powerful ways to showcase your business’ value is through a case study. Case studies declare to the world that your product works, and proves how effective it can be in helping customers solve problems.
A case study will build social proof far better than any other content format, and it has the potential to do more to increase conversion rates than you probably thought possible.
By demonstrating to potential customers exactly how your business is able to satisfy their needs, case studies kick off the sales process. Far more specific than your average testimonial, case studies underscore your past successes and enhance brand authority.
All those benefits, however, only apply if your case studies are well written.
When writing a case study, keep the following list of best practices in mind. These strategies will help you maximize the impact and positive impression that your studies will have on every visitor that reads them.
Select the Right Customer Experience to Study
Not every customer who uses your product will have an experience appropriate for a case study.
Sometimes, even though the overall customer experience is positive, the actual outcome won’t be relevant to your entire target audience and is unsuitable for a study that all your website visitors may potentially read.
Another thing to consider is the significance of the results. Writing a study on a customer that had less than stellar results won’t paint a pretty picture of your brand. Rather, only profile customers that have experienced exceptional results.
When selecting a candidate for a case study, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did this customer see results that my target audience would be happy with if they use my product?
- Will this customer experience make for an evergreen case study that will still be relevant several years from now?
- Is this customer a recognizable brand that my target audience might know and respect?
Use Numbers and Measured Metrics Often
Authentic data is the key to a well-written case study. Without it, studies have zero credibility and aren’t very believable.
To see how data can add value to a case study, consider the relative impact of the following statements in a case study written by a company that sells remarketing software:
- By using our product, company XYZ was able to significantly increase customer retention rates
- Over a three-month period of using our product, Company XYZ doubled their 34% customer retention rate to over 70%
The first statement is ambiguous and lacks authority.
The second, however, uses specific numbers and measured data that makes it much more credible. Furthermore, the latter statement also puts a timeline on the results, which gives readers an idea of how soon they can experience similar results.
By plugging in real-life numbers, you’ll give clear, indisputable proof that your product offers results.
Visualize Data Whenever Possible
It makes sense, then, to present data to readers visually whenever possible, rather than in long walls of repetitive text.
The most appropriate place to use visual content is when you’re showing growth in a specific metric. For instance, continuing from our previous example of a case study for a remarketing company, the business could show the month-by-month growth of Company XYZ’s customer retention rates in a bar graph.
Almost any type of data can take visual form, whether it’s as a bar graph, pie chart, flowchart, etc.
Emphasize the Human Story
Data is great at building credibility and making your product look desirable, but data alone is not sufficient for a case study.
Without a human story to back up the data, a case study has no emotional connection with readers and won’t be nearly as appealing.
More than anything, you want your readers to identify with the case study. Use storytelling to highlight your customer’s struggles before using your product. Explain the challenges the customer faced and overcame.
Finally, end on a positive note: talk about the benefits the customer now receives, having achieved the ideal result. Conclude the study by revealing their plan to continue using the product to take their company to even greater heights.
Often, the best way to give your case studies a human touch is by adding quotes directly from your customer. Ask the top executives in the business you’re profiling to add insight about the positive changes they see in the company after using your product, and use the quotes to hammer home important points.
Case studies play a key role in building social proof and validating brand effectiveness. Are you currently using case studies to boost credibility for your company? If so, what does your writing process look like—and what rules do you keep in mind while writing? Share your experiences in the comments below!