Five things you need for a great case study (and one bonus!)

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Fresh, unique content can help you stand out online. That’s why case studies are such great marketing tools.

A marketing case study is essentially a detailed testimonial. It tells the story of how your product or service helped a past or current customer, and how a potential buyer might imitate their success.

Effective case studies don’t just happen, however. It needs specific ingredients, combined in the right way, to create a compelling story that convinces the reader to make a purchase.

Here are a few of those ingredients:

1. A full story to tell

Your case study should tell a story that takes the reader on a journey to a satisfying ending. Most case studies follow a specific formula:

1. Introduce your customer and their specific problem

2. Explain what your customer wanted to achieve

3. Identify why they chose your product or service

4. Describe how they started to use your product

5. Show the positive results your customer got from that product

6. Explain what the next steps might be for your customer and how your product (or company) can help them take those steps

Not every case study will follow this formula exactly, but it’s a good starting point.

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2. A specific audience

Who do you want to read your case study?

If your answer is, “Anyone who will buy my product!” then it’s time to narrow it down a little.

A case study should have a particular audience in mind. In fact, you should write it as if you’re speaking to a single person.

Try answering these questions to pinpoint your audience:

  • Who is your product/service for?
  • Who will actually decide to purchase this product, if not the end users?
  • What is important to buyers?
  • What benefits does your product offer the buyer?
  • Where in the buying process is your audience?
  • What concerns might that person have about your product or company?

3. Helpful, specific data

It’s not enough just to say your product benefited someone. The case study should show how your customer benefited.

Get specific by reporting exactly how many hours were reduced, or the percentage increase in sales or revenue. This is more convincing to the audience, and helps build their trust in you.

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4. Brevity

Your audience is short on time, and you can respect that.

Demonstrate that respect by keeping your case study to one page in length—definitely no more than two. Include only the most essential information for getting your point across.

5. Enthusiastic participant

Without a customer’s story to tell, there’s no case study. Avoid choosing someone who is just doing you a favor, or who is not completely satisfied with your product.

Find an engaged, passionate customer who is eager to share their story.

Ask your customer for specific data, quotes, and other information they can contribute to the case study. This will help smooth the writing process and make your case study more effective.

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(Bonus) 6: Call to action!

Let’s say your audience has read the case study, and they’d like to know more—or even make a purchase! What should they do?

Don’t leave them in the dark—tell them exactly what they should do next. This is a crucial step for your case study!

Do you want them to go to your website to see product options? Call a phone number to schedule a demo? Email your sales team? Let them know specifically.

Need help creating your great case study?

Hit this link to email me now and request a free, 30-minute conversation about how we can collaborate to create your case study, or another type of straightforward, well-researched writing to boost your copywriting and content marketing success.

After that, check out my FAQs page and let’s connect on LinkedIn. See you soon!

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