Check out the 6 elements of a great case study

If you’re keeping up with the essentials on digital marketing, you’re probably familiar with the concept of customer journey and the different stages it involves. When speaking of bottom-of-funnel contents, it’s impossible not to mention the elements of a case study.

A case study is a way of showing how your business’ solutions can help customers solve their problems. Besides that, a case study will tell an inspiring story about a successful instance and will make it easier to nurture and convert leads.

But how do you, actually, create that type of content? Making sure all the elements of a case study are there to convince and engage the audience is as important as telling a story. To make sure you cover all topics, in this article you will find out about:

Elements of a case study: building brand trust

The following elements are considered essentials not only because they make the content more pleasant and more accurate, but also because they make your brand trustworthy. They prove that your company goes beyond idealizations and implements practical solutions. Make sure this is all covered when writing a case study!

1. How to set up the strategy?

Any type of content you share should come with a plan. The customer journey itself is part of a bigger marketing plan, after all. Therefore, the first step to building a case study is establishing where you are going with it.

Of course, you want all the benefits that come with this material, but it is even better to define the main goals. Do you want to generate more leads, or maybe nurture the ones you already have? Assist the sales team or orient the public to take the initiative?

All of that can happen, but if you decide exactly what is better for your company at the moment, you can make the entire content leading up to that specific result!

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2. What is there to know about storytelling?

Ultimately, a case study is (or, at least, has to be) a well-told story. Even though you’ll need numbers and other kinds of data, actually what engages the reader is a good narrative. For that, you have to consider the basic aspects of storytelling: characters, scenarios, and beginning-to-end chronology.

The main character is, of course, the client in which the study is being based up. If you can’t or don’t want to use their real name, you can still give it a backstory and, if possible, even a personality. That is what’s going to make the narrative plausible and appealing, with a strong emotional connection.

The scenario is the situation in which your client was before meeting your company’s solution. Remember to make it realistic, so that anyone who reads it can imagine it happening to them.

With that all set, the story should fluidly be constructed. You will present a challenge in the first chapter, then move on to the solution found by the character, and finally, the results leading up to a happy ending.

3. Why do you use relatable testimonials?

If this is a B2B content, you may encounter a common problem: creating a face for a company. In this situation, the best way out is to work even more with testimonials, from owners to workers.

Yes, testimonials are some key elements of a case study, and they will appear no matter what. However, are they relatable? If your storytelling is based upon that, absolutely you should make sure that they are.

Once you get a chance to interview someone for the case study, choose the interviewee wisely. Who is the person most capable of telling valuable info about the time before, during, and after the use of your services? And who is the person that most resembles your target audience? Once you cross those lines, you will have found the perfect testimonial.

Therefore, when the conversation takes place, don’t forget to ask about both aspects that brought you to that person. You do need data, facts, and comparisons, but you also need to make the readers feel like they could be giving that testimonial themselves.

4. Why should you always use reliable data?

Even though storytelling is a major part of the process of writing a case study, it can not be mistaken with the average storytelling applied to other marketing strategies. Data is used in all situations, but case studies require a lot of specifics — not to mention you are talking about an existing client, and they will know if something is off.

You will have to gather every kind of fact, number, and proof before you start writing the content. Instead of just saying the client “doubled the results”, for example, include the exact numbers and graphics to show how and when that happened.

For this step, the collaboration with the customer being used as an example is massive. You just have to display proof of how they were before they had your product or service as a solution. If not, how will the reader believe that the results were so promising?

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5. What is the importance of interactiveness?

Going through 2020 and seeking for the best during the next years means one thing: interactiveness. More specifically, interactive content ― that is, if you want a differential to your case study.

We’re talking about a type of content that requires action from the audience. It has been some time since this trend started and it doesn’t seem like it’s going away anytime soon. Users like to be a part of the things they consume, whether it’s by commenting and making their voices be heard, whether it’s by being entertained.

There are a lot of different kinds of interactive media and content that your company can use on case studies. From apps and videos to quizzes and infographics, it all depends on how it fits with your services and the public.

Imagine presenting the reader with a way of finding out if the case study he just read can work out on his numbers? There’s an ROI calculator for that! Want to provide information that your company knows all about? Try an interactive white paper! The list goes on and on.

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6. How to choose the right channels to promote your content

Although it can — and should — be posted on your website and social media, a case study may be way more effective if spread to other channels as well.

For starters, send it to your sales team, along with a description and guidelines about the best circumstances to use it. Other coworkers should also have access to it, especially if they are frequently in touch with clients and potential customers. A link for the content can be placed on their emails’ signature, for example.

A few extra tips:

  • write a complementary blog post to attract traffic;
  • create landing pages or add the case study to relevant, existing ones;
  • place a button or banner on your homepage, leading to the right page;
  • send it as a part of your newsletter or as an exclusive email to all relevant contacts;
  • insert it into long presentations, when you feel it is called for.

Remember: there are great benefits to working on the elements of a case study

All of this may sound like a lot of work, but don’t lose focus on what is important: the results! Let us briefly remind you of some major benefits that come from successful case studies. We hope we can get you inspired.

It creates useful resources for the sales team

We said earlier that you should hand the case study to your sales team, and that’s no joke: it can help them a lot. Convincing strangers that they would be better off with your services is a hard task, but a good story with great data can, sometimes, do the trick.

It nurtures and converts leads

Since it is a bottom-of-funnel content, the case study will be the most strategic piece in the customer journey. Some leads can be generated, depending on the promotion put in place, but the number one task here is to finish the client’s journey. It will likely get him to feel convinced and make a move to buy that product that seems so good for others like him.

It reinforces the peer-to-peer influence

People are naturally skeptical of businesses talking about themselves. They want the content for learning about what you do but need other perspectives to find out if the company is reliable. A case study is just that: a way of showing your product does work, by the words of those who bought it.

It shows your brand evangelists

There is no better way of testing the quality of the services you provide than asking for customers to talk sincerely about it. When building a case study, you will inevitably find out who are the evangelists among your clients!

So those are all the benefits and key elements of a case study. Did you find this article helpful and want more on the subject? The next step is already here: discover examples of great case studies from ion!

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