Have you personally experienced the magic of case studies?
It goes a bit like this:
One of your ideal clients has been following you on Instagram and LinkedIn for a while.
They read your regular blog posts and see the value you offer; they’re just not ready yet.
They like your posts and see you as an expert, but they’re not fully convinced you’re the one to solve their challenges.
Then, you share a detailed story of how you helped one of your clients get the results they were after. That’s it – they’re sold.
Moments later, you get an email from this client you’ve wanted to work with for so long and you can’t believe it’s happening!
That’s the magic of case studies.
But, how? Let me break it down for you…
What is a case study?
Before I get into all the juicy benefits, let me first introduce you to what I believe will be your new best friend in content marketing once you’re done with this blog – case studies.
What is a case study?
Well, according to Cambridge Dictionary, a case study is “a detailed account giving information about the development of a person, group, or thing, especially in order to show general principles”.
In other words, a case study is a colourful record of how your business solved a challenge for your customers or clients, and what the results looked like. It’s a customer success story!
Not only do case studies tell a story, they’re also a powerful sales and marketing tool to help you sell more of your products and services. I mean, who can resist a success story? When you read one, you’ll want those successful results for yourself!
So, let’s get into more of the benefits case studies can bring to any business.
#1 Proof that you can deliver
Does your website feature customer reviews or client testimonials? You know, the people you’ve sold products to or worked with who are willing to publicly share their glowing testimony about your products or services. If so, that’s a great start. Featuring customer feedback is an effective tool to leverage the benefits of social proof.
“What’s social proof?” you ask. Well, it’s a psychological concept that people tend to follow the actions or beliefs of others in certain situations.
As helpful as customer reviews and client testimonials are, case studies take it to the next level. The more you invite your audience into what your customer or client’s situation, their behaviours (taking up your offer) and the dazzling results, the more they’ll want it for themselves.
Think of case studies as testimonials and reviews on steroids – they take your audience on the journey from problem to solution to success. They tell your audience not just that you deliver value but also HOW you can help them, too!
#2 Stories engage your audience
You’ve probably heard or read around these parts that storytelling is the way to go when it comes to marketing. Stories do more than attract your audience’s attention; they hold it.
Imagine a classroom full of children. They’re being taught the fundamental principles of the English language. Bore, right? And so the students are restless, barely paying attention, passing notes to each other with the occasional glance at the teacher. But when their teacher flips the switch and tells an exciting story to illustrate the lesson, it arrests their attention. They’re hooked on every word. The students have heard a good story, but they also walk away having learned the same principles.
Even if you’re not a natural storyteller, case studies of customer or client experiences tell the story for you.
It’s as simple as interviewing the person in focus to hear their side of the story:
- Their situation before they found you
- Why they chose you over others
- Their experience with your product or service
- The results achieved
Now, the questions you ask are key to getting the right information to craft a powerful and persuasive case study. Get as much detail as you can from them (including the highs and lows) to help add some colour to the story.
#3 Bring your value to life
It’s one thing to share the value you deliver through short-form content on your website or social platforms. It’s another thing to use a case study to bring that value to life. Why tell a potential customer or client you can deliver certain benefits and outcomes when you can show them how through a detailed account of an existing client’s successful experience?
The more detail you share, the easier it is for your audience to connect on an emotional level and put themselves in your customer’s shoes. Case studies provide the detail that will help your audience tap into imagining what success would look like for them after working with you or buying your product.
The emotional pull from reading the story of another person overcoming their pain or struggle with the help of your solution adds that extra persuasive power. By the time they finish reading, they’ll realise you’re clearly the answer to their problem.
#4 Generate leads
What key activities and strategies come to mind when you think of generating leads?
Maybe it’s sharing some of your expertise for free through lead magnets (e.g. guides, e-books). Or, maybe you thought of email or social media marketing. Perhaps good old word-of-mouth was the first thing that popped into your head.
These are all fantastic marketing methods. But I propose to you that you add case studies to your list of go-to lead generation strategies.
62.6% of eMarketer survey respondents say that case studies are effective in generating leads.
They’re a powerful yet often overlooked content marketing tool.
#5 You can re-purpose the content
The hardest part of sharing a cast study is the process that goes into writing it. From research to interviews and then writing it the right way, it does take effort.
But it’s worth it.
Shameless plug – if it’s just not something you see yourself doing but you recognise the merit of a case study, don’t “write” it off (pun intended). That’s where I come in. I can help support you through that process from idea to publication and personally write it for you. Book a discovery call with me to find out how.
The best part is that you can re-purpose your case study content. Over and over again. Don’t stop sharing your stories! Here are a few ways you can do that:
- Feature the full case study on your website portfolio and in proposals
- Use client quotes from the case study as testimonials on your website
- Add quotes and success metrics to sales decks
- Turn it into video content (feature the client or customer interview if they consent)
- Include a condensed version of the case study in any future blog section on the website
- Share it as a podcast episode
- Post it in short-form on social media as a carousel
- Re-create it as an infographic for sales flyers
I could go on, but I’ll stop there. As you can see, there’s plenty of opportunity to milk case studies for all they’re worth – and more!
If you have no case studies to share yet – start today.
Ask a customer or client if they’d be happy for you to share their story, ask them the right questions and write away. It could be 500 words or 2,000 words; whatever you feel is enough to effectively share their experience and showcase your product or service.
And if you need a little help along the way – I’m here!
Oyelola is a freelance copywriter based in Sydney, Australia. She writes empathy-powered copy to help financial services and purpose-driven brands attract the right people, so they can leave a mark, build a community with shared values and create positive change. For targeted tips on how to craft a magnetic message using the power of words, sign up for her monthly emails here.