What's missing from most case studies?

Companies start looking for new suppliers for various reasons but there is almost always something that has damaged the relationship and they have lost trust in that supplier. When they look at you as a potential replacement supplier, you need to start developing that trust with them quickly.For me the key ingredient in doing this is evidence. Evidence that you have done this before for many people who are just like them. As any fan of CSI will know, Grisham (and now D.B. Russell – played by Ted Danson) always said: trust the evidence! 

Last month I talked about generating interest in your product or services and I listed three examples of the evidence:

  1. Case studies and testimonials 
  2. White papers 
  3. Social media commentary 

These three types of evidence do two key things: 

It is the second point that I allude to in the title of this newsletter. As you know I’ve been working for and with small businesses for more than 12 years now and the one thing that I see that’s missing from, particularly, case studies is the results. Too many simply talk about: 

What's in the Perfect Case Study? 

1. Catchy Headline 

The headline that grabs the readers’ attention. This is most likely to happen when the headline talks of the results achieved by the project.You have to give the reader a reason to read your case study. They will then want to know how you generated the excellent results stated in the headline. 

2. Who is the client?

Describing and naming the client seems obvious but why do this?When you are working with large companies you’re ‘dropping’ names that most people will have heard of but when you work with SMEs, it is doubtful that many people will know either who they are or what they do.The reason is to let the reader know what they do and recognise that they are similar to them. After all you want them to see that you know their industry and therefore at least some of the issues they face.Information should include name, industry, location and size of business.

3. What is the issue they want resolving?

Using industry-specific terminology, talk about the issue/pain/problem they have asked you to provide a solution to.Again you are demonstrating to the reader that you understand the issues they are likely to face and that you have experience resolving them.

4. What did you do? 

Perhaps the least important part of the whole case study!This will be the easiest bit for you as you simply describe what you did for your client. Of course you’ll tie this into the issues previously discussed to show how you’ve used the most appropriate tools to help your client


By far, this is the most important section of the case study.This section will demonstrate the value you provide by showing how your client benefitted from using you to resolve the issue they had. 

This is the part that gets trust levels going up and prompts them to pick up the phone and call you. 

If it is then supported by a positive comment from the client, even better.Imagine how much more you would trust a new supplier if all their case studies talked about the growth in the web traffic, about the money they saved them or the improved performance of the IT network. If everything you read says they deliver a great result, you’re going to start to trust them and you’re much more likely to pick up the phone and talk to them about the issue you want to resolve. 

Now take a look at your own case studies. Do they demonstrate how you helped your clients and the results you delivered. Of course, if you would like me to review them, give me a call on +44 (0) 7770 970 557.

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