How to Write a Case Study: 8 Steps for Writing a Case Study
Are you driving success for your clients and want to show prospects how you can help them grow, too? If so, case studies are a great way to show your clients’ experiences and how future clients can have a similar experience if they partner with your business. So, how do you write a case study, and what are some best practices for success? On this page, we’ll discuss what a case study is, how to write a business case study, and four tips for making yours impactful.
What is a case study?
Case studies contain accounts from your customers that showcase how your products or services solved their problems. These studies are like stories — you have a protagonist (the client), a problem, and a solution. Your case study analysis (or story) can vary in length.
As you create your case study, you should structure it, so your audience can see themselves as the customer. You want them to get in the client’s shoes. You must tell a compelling story that gets your audience invested in your case study.
Think of a case study as an in-depth review of your business. You use a client’s experience to show why your business is the best fit for someone’s needs.
Why should I create a case study?
As you learn more about case studies, you may wonder why they’re so valuable.
Let’s look at three reasons case studies matter to your company:
1. Case studies are effective
The biggest reason to use case studies is they’re effective. When people read case studies, they understand your business better. It effectively works to build your audience’s perception of your company.
When you create case studies, you help people understand your business better. From understanding what you do to how you operate, you provide your audience with valuable insight.
Considering 66% of business-to-business (B2B) marketers find case studies to be effective, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to engage and delight your audience with them.
2. Case studies provide social proof
If someone hasn’t worked with your business or purchased your products, they need validation that you’re the right choice. They turn to information, like reviews and case studies, to see how others felt about working with your company.
With case studies, you provide social proof of the excellent work you do.
You share an authentic experience from someone who worked with your company. People see firsthand what it was like to work with you or to use your products. It makes them feel confident in contacting or choosing your business.
3. Case studies build trust
Case studies build trust with your audience.
When prospective leads see others validating the work you do or endorsing your products, it increases their confidence in your business. Your audience will see others having a positive experience and trust that you’ll provide them with the same experience.
When you build trust with your audience, they’re more likely to choose your company.
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How to write a case study
Are you ready to start creating your case study?
Check out these eight steps on how to write a business case study!
1. Determine your case study’s purpose
Before you dive into the nitty-gritty of creating a case study, determine your case study’s purpose. Don’t create a study without one. If there’s no direction with your case study, you’ll leave your audience feeling confused as to why you composed this case study in the first place.
Be realistic about the purpose of your case study. Your case study isn’t going to perform as well as an informative blog post on an industry topic. It’s a piece of content that appeals to people close to converting.
Your case study may not garner as much engagement, but that’s okay!
If you have a real purpose for your case study, you won’t feel disappointed with the results. You can set simple objectives, like generating leads, to help you create real results with your case study.
2. Choose the right clients to use in your case study analysis
If you want to know how to write a case study successfully, start by choosing the right clients to showcase in your case study. You must find the right candidate to appeal to your audience. Focus on finding a client enthusiastic about your products or services.
You want the client to show how much they love your products or services. Without some enthusiasm or passion from your customer, you won’t know how to write a business case study that engages your audience and gets them to keep reading.
When choosing a client for your case study analysis, make sure they meet the following requirements:
- Enthusiastic about your products or service
- Understands your products or operation of your services well enough to discuss them
- Gives permission to share data, like revenue increases, with readers
- Got results that significantly and positively impacted their company
Additionally, focus on well-known clients, if possible. While this isn’t a requirement, it’s helpful if you’re trying to build engagement and increase trust. If someone sees a brand they know, they’re more likely to read the case study.
Important note: Before creating a case study analysis, always get permission from your client first! You’re going to share their results and their story, so you must ensure your client is comfortable with you disclosing that information.
3. Choose the right medium to present your case study
When you create your case study, you must choose the right medium for showcasing your information. The way you share the information can influence how your audience engages with your content.
There are three case study formats:
- Written: These case studies are the most widely used option when presenting a client’s story. They typically come in the format of an eBook, where users can download the information into a PDF to read more.
- Video: As video continues to grow in popularity, video case studies are becoming increasingly popular. You can shoot an interview with a client to capture their experience with your business.
- Infographic: This case study format is great if you’re looking to present a lot of data. Infographics help readers digest information easier, so they can take away the most important points from your case study.
Before writing your case study, choose a format that works best for you and your client. For each case study, you can use a different format. It’s up to you to decide how you want to present the information from your clients to your audience!
4. Ask the right questions
As you’re gearing up to interview your client, make sure you’re asking the right questions.
You want to use questions that allow you to construct a quality narrative.
Don’t ask yes or no questions. Yes or no questions don’t require explanation or expansion, which will leave you struggling for information. Stick to open-ended questions that encourage your clients to talk more.
Here are some example questions you can ask when interviewing for a case study analysis:
- What challenges did you face before finding our products/services?
- What were your goals for your company, and how did we help you achieve those goals?
- What made our company stand out from the competition?
- How has your business benefitted from using our products/services?
These questions provide information that you can use in the case study. It will also help you get direct quotes from your clients.
By asking the right questions, you’ll create a more informative and engaging case study.
5. Let your clients tell the story
To know how to create a case study that engages your audience, you must know how to present your client’s story. The biggest mistake companies make is morphing the client’s story to be about their company, rather than the client’s experience.
Future leads don’t want to hear a sales pitch about how great your company is and how you’ll work great for them. They want to see someone else’s experience and understand how they perceive your business, products, or services.
Your audience wants to see authentic experiences that reflect your company and the work you do. If you want to know how to write a business case study that works, start by letting your clients tell their story.
Give your clients a voice when you compose your case study. You want the information to come directly from them. Include direct quotes and integrate them into your text to increase validation and credibility for your business.
When you use direct quotes, don’t repeat the same information in the text after it.
It’s best to let the quote speak for itself.
For example, let’s say a client says: “Company A’s software helped my team increase their efficiency, which allowed us to spend more time getting to know our customers and what they needed from us.”
Right after inserting that quote, you wouldn’t want to say: “As you can see, Company A was able to increase their efficiency through using our software, which helped them spend more time with their clients.”
That would be a repeat of what the client said. Instead, let the quotes speak for themselves. They’ll have a larger impact if you leave them as they are without overexplaining what the quotes mean.
By letting your clients tell the story, you’ll see more success with your case studies.
6. Make sure your case study works for everyone
If you want to know how to write a case study successfully, start by creating a case study that works for everyone.
You’re going to have prospects interested in your business for different reasons. You must compose your case study in a way that, even if it isn’t relevant to their situation, they can get something out of it.
Create compelling angles for your case studies, but don’t exclude parts of your audience in the process.
Essentially, make your case studies universal to people who read them. Even if they wouldn’t use your company for the same reasons, they can see how your company would help them with their specific problems.
Let’s say you offer software that allows companies to organize and prioritize team tasks.
You create a case study analysis that looks at how a wedding planning company used your tool to help clients stay organized on their wedding day and prevent fewer things from going wrong on the wedding day.
While using the organization tool for wedding planning doesn’t apply to everyone who visits your site, they can still see the value in it. They understand that your software helps people miss fewer tasks and manage big projects, which benefits their company.
If you want to know how to write a business case study, make it easy for everyone to see the value of hiring your company or purchasing your products or services.
7. Show your audience rather than tell
As you’re composing your case study, make sure you’re showing your audience success rather than telling them. A lot of companies make the mistake of droning on about them making clients successful.
Your audience doesn’t want to hear it — they want to see it.
If you want to know how to write a case study that makes an impact on your audience, use data and facts. Show your audience how much money your clients saved or how many new customers they earned.
When you show your audience the results, it will resonate with them more and help them see the potential of working with your company.
8. Promote your case study
The last step in how to write a case study is simple — promote your case study. People won’t always find your case study on their own, so you must share and promote it on relevant platforms.
With any case study you create, you can link to it within the content on your site.
Whether it’s a pricing page or blog post, if it’s relevant, you can link to it and drive people to your case study.
Additionally, you can share your case studies through social media. Whether it’s a video or a link to your case study, you can help your social media followers see what it’s like to work with your company.
If you want to see success with your case study, you must publish it where your audience will find it. It will help you garner more engagement and get more people interested in working with your business.
Start publishing compelling case studies today
If you don’t have the time to create compelling case studies, WebFX is here to help. We have a team of over 500 experts that will help you compose case studies that engage your audience and get them interested in your business. From video marketing to copywriting to infographic design services, we have everything you need to compose your perfect case study.