What is a Case Study?
A Case Study, or ‘success story’, is an excellent promotional tool for any business.
What is the point in writing a Case Study?
It describes what you have done for a particular customer, and, by default, what you and your organisation can do for the reader.
A good Case Study demonstrates the benefits offered by your organisation and offers concrete evidence of those benefits.
If written well, it will create a connection between you and the reader.
1. Make sure you ask the customer for permission. Get them to tell you the ‘story’ in their own words. This should give you some good testimonials. If you want to tweak a testimonial in order to make it more effective, simply ask – as long as you keep the customer involved, they shouldn’t mind.
2. A Case Study should be like a short story – memorable and enjoyable to read. It should have a beginning, middle and end, leading the reader on from one section to the next. There are several ways in which you could structure your Case Study, including:
- Challenge, Solution, Results: a straightforward method, which states the problem or ‘need’ experienced by the customer, how you helped, and the benefits they enjoyed as a result. The Case Study will have a traditional, ‘story’ feel with a satisfying conclusion.
- Results, Challenge, Solution: ‘start at the end’, by stating the results or benefits, then explaining what the ‘problem’ or ‘challenge’ was and how you helped. By putting the benefits at the beginning, you get to the point quickly.
- Challenge, Results, Solution: By stating the problem or need, then moving straight onto the results, you will create suspense. The reader feels compelled to read on, to find out how you achieved those results.
3. The best headlines are those that announce the quantifiable benefits your customer enjoyed by using your product or service. For example, “Top energy company enjoys a 42% boost in sales with innovative services introduced by company xyz.”
4. Place a very short quote from the customer immediately after the headline or introduction. This will set the tone and lend authority to the Case Study.
5. Consider beginning by summarising the key points in a couple of concise bullet points. The aim is to ‘tease’ the reader and gain their interest.
6. Pack in as many benefits as you can throughout – and remember to quantify them where possible. Examples are cost savings, increased sales, increased productivity, or reduced waste.
7. Focus on the customer. The reader will be interested in the story from their point of view. Whenever you mention a feature of your product or service, make sure you relate it to the customer, and how that feature helped them.
8. Break down the copy by using headings, bullet points and lists. This makes the Case Study easier to read and remember. You can also highlight key phrases within the copy by using a bold or larger font, especially where you are talking about benefits.
9. Use plain English where possible. Try to avoid industry jargon or technical speak.
10. Use pictures to add interest. For example, add a picture of your product being used by your customer. Or, a picture of you carrying out the service, such as presenting your findings, delivering a product.