Think about it… you never just whip out your platinum card to purchase a new pair of shoes on Amazon without reading at least a couple of reviews right?
So, think about case studies as the mother of all reviews.
They’re a way to showcase personalized and tangible results in an entertaining format.
Incorporating case studies into your marketing not only allows you to reach new audiences, but it highlights your most remarkable benefits while creating trust amongst potential customers.
Because 60% of buyers prefer not to interact with a sales rep as their first point of contact, case studies have become the go-to piece of content to help inform your target audience about your brand and product’s benefits.
But truthfully, there are many ways to piece together case studies like Room 214’s video format that presents their work with Rapt Media or Snapapp’s interactive presentations. With that said, it could be a challenge to know where to start.
This guide has practical tips and examples for how to write a case study that’ll suit your business goals. But first, let’s talk more about why you need case studies.
Why are case studies for marketing useful?
Yeah, we know what you’re thinking… case studies are for the guys in white lab coats experimenting with the latest version of pills for Big Pharma.
Well, yes… but in the simplest terms, case studies are generally used for showcasing methods and results that companies use for their products and services to gain more clients.
The term “case study” is most often linked with science, but has a specific purpose in marketing to showcase results. Case studies for marketing generally involve interviewing clients, conducting industry research, and presenting the facts in a story format.
Since most customers tend to look for testimonials and reviews, utilizing case studies is a way to dig a bit deeper into how your business helps solve their problems, thus creating greater trust.
Case studies for marketing are particularly relevant for the following industries (to name a few):
- Pharmaceutical and healthcare industry
- Marketing agencies
- Consulting/coaching/training services
- SaaS (software as a service)
- Real estate
Here are a few ways case studies for marketing are used:
Most often case studies are intended for lead generation because they can be used as part of your marketing funnel to attract new leads. A few strategies for lead generation include competitor analysis, revealing how you helped previous clients using concrete evidence, and humanizing the customer experience.
For instance, Bitly drew upon every digital marketer’s struggle in having to track multiple links for various campaigns. So in their case study, they revealed how eCommerce company, Vissla, was able to quickly gather the analytics to double down on the channels that were working and optimize them accordingly.
Case studies generate more leads by providing innovative ideas and solutions to your target audience.
B2B Marketing Using Testimonials
B2B case studies involve a summary of how your business helped another business. It shows how thoroughly you understand the industry – that you know the common problems business owners face and exactly how you solve their problems.
Demonstrating your expertise through the use of your customer’s actual words is extremely powerful and helps others to instantly relate to your existing customers and see you as their go-to solution. Using this tactic also aids in lead generation.
Now, let’s take a look at using testimonials for B2C companies.
B2C Marketing Using Testimonials
B2C case studies show how your business helped a consumer by using testimonials and heavy data. This walks your target audience through the customer awareness journey and helps them better understand the results your company delivers.
Here’s a quick pro-tip while writing your case study: To create an even more compelling testimonial, think about adding a video or photo of your customer. This visual adds a personal touch and also breaks up the case study text. Remember, people buy from other people… not robots! Humanize your brand, and see it flourish.
Okay, let’s dive into other elements you’ll want to consider when crafting your case study.
Understanding ROI on social media, Google ads, or other digital marketing tactics that promote lead generation
Numbers are essential. They’re how we measure how much flour to put into our peanut butter cookie mix, a guideline for our fitness goals, to see if our children are paying attention in school, and a means to persuade someone that our products are the best on the market.
In short, you’ll want to include a section about ROI (return on investment). To make better sense of the numbers, provide in-depth statistical information on how your services or product helped another company improve its bottom line.
Contently hit the nail on the head when they included this ROI in their case study headline: How Weebly Saved “a Million” Hours on Content Production and Achieved a 3X ROI. If those numbers don’t get your fingers itching to click for more, we don’t know what will.
Increase brand awareness and trust
One of the main reasons to include case studies as part of your marketing is to cultivate trust.
We know your business is awesome, and of course, you’d love to spend your days explaining this to potential customers. But the reality is you just don’t have the time.
Case studies pinpoint all the amazing parts of your business with hard-core evidence. And, instead of throwing money into paid ads, case studies are an organic way to portray the specific route you took to help another business or customer succeed.
To illustrate this a bit more, let’s consider a hypothetical scenario from an FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) company. A lab expert from an FMCG company is interviewed about the importance of food safety and the company then talks about what products it is using to ensure and promote food safety thus spreading brand awareness.
Alternatively, case studies tap into your existing customers’ market and therefore expand your reach. Think about it. The customer who you’ve written the case study about is pumped about their results and of course, they’ll want to share this success with their social network. Talk about a win-win situation!
Zig Ziglar once said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”
Trust is the building block to a successful relationship. Without it… well, we wouldn’t progress. That’s why showcasing interviews is a great way to increase consumer trust.
Let’s check out another hypothetical situation to paint the picture:
Donna, a healthcare professional, speaks out about how a new medicinal product produced by a pharmaceutical company could treat multiple diseases. Donna explains in detail how this medicine works and ultimately persuades others they too can be treated.
SEO Case Studies
All case studies also work great as SEO content. You can increase organic search results and lead generation using one or more of the above-mentioned tactics and optimize for Google search. Might as well kill two birds with one stone!
How to write case studies for marketing
Now that you’re excited to get your case study on, here are the ingredients to write an engaging and highly converting piece:
- Know your target audience
- Interview your customer
- Balance data, storytelling, and your sales approach
- Highlight what makes you unique and the perfect fit for your ideal customer
- Show the customer transformation your business provides
- Give them a call-to-action
Know your target audience
We’re sure this one isn’t new, or at least we hope not. The deeper you know your customers’ desires and pain points, the more loudly your case study will speak to them. Think about their:
- Productivity pain points
- Financial pain points
- Process pain points
Then, gather insights by conducting an interview and incorporating your customers’ stories into the mix. This will help others understand how you catered to an existing customer’s pain point and helped them through their struggle.
Interview your customer
As mentioned, you’ll need to perform an interview to get your customers’ backstory and fully embody their story.
Here are some questions to get you started:
- Can you give a brief description of your company (if you’re a B2B) and how you discovered our service/product? (setting the stage)
- What challenges were you facing that required a change? (showcasing the pain points)
- What were you looking for in a solution and how did we stand out amongst the others? (explanation of your benefits)
- How has our solution helped you since purchasing? (long term client success)
These questions are open-ended enough but still specific where you’ll get a nice personalized story to highlight your brand.
Balance data, storytelling, and your sales approach
Nobody likes to be sold to, however, if you do not include CTA’s sparingly throughout the case study, those interested won’t be able to move forward with your offers. So, add storytelling, data, and sales into the mix. Be authentic and don’t be afraid to weave in personal story elements to bond with your target audience.
Struggling to harness your inner J.K. Rowling? Our storytelling framework creates the roadmap you need to put the personality back into your brand messaging.
Highlight what makes you unique and the perfect fit for your ideal customer
The way you help your customers is what makes your business stand out.
There is no other brand out there that has the same exact makeup as you or the process that you implement. Did you go above and beyond to ensure positive results for your customer? Or, maybe your customer service is exceptional. Make sure you play this up and zoom in on this while writing your case study.
Show the customer transformation your business provides
Everyone loves a before and after transformation. They’re straight-up satisfying and make others believe they too can achieve the same results. Make sure to point out how their lives were before so the readers can grasp how they were able to make a change.
Give them a call-to-action
Like we mentioned, you’ve done all the work… the interview, the data collection, and the case study write-up, but if you don’t have a button the reader can click on to work with you, the case study will never bring in sales.
You must have an easy funnel the reader can follow to learn more about working with you or purchasing your products. Ensure this is all fully optimized before publishing your case study.
Examples of Case Studies for Marketing
Now that you know their purpose and how to write case studies, here are some examples of that hit a home run.
#1 Coca-Cola and App Annie
Title: Coca-Cola Uses App Annie to Amaze & Delight Customer
Purpose: The purpose of this case study was to show the importance of using the right market data and analytics platform to achieve deep learning, which in turn leads to improved customer experience.
App Annie’s case study was in the form of a short video, which included an interview with Greg Chambers, Coca-Cola’s Director of Innovation. To maximize response rates to the video, App Annie also included design graphics and text.
This is also a perfect example of a successful cross-marketing story between a B2B and B2C business via a case study that focused on the fact that a positive customer experience can be achieved through data analytics. App Annie shows that they are the B2B business for the job, while Coca-Cola lets consumers know that they’ve got their interests at heart.
Results: Improved customer experience for consumers of Coca-Cola and increased brand awareness.
#2 RichRelevance and Wine.com
Title: “Wine.com” by RichRelevance
Purpose: This case study showed steps taken to increase sales by making an online wine shopping experience similar to or even better than purchasing wine in a physical store.
RichRelevance’s case study was in the form of a short article that began with a summary of the goal, the strategy, and the results. It also included a quote from Wine.com’s VP of Marketing, Amy Kennedy, who cited specific figures showing the increase in sales and customer experience. The goal was to increase the number of people buying wine online from Wine.com. The action plan was to increase sales within 6 weeks by using RichRecs® as a recommendation tool for online shoppers.
Results: A nearly 10% increase of all site sales, with a 15% increase in average order value.
#3 Budweiser and Anomaly
Title: “Budweiser Influencer Marketing Case Study” by Anomaly
Purpose: Anomaly is a marketing agency, which used its case study to show that knowing your target audience and the latest trends in marketing is extremely important in achieving the desired results.
Anomaly’s case study talked about its brand awareness campaign for Budweiser, which targeted the younger audience in Philadelphia. Because the target audience was a younger demographic, the agency used influence marketers to promote the brand on social media platforms popular among the target audience. They also presented the case study in highly visual short-form stories.
Results: A successful brand awareness campaign, an engagement rate above industry standard, a very happy Budweiser, and a brief and concise case study that is relatable.
#4: Levi by Levi
Title: “Reclaiming The Identity of a Brand: A Levi’s Case Study” by Levi
Purpose: Brand management – this case study showed that through market analysis, analytics, market research, and successful marketing strategy development and implementation, a retail company can reclaim its brand and increase brand awareness.
So far, we’ve talked about B2Bs promoting B2Cs, with a splash of cross-marketing. However, sometimes, if you don’t blow your own trumpet, no one will. This is the case with Levi, whose case study was in the form of a tale about reclaiming their brand. It was in the form of an online book that talked about the brand, the challenges, and the steps they took towards managing their brand.
Their case study included their goal, strategy, an action plan, and the results, as well as photos, graphics, and diagrams. It talked about brand strategy, management, goals, and awareness.
Speaking of knowing your target audience and choosing the right platform for communication, Levi’s target customers for this case study were marketing and business experts. This is why they published the case study on a more professional platform.
Results: An easy-to-read case study in the form of an ebook on how to reclaim your brand through the right brand strategy and its successful implementation that leads to increased brand awareness.
#5 Dermalogica and AdRoll
Title: A Digital Makeover: Dermalogica’s Success Story
Purpose: The purpose of this case study was to show how video advertising can lead to conversions through brand awareness and engagement.
The case study was in the form of a short interview with Lorena Navarrete, eCommerce manager of Dermalogica, who talked about the use of video ads to increase brand awareness, drive customer engagement, and improve customer acquisition. The questions were short and the answers were brief and concise. The case study begins with a brief summary of the campaign and customer feedback (Dermalogica) thanking AdRoll for making that happen. It also gives the comparative analysis of using video ads vs static ads.
Results: A case study presented in the form of an interview with a satisfied customer that focused on the advantages of video advertising over static advertising, and a few tips on improving response rates to video ads.