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Case Study: More Than Just a Testimonial

You need to put your client or customers’ success front and center. How do you do that? With an awesome case study that shows how your product or service helped improve their business or life.

What is a case study though? A case study is typically a 1-2 page document that showcases the problem that your company solved. Writers create compelling success stories through interviews, data, and creative writing.

Why do they matter so much? A significant number of B2B marketers (40%), cited case studies as the reason a customer or client moved from the bottom of the sales funnel to purchasing.

Here the podcast episode:

Here is the video:

And of course, here is the transcript:

Hi, I’m Ruthie, owner of Defy The Status Quo, and you’re listening to an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast, your 10-minute daily shot of business knowledge. Now I know you don’t have a lot of time, so we’re going to jump right into it. Today we’re going to be talking about why you should consider creating a case study for your company website. 

What Is a Case Study?

What is a case study? I can promise you that it’s more than just a testimonial from your customers or your clients. 40% of B2B marketers consider case studies to be the most effective piece of content that moves prospects from the end of the buyer’s journey to actually making a purchase. The next most effective tactic after that are in person events. I promise you for an in person B2B event, you’re going to spend way more than you would spend on a case study. 

So that is definitely a huge consideration. If you’re a marketer who sells high-end products or your high-end services, you have to consider that your next most effective tactic would be an in person event. If you’ve ever organized an event, you know how rough those can be and how exhausting it can be. 

Side note: kudos to those of you who have in person events as part of your marketing strategy. 

Not to be Confused with a Medical Case Study

Case study means something completely different in medical terms, and it’s been adopted into the marketing terminology. So when I say case study, I mean it purely in a marketing sense has nothing to do with anything medical. Please do not confuse the two. So a case study is when you analyze a project or product implementation. For marketing purposes, you’re looking to identify factors that led to the success of that project or the product implementation. 

Some people have services and a case study would be more centered around a project. But then others have products that they sell to other companies. And those products, or that implementation of the product or system, would be the subject of the case study. 

Case studies can also be called customer or client success stories. So if you feel like case study is something that’s a little too esoteric for your website, you could definitely title the page where you keep them as “customer success stories” or even just “success stories” by itself. 

What Does a Case Study Look Like?

When you look at a case study, they’re typically well designed. So you want a graphic designer or somebody who at least knows their way around a Canva. They’re typically one to two pages, and they may or may not have a cover. 

If you do have a cover on your case study, then I would say that your case study should probably be two to three pages: the cover and then one to two pages of main content. 

If you’re going even further and you want this case study to be a lead magnet of some kind, then you might want four pages. You would have the cover, your one to two pages of main content, and then you have the end page. The end page would include your contact information, like social media handles and things like that. If case your case study gets passed around on the Internet, you want to make sure people can easily reach you.  

How Do You Structure a Case Study?

So it typically is set up to introduce the problem and then it moves into the solution that’s selected. And that’s usually the client or customers selecting your company to solve their problem, which was introduced in the first part. So problem, solution, and then outcome. What happened once they chose you and you and you set them up with your services or your products, what happened? The outcome. 

Case Studies are Great Storytelling

What this sets up though is a great story. It often sets up a great story and that’s why case studies are so effective because a client, when they’re at the bottom of the funnel and they’re still with you, that means they’re really leaning towards you.  So we’ve got top of the funnel, we’ve got mid funnel, sorry, we’ve got mid funnel and we’ve got the bottom of the funnel. 

Because case studies incorporate storytelling, it’s something the prospect can use to imagine what it’ll feel like when you’ve solved their problems. the same way that you’ve solved the person or the company in the case study’s problems. That’s why they’re so effective. 

A case study can be that little thing that pushes them. “Okay, yeah, let’s go with this company to solve my issue.”

Use the Client’s Words in Your Case Study

So it typically involves one to two interviews. Ideally you will interview the client, and I don’t really understand how you could do it without interviewing them because you want to use actual quotes, their words in the case study. 

The other person that you’ll want to have interviewed is your project manager or whoever was in charge on that project. So if you’re a very small company, it might be you that needs to be interviewed. But if you have project managers then the project manager on that project will probably be the one who is interviewed. 

What will happen then is that the writer will take their stories and put them together cause you should have a writer work on this. We’ll take them and put them together to create your case study, your customer success story. 

It will be compelling, it will be factual, and those two things together make a great B2B marketing story. 

You also want to include any data points if the client’s able to provide them. And this is difficult. Uh, don’t think that, I don’t understand how difficult. It’s a little bit easier with something like paid advertising because you typically get some metrics that you can use a relatively quickly. 

But in my case, for my industry, content marketing, it takes some time before ROI is shown. So we don’t always have numbers until six to 12 months later, maybe even longer. It just depends. This is not to say your efforts aren’t worthwhile, but you should consider content marketing kind of like your retirement investment account. You don’t have your retirement investment account for one month and then you wake up and it’s got $1 million in it. That’s not the way that it works. 

Case Studies When Results are Intangible

So when I do case studies for services where things are a bit more intangible, we have to dig a little bit deeper and present some of the more immediate results and effects of services rendered. All that takes is some creative thinking. It doesn’t mean that your business is not good for case studies. Your business is excellent for case studies, almost every business is. Not having hard numbers is not a reason not to do a case study. 

How Much Do Case Studies Cost to Have Written?

So big question, how much do case studies cost? It depends. So you may remember the episode we did on how much you should pay freelance writers and our top factors were their writing experience, their industry experience, and sometimes, where they’re located. But the two first two are more important. You could expect to pay anywhere from $1,000 to $1,700 per case study depending on the writer that you’re talking with. 

If you have an opportunity to pay less, I would say be wary. You are potentially dealing with incredibly an incredibly inexperienced writer or somebody who’s not from the United States. So their English may not be 100%. 

Again, it all depends on who your customer, your ideal customer is. If you are outside of the United States and you are in a country where the quality of the English is not necessarily a factor, then you would probably be fine. If you’re outside of the United States and you’re targeting companies within the US, then the quality of English WILL be a factor. 

So it’s nothing against ESL writers. But that is something that many companies within the United States have to consider. 

So how can you use your case studies once you’ve paid all that money for them. No big deal. Well, it’s kind of a big deal, but content repurposing, that was episode 10. If you haven’t listened to episode 10, you need to go back and listen to the episode on content repurposing. 

Ask the client for a video. A video interview just briefly to kind of cover some of the points that they covered in the case study. 

You could also extract quotes from the client and include them in your blog posts. I them on your social media and style them up as a nice little graphic. You can style them and put them up there on your social media. 

Pull those quotes and place them on different parts of your website. You especially want the ones where they’re talking about how awesome you are. Those can go on your homepage. 

Great for new prospects who are just landing on your website for the first time. So some of the ways that I can think of immediately off the top of my head. 

We are coming to the end of our 10 minutes for this episode of The Defiant Business Podcast. So thank you so much for joining me. If you’ve got any thoughts on case studies, if you think you need a case study, feel free to shoot us a message. We’d be happy to have that talk with you. But until then, I will see you next time.