What is a Case Study?
A case study is a classical instrument of B2B content marketing, in which the supplier describes the course of a past project in detail and using customer statements. Sometimes it is also referred to as „success stories“ or „customer stories“, while the latter are typically a bit shorter and less process-oriented than a longer case study.
The goal of the case study is to enable the prospective buyer to gain a better impression of the potential implementation of an offered product. A case study delivers great insights and builds trust. This gives the prospect a better basis for decision making so he may decide to buy from the provider offering the case study.
Why Should You Write a Case Study?
Suppose you want to build a house and look for a suitable architect. How will you assess whether the architect is qualified to build your dream home?
You are probably going to ask different architects for pictures or impressions of houses, which the respective architect has already built … After all, the idea is that:
A company which has been able to achieve great results in the past,
is probably going to be able to achieve the same outcome in the future.
In doing so, you will especially look for houses which are most similar to your dream house or your concept of your desired house. Ultimately, you will decide on the architect who has already built similar houses for similar customers – after all, you can determine his competence by looking at his past results.
Case studies are effective tools for B2B content marketing because they build trust. They give readers a concrete way of ensuring high quality work – without having to take any financial risk.
Generally reviewed in the last phase of the customer journey, effective case studies cause the prospect to make a decision for your company.
How Long Should a Case Study Be?
The length of your case study should differ according to the complexity of your offer, the information requirements of the prospective customer as well as the investment amount demanded of the client. The more complex your product or the higher the necessary investment, the more detailed the case study needs to be. After all, the prospective buyer will invest the necessary time before making a decision.
As a rule, a case study should be 2-4 pages long and contain 2-3 informative graphics. This corresponds to a word count of approximately 600-1200 words.
What Is The Tone of A Professional Case Study?
The tone of a case study should be adapted to your target group or your ideal prospect. Since you typically write a case study for B2B customers, you should pay attention to a professional and objective tone.
You do not praise your company or your competencies, but describe the past projects in a compact and convincing manner. The marketing effect comes from the demonstrated competence as well as the direct quotations from satisfied customers (which are highlighted at the end of the case study).
What Is The Structure of a Case Study?
Just like a White Paper (which comes at an earlier stage in the customer journey), a case study follows a clear problem-solution-structure. Start with your customer’s challenges that led him to search for a solution, introduce your implemented solution and finish strongly with the clear results you delivered for your customer. The structure of a case study is:
3. Analysis of alternatives
4. Recommended solution
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What else has to be considered?
- Customer Quotations: cite your customers with direct statements, especially when it comes to communicating impressive results or praise. These statements are most convincing when they come directly from your satisfied customers (instead of praising yourself …).
- Specific: A case study is all the more effective, the more concrete the description of the challenges, the implementation and the results achieved. It is especially recommended to use concrete figures – quantified in % – which prove the effectiveness of your product/solution.
- Graphics & Diagrams: Using relevant graphs to clarify the results that you have created, you not only improve the readability of your document, but also reach time-pressed decision makers.