Case studies put storytelling to work to generate conversions

Your brand is a promise you make to customers about how they should expect to be treated, and a case study shows how you keep that promise.

In fact, the best case studies emphasize storytelling and success — something we’ve all done and we all want to be part of.

What is a case study, anyway?

Let’s start with what it’s not. A case study is not a testimonial.

A testimonial might be just one or two sentences, a quote from a customer about what a great job your company has done. A testimonial is to a chicken nugget as a case study is to the whole bucket.

A case study tells the story of a challenge one of your customers faced and how your company helped them overcome it. It is a detailed account of how you achieved success in a specific situation.

What’s a case study good for?

Case studies are powerful tools. They turn leads into customers by showing your product or service in action.

Hastings College called on Christenson Cleaning and Restoration when the college discovered mold in one of its dormitories. IdeaBank wrote a case study showing how Christenson determined the extent of the problem, brought in specialized equipment and cleaned room heaters, carpets and surfaces to ensure a safe environment for students.

By telling a unique story of a problem solved for a client, the case study demonstrated Christenson’s expertise and helped establish trust with other potential customers.

No Project Too Big

Best known for carpet cleaning and janitorial services, Christenson Cleaning and Restoration (Hastings, NE) wanted to showcase their skills as EPA-certified mold remediation specialists, capable of tackling even the largest projects.



The 3 parts of a case studyHow do you create a case study?

Remember that all good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. With a case study, that translates into a problem, a solution and results.

Begin by thinking of the client and how the problem made everyday life more difficult for them. Of course, make sure the client wants to be the subject of a case study. The problem you helped them solve might be a touchy subject, so be sensitive and emphasize the positive.

Next comes the solution. This is where your business really shines. Detail not only the solution you offered but how you put it into action.

When it comes to results, numbers are great but not always necessary. For instance, IdeaBank wrote case studies for Central Nebraska Rehabilitation Services showing how their work improved the quality of life for patients. That’s a positive result you can’t put a number on.

Finally, cap things off with a clear call to action.

What else do you need?

The stories that resonate with us the most — whether it’s a ghostly yarn spun around the campfire or a bawdy joke whispered in the back row of class — have one thing in common: emotion.

Emotion engages the audience and helps them remember the story. That’s why it plays such a huge role in one's purchasing decisions. Emotion means the story mattered.

In our increasingly visual world, photos and video play a similar role. For many people, something just didn’t happen if there’s not a photo or video to document it, so visuals should accompany the text of your case study.

How do you make it work for you?

You might think of completing a case study like catching a tiger by the tail. Now that you’ve got it, what do you do with it?

Plenty, actually. There are a number of ways to get a case study out of your computer and before the eyes of the public:

  • Social media — With a photo or video clip, case studies make great social media posts.
  • Email — Include a portion of your latest case study in your next monthly email.
  • Website — Post the full text, photos and complete video and direct readers here.
  • Direct mail — Send the full case study to everyone on your list or target potential customers by purchasing relevant and credible mailing lists.
  • B2B — Target specific types of businesses that would benefit from your services.

Case studies tap into our basic need for stories to establish connections in ways that few other marketing tools can match. By providing insight into what we do and the way we do it, they establish the kind of integrity and credibility that turn leads into customers.

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