Case studies – “Case Studies” in English – have been used for problem-solving in research, social sciences, and personality assessments for almost 150 years. However, in the age of online business marketing, they take on a whole new meaning. Because you can use case studies to increase your credibility, to prove the value and benefit of your products or services, and to bind customers to your business. Case studies can actually be seen as a special form of storytelling and thus enrich your content strategies with a valuable tool. But more than virtually any other business marketing tool, case studies require a particularly careful approach and knowledge to use them correctly.
A case study represents the description of a typical individual case taken from reality, so that general knowledge can be derived from the examination of this representative example.
Case studies in business marketing are primarily used to tell success stories and to prove the credibility of a product, a company, or even individuals. In times of online marketing with its countless temptations, offers, and channels, classic advertising methods are becoming less important. Customers no longer allow themselves to be lulled by flowery promises, but start looking for tangible facts that speak in favor of a commitment or a purchase decision. The users on the Internet embark on individual customer trips, which lead them to the goal of their wishes at their own pace and only on the basis of self-determined decisions.
Comprehensible case studies are a great tool to convince potential customers that your offer is exactly the right one to solve their problems. Single case studies or multiple case studies are carried out by the majority of all successful online companies these days. Used correctly, they can sustainably increase customer trust, the reach of the content, and ultimately also the conversions and sales of a company. Show your customers that you know how to solve their problems.
How to write a business case study that converts?
A case study should show your business’ success in dealing with its customers and solving problems in their favor. But writing a case study is about more than just celebrating your successes. In fact, the case study is not intended to caress the entrepreneur’s ego, but rather to let your customers understand how you can help them with your services. Yes, business case studies involve a lot of work. But the effort is worth it.
Not everyone is born with a researcher’s genes, so we’re breaking our case study writing guide into three essential steps and two more optional steps to get you started.
1. In advance: which business case is best suited?
Before you start creating your case study, you need a topic that is worthwhile. When looking for a specific topic, it should first be checked which of your business cases are best suited to be processed in a study. The outline of your case study should include the following elements:
- A real problem: This should be a significant challenge. It could be about making better use of scarce time, increasing low sales figures, or even converting an entire company to new office software. The problem must of course be one that you can solve or have already solved.
- An optimal solution: Anyone who reads your case study later should identify with the problem as well as its solution and be able to understand it.
- Various benefits: The more benefits and insights your study offers readers, the better. Ideally, these can be substantiated by statistics. For example, it would be ideal to be able to show the percentage by which you were able to increase the profits of your reference customer or which markets were newly opened.
2. The actual writing of the case study
When you have clarified which “case” should be the subject of your study, writing begins. At the beginning, you have to clarify in which form you want to write – in the first person, i.e. directly from the customer’s point of view, or in the more neutral third person. In essence, the form should be maintained throughout the report. However, it is possible and often useful to include customer quotes written in the first person in a case study in the third person. Mark quotations clearly with quotation marks and, if necessary, italics.
Give your case study an interesting and insightful title that will grab readers’ attention. Success numbers and percentages are well suited to make it clear immediately that this is a success story. Here is a schematic example:
“How company X increased their sales by 80% in just 6 months”
Do not write important key figures as a word, but as a number. So actually rather “100% more sales” than “sales doubled”. In the context of case studies, this use of numbers is simply more effective.
Write in plain language that is easy to understand. Complicated technical terms should appear as little as possible. After all, you are not addressing industry insiders, but potential new customers. The easier it is to understand your explanations, the easier it is for readers who have hitherto been inexperienced to empathize with the subject and empathize with the case described.
We mentioned earlier that case studies are a form of storytelling. So write as chronologically as possible from the beginning to the end of the study. This enables readers to better understand when and why problems arose and how they were overcome. Crises and phases of weakness are part of every project and should not be left out. Rather, see it as an opportunity to show how important your help was to the reference customer.
3. End the case study with all relevant information
Such a case study should be available to a broad mass of consumers after its publication. It is therefore important to include all of your contact details and other relevant company information at the end of the report. This makes it easy for other companies, clients, and other interested parties to contact you about the case study and make it available to other readers. In addition to standard data such as telephone, e-mail and your Internet address, references to your social media profiles also fit here.
4. Let experienced case study writer round off the business case studies
Even if you have carefully prepared your case study, your eye may miss details, mistakes, or unfortunate formulations. Clean wording and correct spelling are definitely required for a serious business case study. If you struggle with writing business case studies and need expert help, you can easily find a case study writer with advanced skills.
5. Let professional layouts design the study
A great case study also includes a professional layout. Unless you are a professional layout yourself, you should consider hiring someone to design your study. In addition to the pure text layout, other elements such as images, infographics, or tables must also be taken into account. All of these elements should be neatly packaged consistently, ideally with a nice cover photo or envelope that matches the topic. The layout is just as important for case studies that appear in print as it is for PDF or ebook files that are read on a computer or on tablets and e-book readers. No matter how brilliantly written your case study is, it suffers when the design does not match the quality.
6. Publish the case study
Congratulations, you’ve created a case study! Now it just has to be published. To do this, you should choose the channels and media that are used the most by your target audience. In addition to publishing in print, your own blog would be a good place to do this. Ideally, you also use social networks and email marketing to increase your reach and draw the attention of many readers to your case study. It also makes sense to set up your own landing page for the study.
It can also be useful to rework your case study for other media. How about, for example, an extensive info video or a series of clips on YouTube? Processing the essence of the study in a single, comprehensive infographic can also make it more interesting for visually-minded consumers. By the way, many users like to share infographics and could increase the chance that your case study will go viral.
Definitely, the case study should be published relatively quickly to be as up-to-date as possible. Your reference customer, who has also invested time and effort in this, will be interested in seeing the result in a timely manner. In many cases, your customers will also benefit from the advertising effect of the case study. However, first, make sure that the customer agrees with all representations and formulations of your case study.
Successful case studies are particularly well-received in the media world. Mass media or influencers may also be interested in your results. If you have only successfully used one or more case studies, the interest of other customers in working on future studies should also increase.