A mistake marketers and salespeople often make when they talk about their product or services is they talk about their product or services. Marketers and salespeople love to describe the features of their products and often fail to describe the problems those products resolve. The more complex the product, the more marketers and salespeople have to talk about. The problem is that the prospective customers they are talking to often have no idea what they are talking about or why those things should matter to them. Case studies are tools that should be part of every business’ marketing playbook. Case studies help businesses connect with prospective customers through the stories of others who are like them.
A well-written case study is not a product brochure. A well-written case study tells a story about one of your customers and how your product or service has improved their business or made a positive impact on their lives. These types of stories give life to your products. They give credibility to your company.
Case studies provide benefits to you as well. Writing customer success stories bring you closer to your existing customers and the use cases for your products or services. They also give you an opportunity to collect information about your target market and the benefits your company provides to that market. This will, in turn, give you insight into what is actually important to your customers which has much greater value than what you suspect is important to your customers.
Case studies are an inexpensive form of marketing and are easy to create. Follow these steps to write a strong case study:
Define the problem.
What problem did your customer have before making a purchase from you? Describe the problem in detail. Explain the impact the problem was having on the individual or their business. What goals could they not achieve or what pain were they feeling as a result of the problem?
Describe the solution.
This is the time to talk about your product or service, but again, this should not be a punch list of features and functions. Use this opportunity to describe how your product addressed the problem the client was having. Include a quote from your customer about their selection process. Whenever possible, seize the opportunity to differentiate your product or service from other products or services the client could have chosen to address their challenge. If the customer sought a solution prior to finding resolution with your product or service, describe the shortcomings of the prior selection and explain how your product filled the gap.
Report the results.
To conclude your case study, describe the results your customer has experienced since implementing your product or service. When possible, aim to report measurable results. Support your statements with facts. Your goal is to demonstrate that the benefits realized by your customer exceed the financial investment or risk associated with doing nothing.
Case studies are not complicated and do not require a significant amount of time. You can use them in a variety of ways. Case studies make great blog posts for your website. The quotes gathered by your clients can be used as testimonials on your social media sites. Case studies can be formatted into powerful infographics or can be used as supporting documents to any product brochures that are put to use further down your sales cycle. Don’t be shy about asking your customers to participate in a case study with you. If you’ve done good by them, many customers are happy to share their story.