How to create a compelling case study

How to create a compelling case study

Case studies can be powerful selling tools for B2B and SaaS brands. They give you an opportunity to show what your products or services can really do, how they work, and the long-term impact that happy customers get after the work is done.

Strong, compelling case studies can set you apart from the competition and help potential customers understand what to expect when working with you. As an added bonus, they can also be optimized for SEO and provide you with plenty of original data that you can leverage as an expert in your field.

In order to get all the amazing potential benefits from case studies, however, you need to know how to create a great one. That’s what we’re going to look at in this post: how to write a compelling case study that will actually help you convert prospects.

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5 Things Your Case Study Should Accomplish

In order to create a successful case study, you’ll want it to accomplish the five following tasks:

  • Clearly explain the problem that your client had. What was their concern that they came to you with that they needed to be solved? What core pain points did they have?
  • Introduce the customer. Include the brand name, the client’s name and position, and as much qualifying information as possible. The more a prospect is able to see themselves in a case study, the more likely they are to be convinced you can help them.
  • Explain your solution. What products, services, strategies, or techniques did you use to solve the customer’s problem? Be as specific as possible to explain how you were able to offer real value that they needed to solve their problem in an effective way.
  • Share the results. In as much detail as possible while still being concise, explain what results the client achieved. Whenever you can, include statistics or hard percentages. You can share a quote from a customer’s testimony for added emotional impact, as it adds a human element to the case study that really drives home how much you were able to help.

4 Tips to Creating a Compelling Case Study

When it comes to creating a case study that will drive users to convert and help you to demonstrate credibility and expertise, there are four essential tips you’ll want to keep in mind. Let’s take a look at each, with real case study examples that showcase how to knock it out of the park.

1. Look for a Subject with a Core Pain Point

You have a big list of clients, and you think around 10% may be down to be subjects of a case study. That’s a great start, but how do you pick from there?

Choosing subjects that don’t just have a basic problem but core, common pain points is a great way to go. There’s a good chance that you may have different audience segments that each have unique pain points and struggles— selecting clients for different case studies that embody some of those concerns can be a powerful strategy.

A great example is social media marketing software. Some companies use it because they have a single social media worker, and that person literally can’t be posting around the clock and on weekends —- they need time off. So social media scheduling software can help them have active social accounts even when the team member is away, increasing posting frequency and thus engagement by 35%.

Other clients may use the software because they have large teams and are struggling with collaboration; they don’t want posts to get published without approval, or they need to better keep track of which team members are replying to what customer service interactions. Maybe this means higher customer satisfaction rates and faster response times.

If this was your business, you’d want to choose one of each type of client to create a case study around, stressing the core concern in the initial “problem” section of the case study.

Here’s an example from Agorapulse that executes this strategy well:

Case Study Example

They clearly define the customer’s specific needs, and talk about how the customer was “frustrated by the long hours trying to achieve the above” before deciding “enough was enough.” Focusing on the pain points creates the urgency and gets the head nodding from your prospect.

2. Explain the Solution Clearly

We’re all about keeping it brief when it comes to case studies (see tip four for more on that), but one place where you’ll want to add a little more information than just barebones facts is the solution part of the case study. And you’ll want to do it using the language that your customers speak.

Customers need to understand how you solved the client’s problem, or else there will be that fear of “maybe it was a fluke” or “but can they really help me.” Some details will likely need to be kept confidential or left out for the sake of brevity, but having enough information that users feel confident in your ability to help them is crucial.

If you want to go longer here, you can; for some industries, the details may be important. There’s an example of how to be exceptionally through here from Amazon’s Capital One case study:

Case Study Example

Keep in mind that bullet points, lists, and quick points that link out to other pages and services also suffice here; in most cases, that’ll be the way to go, but we wanted to include the longer-form case study here because there is a time and place for it.

3. Highlight Results Prominently

The results is the shining star of your case study— it’s the big, flashing message that tells users why they need to work with you.

Feature results prominently. Mentioning them in your case study title or having a dedicated, sectioned-off part of the case study with large or bolded text to highlight hard results is a great choice.

We also recommend saying the results in three different ways:

  • Loss aversion— capitalize on the prospect’s fear of losing out, whether it’s on time, revenue, or results
  • Gain— highlight exactly what it is that the user can gain
  • Logical arguments— explaining through clear logic why your solution works and why the results are so impactful

Remember that visuals matter. If you can incorporate graphs or tables, that’s great, but even something simple like this results section from Disruptive Advertising can work wonders.

Case Study Metrics

4. Keep it Brief

Unless you’re going for a near-white paper type of format (see the Amazon case study above), your best bet is to opt for a shorter, easy-to-read, and to-the-point case study.

This is what most prospects are looking for, especially when they’re in the research and consideration stages. They want enough information to educate them about your products, services, or processes, but they don’t want to read a ten-page report.

Case studies of 500-1000 words is the sweet spot, depending on what you’re trying to accomplish and the information you need to convey. Some do it amazingly well in 250 words, and others need closer to 1300.

An essential part of keeping it brief will be the formatting. Remember to break your objectives down into different sections to make it easy to scan and review, and to make the content visually appealing. This example from Fractl demonstrates how to do this well:

Case Study Example

The Free Case Study Template You Need

We know that you’re ready to get started creating a case study of your own. The tips above can help you do so, but there’s nothing better than a free case study template to streamline the process!

Access our free case study template here. Just make a copy of our document, and use to your heart’s content!

Best Case Study Template
Case Study Template

Final Thoughts

Having strategic, well-developed case studies that can appeal to each segment of your target audience is the way to go. This will help you to maximize results and ROI from the case studies, as well as demonstrating your expertise and appealing to a wide range of different prospects.

👉 Want to learn more about how to improve your marketing funnels and reach more customers? Check out our blog here.