How to write a case study
A step-by-step guide of everything you need to know about using case studies in your marketing strategy.
11 February 2021 · 8 min read
Are you looking for top-quality content to add to your blog? Why not include a few case studies? Marketing case studies are success stories about previous marketing campaigns.
Using case study examples in your content strategy gives your prospective customer actionable data they can use in the buying process.
This post outlines a step-by-step guide of everything you need to know about using case studies in your marketing strategy.
Case studies explained
A case study is a research paper defining a research method used to resolve a marketing or research problem. In most cases, it’s a study of how a customer used your product or service to fix a problem they had in their life.
Digital marketers enjoy using the word “storytelling” when describing their approach to marketing. Case studies are the ideal component to add to your content strategy because they tell a story through a process.
Like every good story, a case study needs a beginning, a body, and a conclusion. The customer plays the protagonist’s role, and the case study underlines the step-by-step process they use to overcome their problem.
By the time the reader finishes the case study, they should have the impression that your product or service can provide them with the same experience, helping them in their decision-making process.
What to avoid with your case study
A case study analysis isn’t the basis for a press release. It’s a part of your content marketing strategy designed to provide your firm and the potential client with qualitative information they can use in the buying process.
Case study research can accompany a new product launch. However, they are not a content vehicle to talk about products or services. Similarly, a case study isn’t an advertisement for your company, product, or service.
Good case studies define the customer journey, and they don’t promote your company directly. Unfortunately, most case studies end up being dry pieces of content that prospects don’t enjoy reading.
Why create a case study for your marketing strategy?
Sure, we get it – a case study doesn’t quite have the same reader appeal as a punchy blog post. However, if you structure the case study template properly, it offers readers as much value as any part of your content strategy.
The reality is a good case study is every bit as effective as a blog post and the best solution for introducing your prospects to what they can expect from dealing with your company, product, or service.
Case studies at as testimonials, providing readers and potential customers with social proof that your products or services work as intended.
Set realistic goals for your case study
So, what do you want to achieve with your case study content? A great case study provides prospective customers with a valuable resource they can use to assess your company, products, and services.
A case study has a sole purpose, to get your prospects to convert into paying customers. Since your buyer persona differs from your general audience, you need to tailor your content to a targeted audience using your case study.
A case study is more of a laser-targeted approach to your content strategy than the broad shotgun approach you use on social media platforms and your blog. As a result, you can’t expect the same amount of page views and traffic to your case study.
However, those prospects that do read your case study are qualified for your product or service. Therefore, you have the best chance of converting them if you have a substantial case study.
Identify the unique characteristics of your case study
When building your case study content, identify the unique aspects that cause turning points in the purchase process and how it affected the buyer.
The goal is to identify your product or service’s unique parts and how they affect your customer’s life after purchase.
Blend your ideas in a format the prospective customer can relate to in real life. Your case study aims to paint a picture your customer can identify with and then deliver a solution with social proof.
You achieve the best results with your case study when it forms a natural storyline your prospect can follow and relate to in their life.
Make your case study relatable to all markets
While your case study is a laser-targeted marketing tactic designed to bring you qualified leads, it’s also a webpage on your site. Therefore, you need to make the study accessible and understandable to your entire audience as well.
Comparing your case study to a real-world example is a great idea to make the content relatable to any audience.
For instance, let’s assume you’re selling financial services. Writing a case study and comparing it with the lifecycle of flowers is great. You can compare how a retirement account is like a flowerbed. It grows, blooms (matures), and then dies away, leaving seeds for next season’s growth.
Tying that to a financial product like a retirement account shouldn’t be challenging. However, some webmasters aren’t natural writers. If that’s the case for you, consider hiring a freelancer to write your case study for you.
A talented writer can tie together the storyline and your product while keeping the reader’s attention. When marketing your case study online, you’ll use social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and podcasts to attract traffic to your webpage hosting the content.
Finding the right angle to talk about your case study is critical in compiling the content and your approach. Remember to include compelling interview questions with your customer to get their opinion, rather than giving yours.
The angle to your story provides the hook that captures your reader’s attention. However, all prospects must relate to the content.
Marketing on social media means that your entire audience will see the study. Therefore, you want to capitalize on the exposure and reach you get across all platforms. Ensuring your case study is relatable to the broader market increases your conversions.
Use a narrative arc for your case study content
As we mentioned earlier, most marketers like using the storytelling method when writing case studies or building a piece of content. As a result, your story needs a beginning, a body, and a conclusion.
The storyline introduces your customer as the protagonist in the tale, and the storyline involves how they used your product or service to overcome problems in their life.
The introduction of the case study and the protagonist makes up the first 300-words of your story. After that, you’ll need to start building the body. The body explains the client’s solution to overcoming their problem – namely, your product or service.
This section includes interview questions and client quotes, building the benefit in your company, product, or service. It also introduces the client’s problem and how it’s affecting their life.
The body is the longest of the three sections, and it’s where you need to demonstrate the value of your product or service to the reader.
After completing the body, you’ll move onto the final aspect of the case study narrative – the conclusion. During the finale, you’ll use quantitative and qualitative data to show how the client benefited from your company, product, or service.
The case study’s point is to get the reader to feel like you could offer them the same value if they sign up for your product or service.
Demonstrate key points using data
In the case study body, you’ll need to precisely convey your solution’s benefits to the reader using the main points in the client experience.
You’ll need to make your point using metrics like graphs to explain the benefits to the reader. An infographic is an excellent content medium for presenting a specific case study.
With an infographic, you get a visual representation of the entire process. Research shows that readers engage more with images than written words. An infographic allows you to blend both concepts into an incredibly effective price of content.
Use formatting to work your way through each benefit to the reader. Remember to keep it in language that focuses on the customer experience rather than your company.
The more data you have in your case study, the better. However, the information needs to reflect the challenges experienced by your customer and the reader.
Whether the challenge is increasing click-through rates or opt-ins, use charts and graphs to drive your point home with the reader.
Sales teams can benefit significantly from using case studies in their marketing strategy. Salespeople can take prospects and customer concerns and queries over the phone and note the common pain points experienced by both parties.
They can use the data or evidence they collect to build compelling case study content that answers these problems and queries.
When a prospect calls again with a similar problem, the salesperson can send them the case study. This strategy shows the prospective client what they can expect when using the product or service on offer.
The evidence you provide in the case study can features design components like charts and graphs. Or you can introduce high-quality video and images to drive home your point.
If you rely on images and video in your case study, remember to include some cold hard data to support your claims.
Show how your business supported the project
When outlining your case study’s content, it’s easy for marketers to get swept up in focusing on how the product or service saved the day.
However, with a case study, you need to focus on the protagonist (the customer), and your company or product plays a supporting role in the story.
As every seasoned marketer knows, customers buy products to solve their problems. Therefore, it’s safe to say that no-one will use your product for the sake of it – they have an intended purpose for the product in resolving their problem.
Therefore, your case study should focus on the client as the hero in the story, with your company or product providing a helping hand to them while they are in need.
There are two reasons why taking this approach with your case study content is effective. First, it helps the reader step into the client’s shoes, imagining themselves in the same position.
That structure makes it challenging for the reader to follow. They’ll focus on the content is on your product and not the protagonist in the story.
Second, your content should feature a humble tone to keep your credibility in the reader’s mind. Understanding some of your reader’s background information, such as their buyer persona, helps identify the frequent problems they encounter.
Tell the client story with your case study
As a marketer, it’s your job to take on the storyteller’s role when developing your case study content. All great storytellers can recap the elements of the tale they tell using important points they learn along the way.
The case study requires the same approach. The executive summary at the beginning of the study unpacks the details of what the reader can expect.
Outlining the story with the executive summary helps you introduce possible solutions early on in your story. A great way to do this is by giving the protagonist in your story a voice.
Direct quotations from your customer provide a narrative that’s easy for your reader to relate to in their experience. The accessibility to your client’s perspective is what sells the case study to the reader.
It breaks up the explanatory text, providing more credibility and validation by focusing on your customer’s perspective.
Use B12 for your website design and blog
Case studies are great content to add to any content strategy and marketing plan. However, you’re going to need an attractive landing page design, complete with high-resolution images and video for your new business.