Did you know that more than 8 out of 10 people say that opinions and recommendations from people they don’t know indicate brand quality and influence what they buy? With an overwhelming majority basing their buying decisions on the unbiased reviews of others, case studies are invaluable to businesses and can be an extremely effective marketing tool when executed correctly.A case study is essentially an in-depth review of a customer’s experience with a product or service, but unlike with commentary posted on online review sites and other types of unsolicited feedback, case studies allow marketers to control how the information is presented. With the potential client’s business on the line, making sure your case studies are as compelling as possible is the first step towards converting leads into paying customers.
Here are five tips for creating an effective case study:
1. Tell a story.
The stars of your case studies (aka your ideal customers!) should be introduced similarly to characters in a story – with a little background information. Sharing basic human characteristics like needs, wants, weaknesses and strengths will give potential clients something they can relate to. Plus, showcasing different success stories and varying client types across industries will allow you to highlight the different types of customers that use your product, making it more appealing to a wider audience.
2. Solve a problem.
Understanding why current customers use your product or service as well as why potential customers are interested will give you a great base point for creating a compelling case. Providing real life applications and giving first-hand examples for how your product can help solve a problem or alleviate a hardship will put your business in a stronger position for being chosen over your competitors.
3. Give the details.
Details are the number one seller for any case study. New clients don’t want to just know that “it worked” they want to know the who, what, when, where, why and how before investing time and money themselves. Asking your case study customers these questions will lead to interesting facts and genuine stories that will undoubtedly appeal to prospective clients.
4. Numbers matter.
Quantified data is a sure-fire way to add credibility to any case study. When referring to a product success story, rather than using generalities like, “InboundWriter helped increase our page views,” a quantified statement like, “After two weeks of using the InboundWriter plugin, our Alexa ranking improved by approximately 30%,” is much stronger and will stand out to consumers.
5. Be transparent.
In a world where consumers are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages per day, there’s no bigger turn off than overly scripted and misleading messaging – infomercials, anyone? Authenticity is key to catching a consumer’s attention, so showcasing real results from real customers will generate the real lead responses you’re after.
6. Optimize your case study content.
It would be a crime if our team here at InboundWriter didn’t offer a content optimization tip to maximize your case study’s potential. Without readership, even the most compelling content won’t reel in the result you’re seeking, so make sure you run your content through the InboundWriter application before you post it online.
Crafting a case study will take time, but it will become an invaluable tool for your businesses sales team looking to reel in lingering leads. Plus, as an added bonus, this same customer feedback can be broken down and disseminated across web properties and social networks in the form of videos, blog posts, images and SlideShares – creating endless possibilities for sharing unique user perspectives with potential clients.
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