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How To Write and Produce a Case Study That Will Actually Close Deals

posted by Michael Epps Utley Michael Epps Utley
Goepps case study


Case studies go beyond most forms of marketing. Not only do they explain what you do, they actually help demonstrate what your business does well and why.

A world class case study can:

  • Help prospective consumers better understand what you do.
  • Bring your customer experience to life.
  • Put a spotlight on the real world issues faced by the people in your target audience and demonstrate how your business has solved them.
  • Increase brand credibility and authority.

Here’s everything you need to know to develop world class case studies that will close deals with prospective clients.


Choose Your Case Study Subjects Carefully

The key to crafting impactful case studies is to choose compelling customer stories to base them on. Here are our top tips for choosing the ideal subjects for your case studies:

  • Check your customer ratings and reviews: Use them to help find people who really love your business. If they took time to write a stellar review, it could be a sign that they’re a good candidate for a case study.
  • Interview your candidates before starting a case study: It’s likely that prospective customers will want to reach out to your subjects to learn more. Double check that a candidate is someone you have a strong relationship with and who will give you the best recommendation possible.
  • Make sure the candidate is really enthusiastic about your business: Some business candidates may be in it for free exposure to your customers. It’s worth checking that anyone you’re considering is genuinely excited about your company and is not just in it for them.
  • Check that they genuinely understand your business: Certain candidates may have only been exposed to a small part of your operation. If there’s a chance that prospective customers might reach out to them to ask about broader areas, it might be smart to pass on them and use someone who has a deeper knowledge of your organization.
  • Have the stats: It’s okay to have clients share qualitative, anecdotal information about their experiences with your business. It’s much better to have the stats to back it up. Always feature clients in your case studies that allow you to use quantitative data and metrics to prove success.
  • Bring in some emotion: Numbers are powerful. Numbers coupled with an emotional connection are killer. Find clients who have stories that will resonate with — and move —buyers.
  • Feature brands prospective customers know and respect: People are more willing to pay attention to people they respect and brands they know. Known candidates are probably of more value than unknown ones.

Tell a Great Story

Once you find the ideal customer to feature in a case study, make sure you tell an awesome story about their experience with your business. Everybody loves a compelling narrative.

One of the big mistakes businesses make is that they treat their case studies like Powerpoint slides. They may include a client image, a few bullet points, and some stats. And that’s it.

This is definitely not the right approach.

Even though your case study may end up in a sales presentation, it should be based on a compelling narrative with a beginning, middle, and end. It should weave in anecdotes to make them human along with statistics, so they’re solid and real. In the end, your case studies may be condensed into slides or one sheeters, but if they’re based on a complete story, your salespeople will be able to explain them in a compelling way.

Some things you should include in your story:

  • An introduction to your client and an explanation of what they do.
  • The need, problem, or issue that made them seek out your business.
  • How the two of you connected.
  • Their goals and objectives.
  • A complete explanation of how your business helped them, along with information about who was involved.
  • What the client or customer thought and felt about working with you, along with other key takeaways.
  • Data, numbers, and statistics that support your story.

Including these things will help ensure you’re telling a complete end-to-end story.

Consider the Format

It’s likely that you’ll feature your case studies in different places, including sales presentations, your website, and newsletters.

No matter where you use it, make sure you format it in ways that support the story and not get in the way of it. Consider things like videos, slide shows, and other case study templates if they make sense. Your case study may start out as a complete narrative, but that doesn’t mean it should be the only way it’s delivered.

Leverage Case Studies at the Right Times

One mistake many companies make is that they use their case studies everywhere.

Of course, you invest a lot of money, time, and effort developing case studies, but that doesn’t mean you should overuse them. For many businesses, case studies are a great way to demonstrate value and close a sale. If prospects are exposed to them too early in the sales process, they may not make sense or provide value.

Work with the people on your sales and marketing teams to figure out where in the sales cycle it makes the most sense to insert case studies, so you maximize their impact.

Regularly Update and Add New Case Studies

The world is changing faster than ever, which makes many case studies age out quickly. Regularly review your case studies and refresh or remove them if they don’t seem current. Also, make it a point to maintain a pipeline of fresh ideas. Even when you have a solid library, you never know when you’ll find the next killer client story that will close more deals.

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