When it comes to content marketing content, case studies can showcase your brand’s unique value propositions and provide concrete evidence of the benefits of your products or services.
But creating effective case studies requires knowing exactly what information your potential customers are looking for and the kinds of questions they’re asking throughout their customer journey.
When done well, case studies can be amazing lead generation tools. They can also be key turning points that push your qualified leads out of the consideration stage and closer toward a purchase decision.
So if you want to experience the positive impacts of case studies in your inbound marketing strategy, here’s a guide on how to create case studies that convert leads into customers.
What is a Case Study in Marketing?
A case study is a detailed analysis of how your products or services delivered results for past or current customers. Case studies rely on quantifiable evidence to show readers the positive impacts of working with or purchasing from your business.
For B2B or SaaS companies where the impact of a particular solution or service is measured across multiple key performance indicators or over an extended period of time, case studies can be one of the best content types to communicate your businesses’ unique value propositions.
What are the Benefits of Creating Case Studies?
Unlike your other marketing materials that may be showcasing your brand voice or the key features of your products, case studies are centered on what potential customers most want to see: Real results.
Because of this, content marketing case studies bring benefits to all areas of your inbound marketing strategy.
1. Builds Trust with your Audience
People are more likely to trust the information that you present to them if they can see that it is based on real-world experience and evidence.
Without a case study on your website proving the impacts of your product offering, your audience may not believe the claims that you make in your marketing language or other branded materials.
Because case studies require your brand to divulge specific information about the results you delivered, they are more likely to be trusted. With more customer trust comes increased customer loyalty.
2. Establishes your Brand as a Thought Leader
Thought leadership is when other people in your industry look to your brand for insights and analysis on key industry topics. Unlike other content marketing types, thought leadership content is all about the earned secrets of a brand.
Case studies that detail the innovative ways that your products, technologies, or services worked to solve problems for your customers are also displaying the qualities of a thought leader.
Becoming a thought leader doesn’t happen overnight, but case studies can be an integral part of your strategy to earning that coveted title.
3. Brings SEO and Ranking Value
Case studies that live permanently on your website have the potential to rank for keywords and drive organic clicks to your website.
Keywords with “industry + case study” are very common, and people use Google to specifically look for case studies when researching industry solutions.
To improve the ranking potential of your case study, consider using a content writing software. These tools can help you improve the strength of your content by suggesting keywords, subtopics, and phrases that other competitors are using in their top-ranking content.
How to Create a Case Study that Converts
Creating an effective case study requires having all of the necessary parts to tell a compelling story.
Ideally, your case study will be seen by your potential customers when they are further down the marketing funnel and already have a strong sense of the products and services you offer.
They may also be seriously considering your brand alongside a few others, so here’s how to create a case study to convince them to choose your offering over others.
Find the Right Success Story
If you have a strong relationship with a client who had amazing results from your product or service, they likely make an excellent candidate for your marketing case studies.
But it’s important that the subjects you showcase can help you imply similar successes or results for future clients. That means choosing clients with similar industries, company sizes, or budgets as your target audience.
It’s important that you consult with your past or current clients before including them in any marketing materials. Because case studies can rank in search, the ones you create may potentially rank for the brand name of the clients you feature.
To persuade your clients, make sure you provide value to them as well, such as highlighting their unique product offering, featuring their brand logo, or detailing some of their brand messaging.
Featuring a quote or testimonial from your featured client can also bring more credibility to your case study. Case studies, although convincing, are still written by your marketing team. So being able to hear directly from the client can earn your audience’s trust even more.
Identify a Clear Problem that your Audience Can Resonate With
A common structure of case studies is the problem/solution format.
Why? Because more often than not, your potential customers are experiencing similar problems, which is why they are considering your solution or service in the first place.
Taking the time to detail the problem or challenge your client faced is key to catching the interest of your audience. Because they are likely facing similar issues or challenges, they will be more engaged with your content and compelled to see your brand’s unique solutions.
Taking the time to thoroughly define the problem also shows potential clients that you understand their industry, the markets they serve, and how best to help them overcome their most pressing pain points.
For SaaS or B2B Brands: Outline the The Steps That Were Taken to Solve the Problem
Once you have clearly identified the problem, it’s time to provide the meat of your case study: the solution.
This is where you really want to show off the differentiating features of your technology, strategic approach, or product offering.
The more detailed you get in this part of the case study the better, as you can more fully educate your target audience on the features or scope of your product offerings.
Detailed description of a solution in a Pathmonk.com case study.
If you have a proprietary technology, it’s possible to create this section of your case study without giving away your secret sauce. Focus on both what was offered and the reasoning behind the solution. For example:
- What exact services did you provide your client?
- If you suggested particular strategies or services, why did you choose the ones you did?
- What strategic approaches did you deploy during your campaign?
- What about the client’s positioning, industry, or your competitor analysis made you take the approach you did?
- Did you face any particular challenges when implementing a solution on behalf of your client? If so, how did you overcome them?
These are just a few of the questions you can answer in your case study to help your audience feel they are getting an inside look into your brand’s unique approach, and what they may be able to look forward to if they choose your service or solution.
Use Quantifiable Evidence to Prove the Results
The most important section of your marketing case study is the results. Your case study will fall flat unless it includes detailed, quantifiable evidence that proves a positive impact.
Make sure you include the KPIs or metrics that are most important to your target audience. Also, this is a great opportunity to directly support the claims you make in your general marketing messaging.
Does your product increase sales? Decrease operating costs? Improve efficiency? Then now is your time to prove it by including those metrics in the results section.
Results section of a case study from impression.co.uk
Tell an Engaging Story and Provide a Call to Action
In the end, the story of happy customers and real results will be what is most convincing for your audience.
But, you want to make sure they have the opportunity to act on their conviction whether they were given the case study by a member of your sales team or they discovered it on their own in organic search.
There are a variety of ways that you can include a CTA in your case study. Booking a demo, a discovery meeting, signing up for an email list, or downloading an ebook may all be appropriate next steps, depending on your brand’s unique customer journey.
If you have the design resources, you can also improve the visual impact of your case study with engaging design features, custom graphics, videos, and other visual elements.
These elements can also help your case studies rank in the SERPs, driving clicks for years from your lead generation strategy.
Although your business will need to have been around long enough to have acquired some success stories, case studies can be some of the most impactful content your brand creates.
So be on the lookout for those clients or customers who have had the high-quality experience and results you’ve worked so hard to deliver.
Then, leverage them to earn new customers and drive growth for the long term.