For marketing professionals, there has never been a more pressing time to create content designed to reach your firm’s prospects and tell them what differentiates your company from hundreds like you. In many ways, the need to write and publish hasn’t changed but the competition has increased with the emergence of new online channels and social media. Creating content to support your brand is critical. Marketers who develop content designed to reach prospects and nurture them to become warm leads should know how to write a solid case study.
There is no one correct way, but there are certain essential elements that need to be present in a well-written case study. While this template is geared toward B-to-B companies in specialized products and services sectors, it can certainly be adapted to fit nearly any business model. In this brief blog post, we explore why case studies are important, the key elements, a brief explanation of what ingredients should be part of each of those elements, a template, and an example.
Why write a Case Study?
Even though it may seem obvious to you what your company does, your prospects may be looking at your services with much less experience, perspective and knowledge than you realize. Oftentimes, services that you deliver, while routine for you and your competitors, might only be considered and purchased once every few years by your prospects. By providing multiple customer examples of what you have done, how you’ve executed and why, you connect with your prospects at an elemental level.
Key Elements of a Solid, Concise Case Study
In these first few sentences is where context is provided for the subject of the case study. Without context the next three sections won’t be nearly as valuable. Frame the size and type of company you are about to describe so the reader can relate to their problems and issues. Make sure you include the key background information also for proper detail.
- Who are their target customers?
- What industry are they in?
- Why do prospects come to them?
- Other relevant and compelling information
Begin with a sub-headline that captures the essence of ‘The Problem’ faced by your customer in a few words. This will frame the paragraph and introduce what they are about to digest. Describe the problem with enough detail so a reader can empathize, but don’t overwhelm them. Keep it big picture and get at the heart of the problem. If possible, get a relevant quote from a key stakeholder in the client company to lend credibility and personalize the challenge.
Now describe the consequences if they do not address the problem.
- What is at stake?
- What are the consequences if no action is taken?
As with sound goal setting, the stakes should be specific and measurable. That frames the problem in such a way so the solution to the problem is quantifiable. It also allows for the any investment or cost incurred to solve the problem is justifiable.
Begin with a sub-header that captures the essence of your solution. Here you want to briefly state how your firm responded to the problem your client faced. This might involve what steps you took to come up with a solution, such as:
- met with senior management and key stakeholders to discuss possible options
- reviewed all documentation and reports to address outliers or anomalies in the data
If your company offers customized or tailored approaches to client’s problems, then you will definitely want to address how your team approaches the ‘Solution’ phase. The reader will want to understand the time commitment and resource deployment necessary in order to receive your expertise. Finally, briefly describe the implementation of the prescribed solution.
The Result or Benefit
Also include a brief sub-header that captures the essence of the result in a few words. Then, describe the outcome as specifically and measurably as possible. Include how the solution helped them overcome the problem and what direct, and unexpected or ancillary, benefits have resulted from implementation.
This is also an excellent spot to include another direct quote from a stakeholder to personalize the benefits. Including comments about the unexpected benefits speaks directly to why a prospect should choose you over competition or might push them to take action versus continuing on the same path. It could alert them to something they had not thought of in the decision process.
Wrap everything up and include a call to action that is relevant. That might be a relevant link to the next thing you want them to read, a more detailed piece of content that delves further into your services or just the contact information for the best person in your organization for them to reach out to with questions.
If you have never written a case study, this should be a perfect outline to get you started. As with nearly everything, the more you do it the better you get at it. Working this process also helps refine your ability to convey your company’s benefits and value proposition when you are in front of a prospect or get the chance to talk about your company.
So don’t be timid and make your case.
Want an effective way to communicate why your firm is the best choice to solve your prospect’s problem? A relevant Case Study is a great place to start. Download this simple template and get started immediately:
- Write directly in the template as it is an editable Word document
- Comes complete with an actual example from a real client company
- Includes multiple prompts and questions to insure you don't leave out anything