It’s all very well creating content for your site – writing blog posts, publishing white papers, and crafting sales copy that captivates – and submitting guest articles to the most authoritative websites in your niche – building your brand in the eyes of peers and raising your profile with audiences of potential clients – but such activity ultimately amounts to just ‘talking the talk’.
No matter how informative and compelling your words may be, prospective customers will still want to see evidence that you can ‘walk the walk’, and this is where case studies play their part in successful content marketing strategies.
Why write Case Studies?
Your copywriting efforts may well attract visitors to your website, but the most effective way to convert them into clients is to demonstrate how you’ve helped others achieve their goals. In fact, the BrightTALK sponsored B2B Content Marketing Report 2016 – which surveyed 600 B2B marketers – states that case studies are considered to be the very best lead generation tool.
The great thing about case studies is that they allow you to map-out the journey of specific projects, from initial consultation to implementation and, finally, end results. Documenting your process in this manner invites readers to learn more about the way you work, and if you can prove that your services pay dividends for a range of happy customers – ideally covering different sectors – you’ll be well-placed to convert those visitors into new business.
Peer-to-peer influence is a big deal in the digital world, so taking the time to tell your success stories gives you a platform to show that others are confident in your abilities and happy to sing your praises. Having a collection of short testimonials is one thing, but nothing beats an in-depth read of how you overcame a particular challenge to really prove your worth.
That’s not to discount testimonials, of course, as they can be used to naturally complement your case studies. Snappy soundbites from people happy to share kind words will work wonders on social media, while LinkedIn recommendations and Google Business reviews add genuine credibility to your brand. One happy customer can be persuaded to provide several good reviews, if you ask nicely.
Our own selection of content marketing case studies has been critical to our growth as a business, helping to secure contracts with long-term clients. We’ve attended consultation meetings with people who’ve referenced our previous work, asking if we could achieve similar results with them, and we’ve also forwarded case studies to prospective clients, nudging proceedings in the right direction with a strategic example of a similar scenario.
Wherever possible, it’s advisable to have several case studies to sufficiently highlight the full range of your services. For example, our telecoms content marketing and SEO case study details how we initially audited our client’s site, made a number of SEO recommendations and then created quality content, all of which directly resulted in a surge of website enquiries.
Our white label marketing services case study, on the other hand, focuses on a slightly different area of our business, showcasing how we can discreetly complete work on behalf of partner agencies.
Telling these two different stories demonstrates how we deliver comprehensive digital marketing strategies for different types of client, ensuring that we can back up our claims of being able to do the job, no matter who gets in touch.
How to write case studies
It seems that a major stumbling block in producing case studies is either not having time, or not wanting to pester clients for their comments. However, this needn’t take long, and we usually find a 15-minute phone call is sufficient to get enough info down. You already know the story, you just want to hear it from their point of view.
- Top Tip: It’s a good idea to record these calls (with permission of course), whether using your smartphone or some form of recording software on your computer. This ensures that you can have a natural conversation without frantically making notes, and the quotes you insert into the case study will be more accurate as a result – maintaining your client’s voice rather than re-wording into your own style.
We follow a very simple formula when it comes to structuring our case studies, and following the steps outlined below will ensure you cover all the bases in a compelling fashion.
Step 1: The problem
Initially, you want to establish who your client is (what sector they’re in and what they do), and describe the issues they were facing that prompted them to give you a call in the first place. Perhaps they were struggling to raise the visibility of their website, or needed support with social media marketing.
Whatever the problem was, stress the point and ask your client to say a few words about how they struggled and what they were looking for in a service provider.
Step 2: The solution
As the sub-heading suggests, here you want to detail the meat and bones of what you actually did to complete the project. Maybe you conducted a thorough SEO audit and highlighted areas requiring urgent attention to bring the website up to scratch, or perhaps you formulated a strategy to engage targeted audiences on Facebook and LinkedIn.
You want to explain how you combated the issues noted in the introduction, so use the ‘how and why’ approach to storytelling to describe your actions and, crucially, what the theory was behind these decisions.
If you can eloquently paint a picture of your process, your expertise will shine through.
Step 3: The results
This is where you really show you’re capable of ‘walking the walk’, providing facts and figures to reveal the impact of your work. Maybe your onsite recommendations saw the client’s key web pages rapidly climb the SERPs. Perhaps your social media savviness helped to double their Facebook followers and grow an engaged audience on LinkedIn.
Ultimately, you want to demonstrate a clear cause-and-effect of your work, underlining how beneficial your services have been, summed-up with a glowing endorsement from your client.
There’s nothing more reassuring than a good review, and a good case study will go a long way to convincing target audiences that you have the ability to achieve similar results for them.
If you’d like further advice on producing case studies, just give us a call on 0117 230 6010 and we’ll be happy to help.
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