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7 simple steps to writing a case study

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How to write case study

Why is writing case studies gaining momentum on websites and social media platforms? It’s all very simple, since this approach allows you to display offers and solutions to convince visitors of how your business can change lives for the better. A good case study will turn many readers into customers. The following tips will help you write a case study so that one example can create an inflow of clients in the future.

What is a case study

A case study is an approach to research, and it is widely used in businesses today. To write a good case study, you need to present your client’s experience and mention how your solution has boosted their business growth.

Even though it may seem that such a story is nothing short of nice, rather than a promotion technique, consider the fact that 90% of leads are inspired by it. Nothing elevates a spirit more than your neighbor’s success.

Other than that, case studies: 

  • Make your offer more convincing, since 92% of people adore stories and visualize someone else’s success as their own.      
  • Present a niche-specific analysis, which can grow your brand’s authority and establish you as a leader within the niche. 
  • Give clear answers as to why customers should buy your product, because they show in practice how your business solved someone’s issue.
  • Are social proof that really works since 72% of customers look for reviews before making a purchase.
  • Might be a great development path for your blog, because writing a case analysis for every major client you have may inspire more successful stories.

Watch this video to learn more about the case studies:

Writing a case study in seven steps

If you want to write a business case study, consider the patterns that all successful examples follow. It should be a coherent story with clear examples, numbers and no off-topic paragraphs.

There are some great tips below to help you build a case study in an engaging manner, inspire visitors and get them to decide in your favor. To start off, get some inspiration from the Discover Car Hire case study.

1. Define the purpose of your case study

The general purpose of a successful case study is to ensure readers see the benefits of using your product. It should reflect how your business can solve their issues in a fast and cost-efficient way. 

Particular goals depend on your business objectives: whether you want to sell a physical or a digital product, for example, encourage people to subscribe to your blog or join your membership website.

To write a case study report, it’s crucial to find a target audience that would be interested in your client’s story. They should have the same kind of issues and pursue similar goals. 

2. Choose the perfect candidates and obtain their permission

What makes a good case study? Credibility is the first thing to focus on, that’s why it’s never good to invent fake stories.

You need to choose one good real example that would be related to most of your potential customers, whether it is a B2C or B2B business. But, how can you pick the right one for your case study outline?

  • First, pay attention to candidates whose experience relates to the case study goal. For example, to attract subscribers to your travel blog about cheaper flights, try to find readers that managed to save up a lot of money due to your “tip-off.”
  • Then, focus on customers who have purchased your product multiple times, which would prove that you are the best within the niche, and on clients, who have undergone the most dramatic positive changes.

Once a good example is found, it is important to obtain their consent. A client might not agree with putting their example on display for many reasons, so contact them and explain the benefits of creating a case study based on their experience.

One advantage is free, high-quality advertising of your client’s business by means of a case study, which few people would refuse.  

To obtain the approval and make the story in the shortest possible time, send your candidate a letter including all the necessary details such as:

  • Request for their permission to use their experience as an example, followed by a list of the addressee’s benefits.
  • A description of the process and its approximate timeline.
  • Factual information about your client’s success. To develop a case study, you’ll need a lot of numbers because they will build the credibility of the story.  

Don’t forget to request that they sign a legal release form as official permission to use the information to avoid any misunderstanding later on.

3. Find the angle

After finding the right candidate, or in order to choose from several clients who agreed to share their experience, try to find the best angle for your story. It should show your client’s success as a direct consequence of collaboration with you, not as a coincidence.

Focus on the issue that your product has solved, explore its roots, negative influence on the client’s well-being, and the reasons why no other company has been able to solve this problem.

Then, prepare to describe the process of implementing your solution in detail, followed by practical tips, which could be useful for future customers, and describe a positive outcome.

4. Prepare questions and schedule the interview

When the subject of your case study has agreed, it’s time to send a questionnaire to obtain the necessary data. First of all, you’ll need to explore your customer’s business to be able to analyze it later. Try to cover the next points in the interview:

  • The industry/field the company/person works in
  • The period of time using your product
  • The specs of the customer’s workflow
  • The number of people that are engaged in the workflow
  • The objectives that the customer sets for team/employers

To format a case study, explore the influence of your solution on your customer’s business. It’s crucial to capture the following aspects:

  • The customer’s goal as a businessperson or a company
  • The problem your customer has met
  • The reasons for choosing your product
  • The way your product has helped a customer
  • The level of success and its results
  • The metrics that display real success

Interview the customer in person or via Skype, depending on your location. 

5. Write the case study

After collecting information from the client, it’s time to start the case study. There are multiple industry-specific instructions available on the internet, but they all have one pattern in common.

Find the best template and layout

It all depends on your goals. For some business, a plain white paper is the best solution, as they want to focus on numbers, while for others, especially creative niches, design elements set the right tone. Anyway, try to illustrate your story with photos, videos, podcasts and other infographics to engage all perception channels of your readers.

Structure a case study

A good structure makes any text readable and easy to understand. Here are elements that every case study should have: 

  • Title
  • Subtitle
  • Overall description
  • Introduction of the subject (a company or an individual)
  • Problem/Challenges
  • Objectives
  • Solution
  • Results
  • Supporting elements (visuals, real numbers, quotes, etc.)
  • Epilogue (your plans, intentions, etc.)
  • Call to action

All case study sections should be powerful, clear and convincing. Place special emphasis on call-to-action since it makes people continue to study your product, increases their interest and has a direct bearing on the conversion rate.

6. Show the role of your business

To make a case study useful for your company/business, tell more about your role in the customer’s success. They should still be in the spotlight, but try to choose such an angle that would highlight your business’ direct influence on this success. A big mistake would be to make it all about you or just about your client, so try to combine both perspectives. Readers can get so attracted to your client’s success, they want to try it on, and only when they clearly see benefits should a call to action come in.  

7. Publish and promote the case study

What does a case study look like? You can format it as a downloadable PDF, a website page, slide presentation or a high-quality video. Whatever format you choose, it will be important to use promotion techniques after publishing the work. 

The channels of promotion depend on the case study format. For example, if you write up a case study as infographic, think of Pinterest first, or opt for YouTube if you’ve filmed a good video.

Regardless of the format, create a blog post presenting a summary of the case study and ask readers to leave their contact details in exchange for the full version. It will help you build an email list and promote your product later on.

Then, post this summary on social media and include it in your email newsletter to cover a wide audience. These are just a few techniques to promote blog posts.

Creating a case study

Now, you have all the basic information to take the steps to create a great case study for increasing your conversion rate.

It does not matter what format you prefer: video, podcast or paperwork, as long as it is done properly and presents the case as a win-win solution for both your case study subject and your business.