Case studies for websites are classic problem-solution narratives. Learn how to write a case study and you can boost your website and business performance.
A case study shows how a product or service benefited an actual client, with data backing it up. With your product or service as the star of the show, you can convince new visitors to become customers.
Case studies have a great track record for appealing to new potential clients while keeping existing clients engaged. They provide a powerful way of showing, not telling, how your product or service performs in the real world, and they serve as compelling social proof.
Here is what you should know about case studies, including how to create them and how to follow them up.
Preparation for Creating a Case Study
If you work closely with clients, you may already know of one who experienced outstanding results. In these cases, you must first seek and obtain the client’s permission for writing up their experience.
If your customer base is spread out or remote from your company, you can include a poll or a form on your website asking if customers would like to participate in a case study. Then you would get their permission to be in your case study.
You may have many case study subjects to choose from. In these cases, select a case study participant based on:
- Their significant knowledge of your product, service, or industry
- The outstanding results they experienced
- Their high profile in your industry
- General celebrity status
- The subject’s decision to switch from another provider to your business
Choosing the right subject for your case study is the first step in impressing the people who will see it.
Creating a Case Study: Include These Key Elements
No two case studies are alike, so you can’t simply use one template for all of them. The best case studies will have these elements in order to benefit your website and your business the most:
A Powerful, Attention-Grabbing Headline
Just as your web articles and blog posts should have captivating headlines, so should your case study.
For example, “Retailer Reduces Inventory Costs by 30% in Six Months” is more captivating than “Retailer Overcomes Inventory Cost Problem.” The more specific headline gives readers something quantifiable to hang their hat on, prompting them to find out more.
Details About the Client
What type of business does your case study client have? How does the client fit into your industry? Is their challenge one that many of your other customers can relate to?
The more readers know about your case study client, the more relatable and compelling your case study will be.
Clear Description of the Client’s Challenge
Suppose your dental practice client wanted a smile makeover in time for his wedding. Your case study could discuss his concerns that would resonate with people.
Or maybe your carpeting client was tasked with recarpeting an office facility within a strict budget. People will naturally want to know how you helped them do so.
Describe your client’s challenges so that readers can visualize themselves in a similar situation.
Your Solution and Approach to Solving Their Problem
People want to know that you didn’t just treat your case study subject as a nameless, faceless entity. Discuss how you strove to understand their problem and the strategies you executed to make it happen.
Again, this helps put your readers in the client’s place, so they can imagine themselves solving a similar problem.
The Client’s Results, with Proof
Readers want to know more than just the fact that a client was “happy” with your product or service. They want proof.
You could give numerical data, such as how they achieved ROI in only six weeks. Or you could present before and after pictures.
Quotes or Testimonials from the Client
This is the kind of detail that imparts trust. People who are considering becoming your customers will feel more comfortable with direct evidence from a client who solved their problem with your help.
A few key quotes or a more in-depth explanation in the form of a testimonial goes a long way toward building trust.
How to Make a Case Study that Stands Out: Best Practices
Since case studies can be a valuable asset to your website, you should ensure that it meets your search engine optimization (SEO) needs. You can do that with the following steps.
Make Your Case Study Easy to Scan and Understand
Use the techniques you know from writing successful web content. Make it easy for your readers to take in at a surface level, and deeper, if they want to know more.
Since your case study is likely to be viewed on a web browser, you have to use the same principles you use with other web pages. Readers generally want to scan for highlights, then go back and read the case study in more depth.
Use Numerical Data Whenever Possible
Numbers quickly tell a story that has more impact than simple statements. For instance, “increased profit margins” doesn’t make as much impact as “increased profit margins by 5% within two weeks.”
Test Different Formats
Case studies in the form of documents are the traditional format. However, technology gives you many more options.
Your case study could contain a client interview as an episode of a company podcast, for example. You could even hold a video webinar showcasing the case study. Use web analytics to learn which formats are most effective for your target audience.
Make It Easy to Discover and Share
Your website navigation should make finding your case studies easy. You can also make your case studies easier to find by promoting them on social media.
You can even use analytics on your case study pages to determine where visitors come from. Adding social media “share” buttons on case study pages encourages people to share your case studies with other potential customers.
After You Write Your Case Study: Make the Most of It
Once you have several case studies, you can create a case study page on your website. Make sure visitors can find the page easily through your website navigation.
Some businesses write press releases about their case study and deliver them to people on their email lists. Others may focus their social media strategy on their case study for a time after they publish it.
The most powerful case studies not only follow up immediately after the client’s success, but they also follow up longer term. If your client got great results and is still using your product or service five years later, update your case study to include that information.
Here are some other effective ways to make the most of your case studies:
- Create PDF files for email or download
- Use in email marketing, newsletters, or add a case study link to your email signature
- Use case studies as subjects of blog posts or on relevant landing pages
- Make social media posts about case studies
- Link to case studies in your lead generation content
- Turn case studies into informative videos or SlideShare presentations for your sales team to use
- Use case studies when training new employees
Case studies can be remarkably useful and effective marketing collateral. Best Websites has experience in creating all types of website content, as well as experience in showcasing social proof on client websites.
Our goal is to help you turn your website into a business asset that turns visitors into real-life customers. If you would like to know more, we invite you to schedule a call with us.