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What is a Case Study?

And why are they important?

Which of these quotes has more of an effect on you?

“Hey, everybody! I’m a great copywriter. You should hire me.”
“Hey, everybody, Sherry is a great copywriter. She created a fantastic marketing campaign for me and increased my sales by 150%! You should hire her.”

Anyone can say they’re great, but so what? It’s meaningless. Everyone knows marketing is designed to sell. Companies will tell you whatever you want to hear to get you to buy their product.

But when a customer tells you someone or something is great, you listen. This is some unbiased information that is far more reliable.

When’s the last time you made a purchase? Did you check the reviews first? I know I rely on reviews for everything -- even something as small as a $5 dog toy. Studies show that as many as 93% of people rely on reviews.

That number gets even higher when the value of the product or service increases.

Which would you choose?

Imagine you’re walking down the street looking for a place to eat. There are two restaurants next to each other. You don’t know anything about either one. One is nearly full and the other is empty. Which would you choose?

Most people will follow the masses and assume the full restaurant must be better than the empty one. It might not be true, but that’s not important. What’s important is what potential customers believe.

It’s important for potential customers to see your “restaurant is full.” Yeah, I know you don’t have a restaurant. You sell software solutions to businesses. Or you provide technical support to e-commerce companies. So how do you show you are the place to be? Social proof.

Reviews, testimonials, and case studies are all known as “social proof.” Social proof is the most important marketing tool businesses have available to them. Whether you’re selling cookies, dog training, or high-tech software, you need social proof to be competitive.

Case studies take social proof to a higher level.

A case study, also known as a success story, is a one to two-page document that tells the story from your customer’s point of view. It’s formatted to be easy to read and written as a story, not a sales pitch.

Anatomy of a case study

The Problem

We start by outlining the problem. This is important because your potential customers very likely have the same problem, so you’ll resonate with them right away.

What problem does your product solve? Are your customers bogged down in paperwork? Are they wasting money with outdated software? Are they losing customers because they can’t fill orders fast enough?

We write up the problem in the customer’s words so it’s authentic. Potential customers are going to read it and say, “Wow! That’s exactly what happened to me!” Now you’ve got their attention.

The Solution

Next, we move on to the solution. What did your product or service do for them? How was the implementation? How was the customer treated?

Sure your customers want results, but the process is also important. Customers want to know implementation won’t be too painful. They need to know they’ll be supported through the process.

The solution section specifically outlines what happened. We’ve got the reader sucked in now. They want to know what this customer bought, how it was installed, and exactly how it worked. Because they aren’t just reading a story. They are putting themselves in the story. They are imagining themselves using your product.

The Result

Finally is the result. Perhaps your customer saved seven hours a week by using your software. Or they increased their revenue by 150%. Here’s where we get to talk about the big wins.

By the time a potential customer gets to the end of the case study, they’ll be able to see themselves using your product or service. They can practically feel what it will be like to get to the end of implementation. They can smell the successes. They are imagining booking a cruise because you saved them so much time and they can finally take a vacation.

Most importantly, they’ll trust you and will be far more likely to buy from you than someone who doesn’t have case studies.

Why not just have reviews?

Reviews are useful tools, especially for less technical products. Reviews may get a reader to look a little deeper, but they don’t make the sale because a review doesn’t tell the whole story.

Case study writers draw information out of the customer to paint a more complete picture of their experience. We get the whole story from them. Then we write it up in a way that’s easy to understand and resonates with your target audience. This is especially important for high-tech products and services.

One case study can be used in up to 16 different ways! That’s some serious ROI making case studies the best use of your marketing dollars.

Should my case study writer be an expert in my field?

If you’re in the tech industry, you may think you should have a techie write up your case studies. This is a common mistake. The product often ends up written in tech-speak and won’t be nearly as effective.

Generally, the person in charge of buying your product won’t be a technology expert. They will need everyday language to understand what you can do for them. A bunch of technical terms and acronyms will turn them off right away.

Having an outsider come in to write up your case studies keeps the story clear and straightforward. It’s far better to have fresh eyes on your product or service so your case study is written for your customer, not for a technology journal.

How can I get a case study?

The Arkfeld Agency specializes in case studies because we believe in their power so much. We’d love to talk with you about how a case study can help you too.

We also offer design services. Many copywriters will only provide the copy. Our design team can turn your case study into an eye-catching marketing tool you’ll be proud of.

Click here to book your free consultation today.

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