Are you in the B2B marketing space? You’re collecting case studies, right?
Don’t tell me I just heard crickets.
Case studies are like the ultimate social proof, they’re seriously great to have splashed across your website, blog, email campaigns and social media.
There’s a lot to love about case studies done well. It’s all the most powerful marketing techniques combined into a gorgeous, irrefutable package with a bow on top. Here’s the formula (more or less).
Powerful Storytelling + Testimonials + Cold, Hard Results = Awesome Case Study
(I’m no math major, but this spells success.)
If you’ve been avoiding creating case studies because it seems like a big project, I’m here to burst your bubble. Case studies don’t have to be long to be effective. You just have to know what information you need, and to tie it together into a sweet narrative format. It can be short. Short is great.
Here’s all you need to create a fantastic case study:
This is where you introduce the client for the case study. Say a little about them, and the work they do. This setup is essential so that other organizations can recognize similarities and really relate to the story.
Double bonus points: If the client has a positive social impact. That’s part of your story, too!
Uh oh! Not everything is great at this organization! It’s important to fully describe not just the organizational problem, but the negative outcomes that result. For example, if the client is disorganized the actual pain point is that they’re losing revenue because of that disorganization. Be sure to dig deep and find the real, painful result.
Introduce your product as manna from heaven. The wonderful improvement that changes everything! Focus on the big wins here — the positive changes that have resulted. Avoid listing features the client loves – focus on why the product is indispensable.
If you’ve got a specific, quantifiable result, remember to hit it hard! This is some powerful proof. Press for hard numbers. For example:
- How much more effective or efficient?
- How many more clients?
- What percentage less churn?
Be sure to include qualitative benefits as well. Stuff like happy staff is hard to quantify, but hugely valuable.
BONUS: If there’s benefit not only to your client, but to their customers or the general public, see it all the way through! Think about ripple effects that create value that far outweighs the investment.
A well-written case study? A few hundred bucks. A happy client in their own words? Priceless. Be sure to include a smiling photo of the client being quoted for maximum impact. Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. Clients who love your product will be MORE than happy to gush about it. After all, they want you to succeed!
Of course! Don’t leave this one off! Make it clear, make it concise, make it, you know…actionable.
Here’s an example case study that would be totally effective, were this a real organization:
Sweaters for Lizards is a nonprofit service organization that provides tiny knitted sweaters and hats to reptiles and amphibians in need. They have an ambitious 2018 goal: clothe 500 ball pythons in the Detroit metro area in custom knitted snake socks.
However, as SFL grew they faced mounting challenges. Communication between the small staff of 2 iguanas and the human volunteer knitters suffered. The volunteers didn’t have a central repository of patterns. Many of them were flying blind, knitting sweaters with 6 or 8 legs – far too many for the animals SFL serves. Time and materials were wasted, meanwhile, lizards and snakes shivered at night.
But since they’ve implemented our all-inclusive KMS (knitting management system), the organization has turned it around. Knitters have clearly defined goals, and their patterns are in an easy-to-read format. They’ve more than tripled production, and errors are down 90%.
Now they’re on track to crush their 2018 goal by serving over 1,000 pythons like Slimy in 2018 alone.
“I couldn’t believe the difference this KMS has made. Our volunteers are happier, and they’re more productive. Because of our improved logistics, we’re truly able to put smiles on the faces of lizards throughout our region. Well. I think they’re smiles, it’s kind of hard to tell.”
~ Larry, Executive Director, Sweaters for Lizards
I know, hilarious example. But it’s powerful stuff, right? You’re ready to get your own KMS right now, because Larry saw results that helped Slimy live his best, warmest life.
Now that you see how simple case studies can be, go forth! Write with confidence. (Or just hire me.)