Stories appeal to us, we like dramatic narratives. We can relate to them and generally find them interesting and sometimes entertaining. Since the time of the Greek playwrights of 2500 years ago we have shown an interest in stories – today we have the film and television industry, we have magazines and news publications, we have globally popular fiction writers and even online and social media tools that showcase the human experience universally.
When trying to explain the value and benefit of your products or services case studies are an ideal marketing vehicle. Think of them as business stories. They are usually more interesting and entertaining than a laundry list of features and characteristics and your prospects are much more likely to relate to a case study than a laundry list.
So, what should every good case study have? Well, perhaps most importantly there should be a real life solution to a problem. Remember though, it needs to be digestible so avoid the temptation to write a novel. Be sure to organise information with headings so it can be scanned quickly. Include real business pain – do not write a contrived case study, unless you happen to be very good it will read like a contrived case study.
Be sure to include specific and measurable results as well. Your case study won’t be credible if there is no specific and measurable return or obvious benefit; a vague or ‘fluffy’ case study won’t carry any weight with your prospects and ends up being more damaging than worthwhile. It is human nature to be wary where money is involved; if you are seen to be deliberately evasive prospects will want to know why.
The other thing a good case study should do is present the reader with a relevant business problem or issue, something they can relate to or understand quite easily from their own experience (how to win new business, how to cut costs, how to improve quality, how to retain customers etc). If your case studies are too specialist or niche your audience may fail to connect with them.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’ll fool your prospects or that you can manufacture or fiddle a case study to ‘tick the box’. Your prospects aren’t dumb. If your case study tells a good, credible story of how your business solved a real-life business problem in a specific way and produced measurable results you have achieved your objective. If you fail to be convincing, are too vague or don’t sound genuine – then you’ve caused more harm than good.
If you’d like to learn more about writing effective case studies then please contact us