02 / 02 / 23

Make your case: Tips for writing a case study

Self-promotion is one of the hardest parts of growing a business. You know you’re great, and you know the services you offer are great, too. But just how do you go about getting the word out to the right people? With these tips for writing a case study, you can cut the guesswork and concentrate on spreading the good word.

What is a case study?

Thanks to digitisation, there’s now a whole host of proven digital marketing tools at your disposal. Websites, social media, and email marketing campaigns are all fast, effective ways to reach out and let people know about your business and its offering.

But blowing your own trumpet will still only get you so far. What you need is a good case study – someone to blow your business trumpet for you.

By definition, a case study is: “an intensive study of a single unit with an aim to generalise across a larger set of units.” This scientific description may seem a million miles away from your business and its offering. But replace the word ‘unit’ with ‘customer’ or ‘client’ and things may start slotting into place.

In marketing terms, a case study is an existing customer or client whose positive experience is used to ‘generalise’ the benefits of your product or services to a larger group of potential customers or clients.

No matter how you choose to share your case study’s positive experience with others, the message you’re putting out there via their story is the same: “This product/service changed my life – it can change yours too!”

The aim of a case study, of course, is to persuade potential customers to take up your product or service, based on the positive experience of your existing customers. Makes sense, really!

Why use case studies?

Just as in days of yore, before the internet took over from real life, word-of-mouth is still one the most powerful marketing tools in your business’ promotional arsenal.

Statistics show a whopping 88% of consumers trust online reviews while 74% identify word of mouth as a critical influencer in their purchasing decision (source).

And this is just one of the benefits of using case studies in your business’ marketing strategy. The all-powerful word-of-mouth carries greater credibility (and therefore authority) when it comes from an independent third party – namely one of your own, very satisfied, customers.

What makes a good case study? Three tips for writing a case study:

The thing that makes case studies such an effective marketing tool and gives them so much selling ‘oomph!’ is their authenticity. The best case studies are those whose initial problem or ‘pain point’ (the one that drove them to seek out your product or service in the first place) stems from a real-life, everyday situation. This is the first tip for writing a good case study, after all, real-life, everyday problems are the kind most people can relate to.

The second thing to look for in a persuasive case study is someone who clearly represents your client base. If your product or service is aimed at professional women over 45 with an annual income of over £250,000, for example, everything about your case study should scream “mature, high-earning, female professional.” This way, you’re speaking directly to your target audience.

The third component for a great case study is the ‘wow factor’. You need to choose someone whose story is so incredible, whose experience of your product or service is so awe-inspiring, it stops people dead in their tracks, like “WOW!” You want to compel your target audience to learn about this gobsmacking, life-changing story – and in turn, your amazing offering that made it happen.

It’s worth pointing out here that, as well as jaw-dropping, case studies must be 100% genuine. You cannot fabricate them or pay someone to say nice things about your business – not even a little bit. In fact, as of April 2022 it is illegal for UK businesses to post fake or fabricated reviews online, and that goes for case studies, too.

How to create a case study

Once you’ve chosen your most powerful case study (or studies), it’s time to turn their success story into something that can be shared with your target audience. And to do that, you’ll need an account of their experience and someone with a gift for storytelling to recount it.

One of the best and easiest ways to create a super-effective case study is to hire a copywriter to do the hard work for you. Not to be confused with copyrighting, which concerns the legal ownership of a product, copywriters are the word wizards of the marketing and advertising world. These are the folks who come up with catchy campaigns and slogans, and more importantly, write compelling stories to hook your target audience and convert them into new, paying customers.

Most copywriters will begin by interviewing your case study, to get a feel for their story. The aim is to paint a vivid triptych of their experience, like three chapters of a story. The beginning outlines your case study’s problem or ‘pain point’ – the reason they sought out your product or service in the first place. The middle of the story sandwich recounts their experience of your product or service; the happy ending or third chapter sums up the results of that experience and how much better the case study’s life is now that they’ve discovered your wonderful business offering.

As these tips show, there are lots of innovative ways for writing a good case study, and getting your successful client stories out there; from Q&A interviews and news items, to photo and video-led content. The most important thing is to get people talking!

To start creating your own effective case study campaign that speaks directly to your target audience, get in touch .

Written by Formation Formation