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5 Quick Tips for Case Studies that Captivate

by | Nov 8, 2021 | B2B Copywriting, Collateral, Lead Generation, Case Studies | 0 comments

5 Quick Tips for Case Studies that Captivate

Are you taking full advantage of the power of case studies?

Case studies are among the most read and most shared of all marketing content. Surveys of technology buyers by Eccolo Media, for example, ranked case studies third in consumption behind brochures and white papers, and second only to white papers in terms of influence in purchasing decisions and frequency of forwarding to colleagues.

It’s only natural. Business decision-makers want to know how others like them have overcome problems and achieved success. And who doesn’t love a good story?

But if you want your prospects to keep reading, you have to tell a really good story. Here are five tips for case studies that will hold your prospects’ attention.

1. Highlight the stakes involved

Case studies usually open with a section that describes the customer, and the challenge or problem they faced. Often overlooked when describing the problem, however, are the stakes involved: the risk if the problem is not solved, or the gains that could be made if it is. It’s these stakes that give the reader a reason to care about your solution and read on.

“It’s not enough to say that Widgets Inc. had an inefficient project management system,” says Jonathan Kranz in an article for MarketingProfs.com. “You need to articulate the meaning of the challenge to the customer, whether its a negative consequence or a positive outcome that might be gained.” These stakes underscore the value of your offering and lend drama to your story.

2. Describe the journey

Once you’ve described the customer’s challenge, don’t be tempted to jump directly to your solution. Instead, describe the customer’s journey: the steps the customer took to solve the problem. What other solutions were considered? Why were they rejected? What factors set the stage for the choice of your product or service?

“Many case study writers skip this section,” says B2B copywriter Steve Slaunwhite, author of The Everything Guide to Writing Copy. “Don’t you skip it. This is the place in the story where the reader begins to identify and empathize.” It’s also the section that differentiates your offering from the competition.

3. Focus on education, rather than promotion

Once you’ve described your customer’s problem and journey, it’s finally time to introduce your solution. But stick to the plot. Don’t let your customer’s success story turn into a sales pitch the reader didn’t ask for. This is one of the most important tips for case studies that captivate.

By all means, showcase your product or service. But do so in the context of the story. Highlight the facts and features that are relevant to the customer’s outcome, and describe how they delivered the benefits gained.

4. Be honest about the implementation

Describe exactly what the customer went through to implement your solution. Provide details on any downtime or disruption involved – how long it took to get your solution up and running 100%. Readers want to know what they might come up against, and how it can be overcome.

“Note any problems that arose and how they were resolved,” says Slaunwhite. “Screwups can, in fact, make the case study more plausible and, therefore, more persuasive.” They also set you up to describe how your company went that “extra mile” to satisfy the customer.

5. Quantify the results

It’s important to show just how well your solution solved your customer’s problem. If at all possible, highlight the business impact of your solution with customer metrics: productivity, cost reduction, time savings, ROI, etc. Hard numbers speak more persuasively than vague statements like, “We cut our testing time significantly.”

You may need to work with your customers during the implementation phase, in order to collect such metrics. “In the midst of their busy workdays, customers can have a tough time putting a finger on measurable results. They often need guidance in this process,” says case study specialist Casey Hibbard in her book, Stories that Sell. “Determining quantifiable results largely hinges on knowing the situation before. So a successful tactic is helping them recall the details of the previous situation, and then encouraging them to compare previous to current.”

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Need more than tips for case studies? Need an expert to write your next case study for you? Email me at info@CopyEngineer.com for an appointment to discuss your project and receive a free quote, at no obligation.

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