January 31, 2019 | Sean Foo
Having a case study is perhaps one of the most powerful sales tools you can have in your arsenal.
Whether you decide to equip your sales team with it or feature your case study online, a well-crafted case study can be the deciding factor whether a prospect becomes a client or just walks away.
More businesses today, especially those online, develop compelling case studies for a specific end result: closing more sales.
The importance of case studies cannot be overstated.
A compelling case study helps you to:
– Showcase your expertise and knowledge as a market leader
– Gain confidence from your prospect as you show them your process
– Win your prospect’s trust by relating to them
Make no mistake, while it takes effort and time, a well planned out case study pays back huge dividends both online and offline.
To help you get fully equipped with information that earns your prospect’s trust and business, we have constructed a step-by-step guide on how to create a powerful case study that brings you a return: sales.
How To Create A Case Study For Your Business That Brings In Sales – The Complete Guide
Creating a powerful case study essentially comprises the following 4 steps.
A) Choosing The Right Case Study Candidate
Sure, you might have more than a hundred clients and you are positive each of them are unique, but are they suitable?
This section will help you pinpoint the ideal client for your case study. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself when choosing that candidate
Is That Client Relevant To The Businesses I Am Trying To Convince?
Whether you are selling a software or your business is a design agency, there is a good chance your clients can be diverse and numerous as the stars in the sky.
A web design agency can be working with a pizza chain today and an investment firm the following day.
If you plan to target a certain sector, for example, the Food & Beverage sector, it is 10x more impactful to showcase a case study about how you helped a similar customer than it is to choose a totally unrelated industry to base your case study on.
Did I Produce Incredible Results For That Client?
Case studies that feature clients having great results from your product make the strongest case studies out there.
If your client benefited from your service and seen a phenomenal ROI, they are more likely to be fans of your business and makes it that much easier to get a quality testimonial from them too!
Choose from your portfolio clients who have experienced not only a sudden success but one that is lasting as well.
Clients that you have worked with for a long time is a good show of success and confidence in your business.
Should I Use A Big Brand Name Or A Small Business Customer?
There is no right or wrong answer here. It purely depends on the type of business you run, your end goal and the target of your case study.
If your business mainly serves small businesses, using a case study of a big multinational client that you managed to land is likely to work against you then bring benefits.
Conversely, if you are looking to showcase your credibility to other big corporations, creating a case study of your big multinational client is a good idea.
In fact, having brand recognition can lead to beyond 24x as much growth as companies that don’t have it.
Do I Have Any Clients That Switched To My Service?
One of the best show of credibility is if you have clients that switched to your service or product after using your competitor.
Selecting a ‘switcher’ client is a good way to break down barriers and address a key question floating in the mind of every prospect: ‘Why is this company better than the 10 previous ones I came across?’
B) Reaching Out To Your Candidate
Now before we continue with the right questions you should be asking your happy, successful clients, we need to understand one very big important thing:
People are busy and will drag and delay the process of your case study.
Not because they want to, but its because it doesn’t directly bring value to them. So the key here is to lead them down a path of least resistance.
Other than patience, you need to make it as easy as possible to say ‘Yes’ to your case study request.
You need to be one doing the heavy lifting, not your client.
With this in mind. here is an effective email you can send to them:
The Outreach Email:
This is [You] from [Your Company Name Here]. I hope all is going great with our [Service/Product]!
We are currently featuring a few of our best clients on a case study for our marketing efforts and your business came into our minds!
We will be using the case study as sales materials during our pitches and will be featuring it on our website as well.
Would you be open to helping us craft the case study? We will do all the heavy lifting and would only need your help to answer a few questions and perhaps a quick call.
In return, we will be pleased to provide you with an X% discount* for the next month of our service!
Looking forward to hearing from you!
*If you have any potential discounts or freebies, this is the time to use it!
This will essentially help spur your client to agree to the case study (especially if it is a long case study you have in mind) and speed up the process.
Sacrifice hundreds of dollars for a powerful case study that can bring you tens of thousands of dollars over time?
Keeping the email short and to the point helps improve the chance of them even reading through your request. People today are blessed/cursed with a short attention span, so we will have to adapt to that.
One important aspect of your outreach email is please be upfront about how you will be using the case study.
Transparency builds trust and trust will lead your clients to agree to your request.
C) Asking The Right Questions
Once your client has agreed to your request, the next step is to get onto a call or get them to fill up your questionnaire, it doesn’t matter which, what matters is the questions you are going to be asking them.
Let’s set you up for case study success by helping to structure and plan the flow of your questionnaire.
The more concise and on-point your questions are, the better the quality of questions you will receive.
Notice that the kind of questions we will be asking will focus on getting your candidate to elaborate more and not a simple yes/no answer.
The Need For A Solution
– What challenges in your business make you seek out a solution?
– What kind of impact might have happened in your business if you did not solve these challenges?
– Did you explore any other alternatives prior to our solution? Why didn’t those work out?
The Decision Process
– What was your main deciding factor when you chose our solution?
– What are your overall top 3 criteria when selecting the solution and why?
Using The Product / Service Experience
– How was the process of using or installing the product?
– Which part of the service/product helps you out the most and why?
– How have our product helped you increase X,Y, Z metric? (sales/ time saved / leads etc)
– How does our product/service help your business stay ahead of the competition?
D) Structuring Your Case Study
Now that you have collected all the information required, the final part is to structure your case study in a manner that not only is convincing and lays down a good argument but is also easy to understand with a good flow.
The following structure is one that I have personally used for the majority of case studies that I build for my clients.
It is optimized for one goal and only one goal: To Close More Sales.
1. Showcase The Big Result: Capture your reader’s attention by highlighting the biggest benefit your client has enjoyed.
2. Client Testimonial: Lead the rest of the case study with a powerful endorsement from the client.
3. About Your Client: A paragraph about the business of your client. Where they are from, which industry they are in and the number of employees is good information to showcase.
4. The Challenge: A 3 paragraph section that describes your client’s challenges before encountering and using your solution. This section should also include the goals that your client set out to achieve to solve their problem.
5. How Your Product/Service Helped: A 3 paragraph section that clearly states the process of how your solution helped solved their challenge.
6. The Results: Showcasing measurable results here is key. These can be in percentage or hard numbers depending on the metric you are focusing on.
7. More Testimonials From Other Clients: This is to showcase additional social proof and add a breadth of other industries your solution also can cover.
8. Call To Action: This can be a simple button that leads to your product page or a direct inquiry form to book a consultation with your team.
While it is important that your case study follows a robust structure like the one above, the format of your case study can be as dynamic or as traditional as you want it to be.
There is no fixed rule that states your case study must exist in a full-text format and to be distributed only as a pdf document.
A powerful case study can also exist in presentation formats as well as a video.
Here are some awesome case studies
From modern swanky looking case studies to long-form case studies, the following three are perhaps some of the better case studies I have come across online.
Draw inspiration from these three as you begin you create a case study for your business.
Wearetopsecret (A Web Design Agency)
Conversion Rate Experts (A Marketing Consulting Firm)
Moz (A SEO Ranking Company)
Having a case study helps tip the odds when it comes to closing that sale.
Everything we do as marketers are to help persuade the customer and show them you are the best choice to do business with.
A case study is one of the clearest ways to showcase competence, social proof and educate your prospects on your process.
Finally, if you decide to create a case study, remember to measure its effectiveness whether you are using it online or offline…
And the best measurement is if it closes sales!