Hearing the words “case study” might be enough to make you cower in the corner, conjuring up images of all-nighters while you put together your college thesis paper.
Don’t worry we’re not talking about that type of case study, here.
For our purposes, a case study is simply another name for a customer success story. They act as testimonials from satisfied clients, but go much deeper than a simple one- or two-sentence clip about “how great it was to work with Company XYZ.”
These documents are beneficial to both parties involved. On the one hand, the satisfied customers gain extra exposure by having their story published on the company website. On the other, the company is able to provide social proof that their services are exactly what a prospective client is looking for.
Following are three reasons why case studies can be a huge boost to your company’s marketing and advertising campaigns.
Case Studies tell stories
Who doesn’t love a good story?
Seriously, though. Recent trends show marketing is all about weaving an intriguing and engaging tale as of late.
And it’s not difficult to understand why.
A well-crafted story can hook an audience from the very first sentence and leave them thinking about the narrative long after the last word. What better way is there to keep your company at the front of your potential customers’ minds?
A case study should be a heroic tale of one company’s triumph over adversity.
Although each case study is unique to the customer, the story structure will always be relatively similar:
Though we’re all too familiar with the classic “Hero goes on quest, hero defeats bad guy, hero gets the girl” tale of olde, when it comes to real-world case studies, the storyline never gets old.
Case studies go behind the scenes
In the small section on “slaying the dragon,” I mentioned that case studies go into great detail into how, exactly, a company’s services helped a client overcome a major obstacle in their business.
Think about it. Most forms of advertising focus on one thing: Results. Check out any website offering a product or service, and the first piece of information you’re likely to come across is what the end result of working with that company will be.
There’s nothing wrong with that, but it leaves out a huge part of the process. When you read an ad that says “Buy now and start losing weight today!” you’re not thinking of the fact that you’ll actually having to do something with the product to start seeing results - you’re just thinking about the endgame.
A case study, on the other hand, explains the exact process previous customers went through while working with a company.
They’ll come to understand that there is no quick fix to their problem, and that’s okay.
In fact, prospective clients who are willing to put in the work necessary to succeed will look forward to the journey they will soon be undertaking, knowing the endgame is worth it.
Case studies are real
Going back to those products you see on infomercials promising that you’ll lose weight without lifting a finger…
Most of us don’t fall for that crap anymore, right?
It’s become way too easy to disprove a company’s claim by doing about fifteen seconds of research on your phone.
In other words, you better be able to back up the claims you make about your product or service.
There’s really no better way to do this than by describing the actual experiences of your actual customers.
(On a side note: Do not make up case studies about imaginary clients. Your audience will figure it out, and you’ll be seen as completely untrustworthy.)
Think about it: Most companies simply ask prospective customers to trust that their word is bond. While established enterprises can get away with this, most people will be less likely to trust smaller businesses they’ve never heard of before.
By providing case studies of previously satisfied customers, you show your audience that you are more than capable of following through with the promises you’ve made.