Case studies are a powerful marketing tool. They bring in several elements that appeal to and motivate your audience. Like a testimonial, they are evidence from an outside source that your product or service solved someone’s problem. A case study is a form of word of mouth. It builds your credibility. Case studies are more in-depth and detailed than testimonials, which gives people more chances to see how your brand can benefit them. A case study, when written well, is also a story. People love stories. We get hooked and instinctively cheer for the protagonist. Every story has a conflict that the protagonist must solve, a problem to overcome.
In a case study, your brand is the hero’s tool to solve the problem. In telling the story, people learn more about your brand’s philosophy and the details of your product or service. They see how it is used, how it works, and what it could do for them.
So exactly is it a marketing case study? It is the story of how a customer solved some problem by using your product or service. The story begins with an account of the customer’s problem. Now, a problem is not always something terrible. It could be needing a special wedding gift or wanting a toy to delight a beloved child or it could be a pet who requires a special diet or packing up to move house. Whatever it is, the marketing case study first introduces the customer, ideally, someone many other potential customers will relate to, and their problem. Then it describes their discovery of your brand and their consideration of it including any concerns they had about purchasing and how they overcame them. A case study concludes by explaining the outcome of the purchase – the grateful newlyweds, delighted child, healthy pet or family happily settled into a new home.
Your case study can be written out by the customer or told using many quotes from them. But this is a fantastic opportunity to use video. Video adds another layer of authenticity to the case study, as well as enhances the human side of the story. While the video is ideal, if it is not possible, then a few photos will help. Be sure to include photos of the product being used or displayed with happy customers.
Including a case studies page on your website is important, and you should also have a case study on your home page. That can direct visitors to your case study page – which you should not call ‘case studies. Use a more engaging page title such as ‘See What We’ve Done for Others” or ‘Real Stories of Our Product”.
Your website is not the only place you can use marketing case studies. Whenever you add a new one, be sure to promote it. You can feature each new case study on your blog, and then share a link on all of your social media platforms. Your brand’s email newsletter is another place to showcase case studies.
By Irene Hislop
By Conor McCaffrey