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How to write compelling case studies for your business

Posted on Tuesday, 14 May 2019

How to write compelling case studies for your business

Case studies are a great way to show prospective customers how you have delivered real results on a particular work project.

However, there are a few pitfalls and mistakes to avoid when writing them.

In this blog, I’ll be taking you through my top tips for writing sparkling case studies that convince your readers to become new customers.

 
Focus on results

I’ve been writing and editing case studies for many years now. In my experience, business owners often make the mistake of focusing their case studies on the process involved in the project rather than the outcome.

Your reader does not need a day-by-day account of how you approached the project or who said what to whom. They are looking for evidence that your product or service can offer a tangible benefit to their business – and they want to find this information quickly.

So, did you save your customer money, help them solve a longstanding business issue or transform their management processes? What was it that you delivered that your customer couldn’t find elsewhere? Whatever the benefit, spell it out clearly at the top of the piece.

A little while ago, I wrote a case study for a consultant who had saved one of his customers £20,000. I didn’t know this initially because he didn’t mention it during our initial discussion and it didn’t feature in the raw notes provided. I only found out about this through a chance remark he made. Yet, it was the top selling point!

So, the headline was obvious in my mind.

“We saved our customer £20,000 in financial contributions.”

It's a pretty straightforward, but direct, headline that hits the reader between the eyes with a clear benefit at the get-go.

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Use photographs or illustrations

Illustrate your case study with photographs or animations if possible. As an example, I put together some case studies for a local builder. We interspersed the content with photographs of building projects at various stages of development – the images were a key part of the story. The builder had faced significant environmental challenges and it was helpful to illustrate these visually and, importantly, demonstrate the quality of his work. The words and pictures worked together beautifully.

Include some testimonials

I’m a big fan of testimonials. It’s fine to tell the story from your perspective but always back it up with some words from your customer.

Did your customer provide some words of thanks at the end of the project or could you ask for a testimonial now? Always check that your customer is happy for his or her words to be published and get this in writing. Importantly, include a named testimonial if you have permission for this. Unnamed testimonials just look so fake.

Don’t make false claims

This may sound a bit obvious but don’t exaggerate or make claims you can’t substantiate. It’s easy to get carried away when writing a case study but stick to the facts and make sure you can back up any claims you make. It could come back to bite you at a later date if you don't.

Keep it concise

Many writers fall into the trap of rambling in case studies. Standard copywriting rules apply here – keep your case study concise otherwise your readers will switch off.

The exact word count depends on whether you’re publishing the content online, in an advert or a magazine. I tend to write 300 to 500 words for an online case study on a customer website. This allows you to provide some background, add the main facts and a testimonial. You could certainly get away with a longer case study in a printed publication.

I often find it helpful to divide the case study into sections – along the lines of ‘The challenge’, ‘The project’ and the solution’. This helps to signpost the story in a clear way.

Include a call to action

Again, this may sound very obvious but always include a call to action in the piece otherwise it’s all wasted effort. You’ve told the story, explained how your delivered success and now you want your reader to get in touch.

Even if you’re publishing the story on your own website, make sure you include a strong call to action, leading them to a phone number, email address or your social media channels.

Follow these common-sense tips and you will be well on your way to writing a compelling case study that converts prospective customers into new customers.

Alternatively, give Bright Words a call. We've put together hundreds of case studies for all kinds of customers, from sole traders through to big businesses. You can see some examples on the portfolio page of this website. Call us on 07767 252464 or email@