Ah, the case study. A short, sweet and to-the-point story with a happily ever after ending that is sure to have clients clamoring for your solution.
As great as these tools are, there are of course a wide range of styles, approaches and – ahem – quality when it comes to the B2B marketing case study. This week the Savvy Sisters decided to get together and share our tips for what makes a case study great.
Make it automatic
Sometimes big wins go by so fast you don’t get a chance to get it in writing before the next opportunity comes along. Creating a set process for capturing the details of the solution and getting it down in writing is the first step in creating an arsenal of laser-focused case studies your sales team can share with prospects.
Make the design work for you
A typical case study these days is one or two pages – not a lot of space to get your idea across. Make the design work for you – I always include a summary section along with the body text. That way the skimmers can get the highlights while those who like more information can read the details.
Tell a story
A good case study helps the reader identify with the situation by drawing her into the story behind the facts. Use storytelling techniques to engage and connect:
Four ingredients combine to make a great case study:
1) It's focused on the audience. To echo Jamie, you need to tell a story the reader can relate to. You do that in two ways:
2) It moves prospects further along in the buying cycle. Because today's empowered prospects don't need to interact with your sales reps for content, your case studies need to lead them to the next logical step in the process. One example of how case studies can do this is by addressing sales objections early in the buying process. If enough of your prospects share a common concern, present a story that highlights one customer's concern with this issue and why your offering ultimately won them over.
3) It tells a unique story. Do you find that your case studies sound largely alike? If so, I'm guessing you use a standard interview questionnaire with every customer. To be sure each story stands on its own, conduct research into the customer's situation, needs, and results. Then develop a custom set of questions that helps you hone in on unique angles.
4) It's easy to read. As Kate said, strong design can make a case study much easier to digest. To that end:
Join the conversation!
What do you think makes a case study great?
Seen any extreme examples – good, bad or ugly?