Case studies, sometimes called Client or Success Stories, are a tried and tested marketing tool that tells the story of how a company solved a client’s particular pain point. They have traditionally been in written format, but with the rise of popularity in video there’s been a notable increase in video case studies.
What purpose do case studies serve in marketing?
Professional services such as accountancy or tax advice can be considered quite a complex concept by some, with end consumers not necessarily aware of how accountants can help them in specific, tangible ways. Case studies are a great way to explain in layman’s terms how the company can add value to their customers.
By picking a (real!) scenario that will resonate with the target audience, the reader will be able to identify with the individual or organisation mentioned in the case study. They will get a clearer idea of how a challenge was overcome, and ideally, how the company could potentially help them achieve similar results!
Case studies are ideal for being re-purposed for different channels and objectives, and can be used in many ways:
- On your website, in a dedicated case study/client stories section
- On your homepage, alerting visitors to a new or particularly relevant case study
- On dedicated landing pages: if you are running a campaign on a particular service, include a link to the case study
- In email marketing
- As a PDF to send to prospects
- As a blog post, focusing on a particular obstacle/challenge
- As teasers/snippets on social media
- As infographics
What should be included in a compelling case study?
Compelling case studies tend to follow the Challenge – Solution – Benefits formula.
- Description of the client’s unique situation and challenges
Using the client’s real name and company information adds credibility, but if this is not possible, consider using the job title of the most senior person involved, and the industry they operate in
- Detailing the process used to help the client overcome the problem
This should be written in plain English and include information on the different stages involved in solving the problem, as well as any potential barriers met along the way
- What the outcome was
Ideally, this should state how exactly the client benefitted from working with you, presented in factual evidence such as savings made as a result, time freed up.
- A written quote from the client
This is in some ways the most important part of a good case study as it can be more emotive, rather than factual. Factors such as personal customer service by going above and beyond and/or personality can be addressed in this section.
- Images/videoscaseVisuals can help support the case study. If the individuals involved are not happy to be photographed/videoed, there are a range of stock images available, or you could use an actor to speak on behalf of the client.
There is no definitive rule for how long a case study should be with examples ranging from 1 – 15 pages. The more complex the industry, client and indeed solution is the longer it is likely to be.
Having said that, we’d like to leave you with Baltasar Gracian’s quote
“Good things, when short, are twice as good”
If you’re struggling to find customers to participate in a case study, you might find these tips by the Content Marketing Institute interesting.