It’s 2020, and content is still very much king. Because of this reality, brands continue to look for new and innovative ways to showcase their credibility in their space through many different mediums — and one of the most effective is the case study.
While case studies are predominantly used for B2B organizations, organizations and customers alike can benefit from the reassurance a good case study offers, prior to deciding to do business with the provider. In fact, it can be an extremely useful tool in highlighting achievements, showcasing successes, and winning new business.
What is a Case Study?
A “Case study” used in marketing is a document that details the specific challenge, problem, solution and journey of a customer or client’s experience with a business. The purpose of a case study is to provide prospects with an in-depth look at the success factors of a person or business. This report-like content can be hosted on a website, in a PDF, or within larger pieces of content.
The format can be generally pretty flexible, as long as the case study chronicles the customer or client’s complete journey including initial needs and how well the business in play was able to meet or exceed them using specific, data-driven results. If you want to see some great examples, HubSpot has an expansive library of case studies that are good to use as a benchmark, like this one about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
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Who Uses Case Studies?
Just about anyone who actively prospects for a new business can create a case study as a valuable tool to help convert prospects in partners. You’ll mostly find that they’re used among B2Bs, since B2Cs tend to use more informal methods like reviews and testimonials, but as we mentioned earlier, a case study can benefit many businesses.
Common businesses who use case studies include:
- SaaS Platforms
- Agencies or Consultants
- B2B retailers or wholesalers
Knowing the benefits of using a case study and how to use it to bring in new business is key in knowing how to build one.
Step 1) Prepare Your Case Study Questions
In order to build your case study, you’ll need to know what information you want from your customers or clients that will be valuable in “selling” you to future prospects. The questions will cover various stages of their experience with your company, from initial research, to initial communication, and beyond. Here are a few best-practices when creating questions to ask:
- Be sure to ask specific questions in regards to how they discovered, you, what they were initially looking for, why they went with your agency, how long it took to get set up, and key success metrics they experienced after partnering.
- Remember that the more questions you have and the more information you ask from customers/clients, the more of their time you’re asking for. Be sure to offer an incentive.
Step 2) Gather Insight From Customers
Gathering insight from your customers or clients can be as simple as sending an email or picking up the phone and calling one that is particularly satisfied with your product or services. You can send an email blast to your clients asking if they’re willing to answer a few questions in exchange for a gift (for their time).
In fact, you can send this communication right from your ManyChat dashboard. One of the Flow builder templates is set up to gather feedback from your customers. You can add an automated message at the end that asks if they’d be willing to have a phone call with you so you can gather information about their experience for your case study. This is a quick and easy way to get feedback from customers while they’re telling you how satisfied they were with your agency.
Finding that one client or customer is that you have an excellent relationship with is really the pivotal factor, once you find them, the case study is simply an opportunity for them to share their story.
Step 3) Create Your Case Study
Sections of a Case Study
Once you have the information from your client, you can begin to write your case study by organizing the data into various sections. The most commonly used sections are:
- The customer challenge
- A section dedicated to the customer’s search for a solution
- How they found you and why they chose you
- How well you provided that solution
- Proven results
Throughout the case study, be sure to use specific quotes from the client.
Step 4) Using Your Case Study
There’s no limit to what you can do with your case study in terms of marketing. Commonly a case study is used in all of the key areas of sales and marketing — you can email it out to your customers and potential customers, you can print it and use it as a leave-behind, extract the specific results and success data points to post on social media, and more.
Case studies are extremely helpful in sales prospecting. They can be used as a nudge for prospects to convert them into clients. Arm your sales team with your case study to use when nurturing prospects.
On Your Site
You’ll definitely want to house your case studies on your site. In most cases, site traffic is comprised of people in the research phase of the customer journey, and there will be no more useful information for them than a real-life look at the success story of a company just like theirs.
This is easily the largest area where case studies are used– marketing campaigns. Case studies are commonly sprinkled in email and chat marketing, as just like your site, those are key touchpoints in the research phase of the customer journey.
One way you can use your case study is within a Welcome Message automation in your ManyChat dashboard. Simply asking “Would you like to see a case study?,” or prompting your customers to “find out how [X accomplished Y]” can be enough to get your page traffic to opt-in, especially if the title of your case study speaks directly to what you think their needs are.
When it comes to case studies, the sky is the limit. The most important thing is that it has content that will sway your audience into taking action, and that you’re using it across many different channels.