«Return to Blog List 6 Ways to Make Over Your Case Studies in 2018
Customer case studies and success stories are still among the most in-demand items in a sales rep’s toolkit. But to influence prospects, they have to be compelling and hard-hitting.
How do you create case studies that attract and keep the audience’s attention?
Here are 6 ways to help you get more eyeballs and more engagement on your customer stories this year.
#1: Customer quotes
A customer case study feels flat without the voice of the customer – AKA quotes.
It’s tempting and much easier to write a customer story without ever interviewing the customer – and many companies do. They source it from internal knowledge of the customer’s journey and then simply present it for the customer to approve.
But a case study without the customer’s actual voice is (1) not very engaging, and (2) not very credible.
Make the effort to capture customer quotes – preferably with an actual interview. But short of that, create the draft from internal information and leave placeholders for the customer to insert quotes during the review and approval phase.
Shoot for at least three types of quotes…
- The Challenge Quote – A comment that highlights the pains the customer experienced
- The Decision Quote – A quote that explains why the customer chose this vendor or product
- The Results Quote – A statement summarizing the primary benefit the customer experienced. Make it good because you’ll want to reuse it in social media channels and other marketing efforts.
Storytelling always has a place in communicating, even with an audience of engineers.
Take your audience through the journey of another customer:
- Why did the customer’s challenge demand attention or a resolution?
- Why was this solution the right one?
- How did the engagement go? Were there any setbacks or challenges to work through?
- What are the outcomes? How is the customer better off?
For an even more engaging case study, focus on an individual at the company. Take a pseudo Hero’s Journey approach by focusing in on the experience of one key individual. In doing so, you help the audience see himself or herself in that “hero.”
#3: The Human Touch
Don’t be afraid to show emotion – even in technology case studies. By revealing the true challenges and concerns of a customer, you help forge a connection with the reader, who likely faces something similar.
To elicit emotion from customers, ask questions such as…
- Was there a motivating event that led you to look for a new solution?
- Can you provide an example of how this really affected you or the business?
- What was going through your head at the time?
- What’s your workday like now compared to before?
- Can you tell me about a time when it was clear things had changed for the better?
Take a look at a few “human” quotes from actual case studies:
“Honestly, it had been a good couple of years since I had a full night’s sleep. I had to keep track of calls and emails coming in pretty much all night long.”
“When I saw the demo, my jaw dropped.”
“When a vice president began calling it ‘The Bermuda Triangle,’ it really hit home that we needed to improve our infrastructure and streamline our processes.”
#4: Clear Results
More than anything, audiences want to see the concrete benefits of working with you. Sure, most case studies talk about results, but they (a) don’t present them in a compelling way and (b) they get buried in the story.
Make it easy for the audience to see these results at a glance – without having to comb through a story or watch every second of a customer video.
Include results in multiple places:
- The headline – Place your #1 result here
- The sidebar summary – Always include a sidebar with highlights
- Subheads – Use body-copy subheads to feature more results
- Body copy – Emphasize results in the story, with a goal of including several key numbers
Hard numbers hit home the hardest with prospects, but what if you can’t get anything measurable? Talk about qualitative benefits through customer anecdotes. Get the customer to share with you how life is better now and capture that in quotes.
#5: Eye-catching graphics
Case studies have come a long way. Today, many feature billboard-style images, photos of interviewees, infographics, graphical results call-out boxes, featured quotes and more. Extend graphics to your case study-related social posts for higher engagement.
Check out just a few examples:
#6: Keep it tight
Help your audiences grasp the take-away as quickly as possible. Employ descriptive headlines, subheads, pull-out quotes and a concise story.
What length is right? Enough to tell the story. In short, capture a customer’s journey with the information that prospects need to support their decisions – and do so in a concise way.