One way to help your prospect to understand the benefits that your business can offer, fast, is to create a powerful case study.

Case studies are an effective tool for service-based businesses who need to show that they understand the problems that their customers are experiencing and have a proven method for helping to resolve them. They can also help the customer to understand what is involved in your service and add tangibility to service-based offerings, helping to communicate their true value.

In case you’ve no idea what a case study is, here’s an example that we created about for our own business about our client Amanda Shaw Solicitors. As you will see, it’s basically a short story about a client project, outlining what the client was looking to achieve and the benefits that were realised as a result of working with us.

We have been creating a lot of case studies for our clients recently and this has given us the opportunity to focus on the elements that contribute to a cracking case study. Here are the 11 steps to getting it right:

1. Choose the right examples

You may have identified a happy customer who is willing to go on record about what you have done for them, but make sure that the situation for this client was truly representative of what you are offering in the mainstream and is relevant to the majority of your other prospects. Whatever you commit to in a case study needs to be something you are happy to provide for any future client.

2. Use a clear structure

The structure of a powerful case study should include sections about the problem your client was experiencing, the process that you went through to resolve it for them and the results that they achieved from working with you.

3. Get the timing right

As mentioned above, one section you must include is about the results of the work that you did for your client. In order to get the best possible feedback to include in your case study make sure that your client has had time to realise those benefits. Depending on the nature of your service, this may happen several months after you have finished working with them. Wait until the client has seen the benefits before you start to create the case study.

4. Get their perspective

Interview your client (or get a third party to do this if you find it too embarrassing) about their experience of working with you. You’ll get some great feedback about the positives (and negatives) of your service. Your client might have been particularly delighted by aspects of it that you don’t even realise are big selling points. And, if you get negative feedback, it’s a great opportunity to perfect what you are offering.

5. Find out their house rules

If your client is part of a fairly large company they may have marketing, compliance or legal teams in-house who need to know about and/or see the content that you are creating before they will sign it off for you to use. Get the buy in of these people (via your client) before you even start. Too many beautifully drafted case studies don’t make it out of the showroom because an in-house corporate team has refused to sign them off due to bad timing, or being unhappy about the content contained inside.

6. Include direct quotes

If you want to craft a truly powerful case study, always include a direct quote from your conversation with your client. Ideally this should be focused on why they chose to work with you over and above competitors. Later on in the text, add another quote about the great benefits they achieved.

7. Highlight your values and your point of difference

How are you different from your competitors? Make sure you illustrate this clearly within the copy of the case study. If you have a unique process or delivery style, get this into the text, and use details to show how your values are cultivated within your business. Your potential customers are going to be looking for a specific type of vendor, one that has similar values to their own and this is a great way to showcase what you stand for and really tap into the desires of your dream client.

8. Make it easy to digest

Use bullet points, call outs, and short paragraphs. Prospects often scan reading material, so the use of call-outs (text that is boxed off or larger than the rest of the copy, to highlight it) and subheadings can help them to get the point quickly.

9. Provide evidence

Include statistics if your client can provide them. Information such as time or money saved as a result of your service are key to developing a really powerful case study, and making it all the more compelling. If your prospect is looking to achieve a good ROI (return on investment) this is where you can tick that box for them.

10. Cover off objections

If you know that your prospects often come up against a specific objection to working with you (such as your price point, fears about hidden charges, potential risks of working with you) include a reference to this objection and give the reasons why it’s not an issue (and read this article if you want to find out more about overcoming objections).

11. Get it beautifully designed

This type of content is so much easier to absorb when it is properly laid out, like this one that we created for one of our clients recently.

Powerful case study

When you have this type of asset up your sleeve you can use it in lots of scenarios: sending to a prospect as part of your sales conversation, printing for sharing at exhibitions and other events, or hosting on your website for prospects to evaluate in their own time.

Need help with creating case studies? Get in touch, we can liaise with your happy customers and project manage the creation and design of case studies for you.