Case studies are a stalwart of a good communications strategy, thanks to their power to invoke a kind of professional FOMO. By showing your prospects what a fabulous job you’ve done for someone else, they’re more likely to want to get in on the action too. They can also highlight the benefits of your products or services using someone else’s words and seal the deal for leads at the bottom of your sales funnel.
(We’ll stop here before we rave too much about the humble case study.)
But not all case studies are created equal. There’s a massive gulf between case studies that list words and numbers like a shampoo ingredients list and those that excite, inspire and drive the reader to act. You might have guessed; we believe you should be aiming for the latter. Though, as we all know, aim and outcome don’t always match up. Here’s how to nail your case studies.
Don’t get lost in a sea of same
It’s not just us that love a good old case study. HubSpot found that 13% of marketers rely on case studies as one of their main tools, and they’re only beaten in popularity by written content like blogs and eBooks. Over the past few months, we’ve seen lots of businesses ramping up or starting case study programmes, and the trend seems to be far more enduring than some fleeting content fads we’ve seen come and go.
Sadly, many companies are doing themselves a disservice by approaching case studies as an exercise in box-ticking. To maximise your chance of getting the best business outcomes, your case studies need to put your achievements up in lights and go beyond what the reader expects.
Don’t list your objective, apparatus and results out like you’re writing an academic paper. You need to make the achievements of your customers leap off the page. Need some help transforming dry facts into something more interesting than fiction? Luckily, as a copywriting company, we know a thing or two about doing just that.
Turn case studies into success stories
Your case studies shouldn’t list out of context facts and figures. At their core, they must tell a story. Yes, it’s a tale that’s designed to make you look your best, but it should have a narrative structure and logical flow that makes the information genuinely interesting to read at the same time. We’ve put together four of the most important factors to consider when crafting your case studies:
- Choose stories that don’t just make you look good. It sounds a bit counterintuitive at first, but your case studies mustn’t reek of inauthentic self-promotion. You need to find and highlight stories that are a genuine celebration of both your customers and yourself. Mention a challenge you’ve overcome; it can add authenticity and humility. People don’t trust stories that sound too good to be true.
- Your customer is the star. You’re a supporting character in their story, so make sure you highlight and praise their success first and foremost. Although the aim of your case study is to show how effective your product/service is, the best case studies put customer success above product messaging. Remember, prospective customers mostly want to know how you can help clients, not how amazing you are.
- Quality, not quantity. You could talk for hours about your customer’s success, but you’ll lose your audience pretty quickly. A concise, focused and well-written case study that pulls out the most compelling points will be far more effective than recounting a 20-year client relationship in minute detail. We’re all time-poor, so respect your audience’s time and get to the point!
- Implement a strong customer approval process. It’s certainly not the sexiest aspect of the process, but getting and regularly renewing customer approval to use their case studies is vital. Relationships can sour, and circumstances can change quickly, meaning your case studies could look disingenuous or outdated and do more harm than good.
Leveraging precious content
Once you (or your copywriting company) have created your beautiful case studies, it’s time to put them to work. Simply displaying them like a fragile piece of art means you’re not using these content workhorses to their full potential. If you have captured an inspiring story, get sharing across as many channels as you can. Repackage the content for social media, PR, blogs, share it in your prospect emails and even hire someone with dulcet tones to bring it to life for video.
The story is just the start. But what you do with those precious words could mean the difference between passive readers and engaged potential customers.
Win with case studies – and a great copywriting company
Interviewing happy customers and sharing our clients’ success to create better business outcomes is a pretty rewarding day’s work for us. We’re well versed in creating standout case study content for clients spanning a diverse range of sectors. And we’re good at it too.
If your case studies need an expert touch, we’d love to help. Get in touch or check out our case studies to see why we’re the right copywriting company for the job.