What is a Case Study? An effective Marketing Tactic for Business
Since you might be familiar with the statement “Content is king,” you might already know that there are many types of content used in marketing out there. In order to stand out, you may ask, “what kind of content should you leverage?”
However, let’s think about it in this way: “what kind of content your customers want to read, listen, or view?”
They want the truth!
Among tons of content on eCommerce websites, they would prefer something credible, valuable, and influential. That’s how case studies appear as an incredibly powerful marketing tool.
In this article, I’ll go over what you should know about case studies and how to leverage them in your marketing efforts.
Table of Contents
- What is a case study?
- What is a case study in marketing?
- What does a case study look like?
- Where’s the proof that case studies work?
- Case study and testimonial, what is more effective?
- What are the benefits of case studies?
- How to use case studies on your website?
- How to use case studies off your website?
What is a case study?
A case study can be defined as intensive research into a specific case to understand its functionality and success. The subject of a case study can be a single individual, group, or event.
In general, showing a case study is telling a real story. For example, a case study in medicine can be a successful treatment, and a case study in business may be a particular company’s strategy. A case study of a product/ service is how the product/ service helps a customer achieve their goals. When you show up case studies on your website or social media to consolidate your products’ quality and incredibility, it somehow likes social proof.
What is a case study in marketing?
A persuasive proof by telling a real story
In marketing, a case study is a success story that one of your customers or clients has experienced direct positive results of using your product or service.
The success should be measurable by statistics, for example, a 10% increase, so that the prospects can see the real benefits and appreciate the tangible value that your product/ service provides.
What does a case study look like?
A story from beginning to a happy ending
Typically, the format of a case study is very similar to a short story of your product/ service. The structure of the story generally includes three parts:
- Introduction to the characters (a customer/ client)
- The plot (the problem the character is facing)
- The happy ending (how your products/ service helps the customer solve the problem).
The more engaging your narrative is, the more likely the audience will relate to, and the more leads you can generate at the end of the story.
Where’s the proof that case studies work?
Be proven to be proof
It is estimated that UK marketers take advantage of 12 various marketing tactics on average. And they used case studies popularly just after social media, newsletters, blogs, and website articles.
The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reports that 73% of B2B marketers believe that case studies are useful. The LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community ranks case studies in the top three content marketing tactics after blogging and social media content.
Case study and testimonial, what is more effective?
Although both case study and testimonial are the word of mouth marketing, the engagement effect of two tactics is significantly different.
Testimonials stop at generic praises
Testimonials are often very generic statements that praise your products/ services. However, the missing piece of the praises is that testimonials lack persuasive details. Therefore, testimonials commonly do not make the audience impressed and choose your product over your competitors.
Moreover, when many websites use testimonials more popularly, this kind of evidence becomes less persuasive to prospects. They can quickly skip the testimonial section on your website.
Case study, a story to draw a full picture
Assume that your business provides architectural designing service. Someone who is finding a designer to landscape their old apartment is less likely to be impressed by the testimonials saying how your design service is.
They want much more evidence, view the statistics, and hear other people’s real-life stories about their experience with your service. It’s time that is showing a case study is more likely to meet their demand.
A case study tells a story of a customer seeking your service to renovate their small apartment, with around 25-meter square. Another one shows how your designer turned a cramped space into a smart and spacious one with sliding wall partitions, color, and light mixture, and took advantage of multifunctional shelves. The second one will be much more attractive to potential clients. They are more willing to stay on your website longer to discover your service better.
A case study is more powerful to engage potential clients because it objectively provides evidence in a story from beginning to end, always along with details and statistics.
What are the benefits of case studies?
1. Feature your brand attributes
A case study helps a brand to exemplify their attributes effectively. The brand attributes are enforced objectively via a real story of a customer who is satisfied with your brand/ products.
In this way, case studies make your brand different from other competitors.
2. Help with thought leadership
Case studies are perfect to demonstrate thought leadership especially when you are positioning your brand as the solutions to your client’s problems. Case studies will work as valuable advice to their concerns.
The more case studies cover the most common issues that your potential clients are facing, the more likely they appreciate your expertise and trust your credibility.
3. Easy to come into life
It is much easier for the audience to identify, understand, and remember the benefits of your product/ service when they hear/ read from others.
4. Better chance for customers’ endorsement
Compared to direct advertisements, case study makes customers reassured and trust more in the brand’s credibility if they can see the genuine evidence of endorsement from other customers.
5. Friendly to SEO
Case studies provide relevant content (relevant keywords) to your website, which is friendly to search engines. Websites showcase the case studies regularly will be likely ranked higher than those that don’t.
6. Spread on multiple channels
Case studies can be published to different platforms such as newspapers for written content, youtube for video, Twitter, or Facebook for promotion.
How to use case studies on your website?
You know, case studies work and bring benefits to your brand. Here are ways to apply case studies on your website effectively.
1. Showcase case studies on the homepage
The homepage works as the living-room to welcome your visitors to your site. The prospects will take time to take a look at your home page before moving on to the next step.
So do not miss out on showing them the evidence of happy customers.
- Customer quotes/ testimonials
- A CTA (call-to-action) to view specific case studies
2. Use case studies on product pages
Each product brings specific benefits/ solutions to customers. The product pages/ landing pages will be more appealing to customers if they not only provide the features of products but also show the successful cases of other customers with your product/ service.
In this way, the audience will easily understand your product features and their benefits to real-life situations. The motivation to purchase is leveled up as a result.
3. Create case-study videos
Perform case studies in the form of videos will be more engaging because the content is illustrated in both images and sound. The audience is more likely to watch a video than takes time to read a lengthy case study.
Case study videos can be placed on the home page, product pages, landing pages, or any CMS pages to attract visitors.
4. Write blog posts about your case study
When you publish a case study, to expose the audience to it, you should write a blog post. However, remember that you should not center the blog post around your company, service, or product. Instead, the center stage should showcase the challenge, issue that a company faced and how they overcame, with the mention of the support of your service/ product.
5. Use a polite slide-in CTA
Commonly a huge, glaring popup at the center of a current page will make the visitors feel annoyed. To save the good experience of the users on-page while keeping showing your message is using slide-in CTA.
It is a good idea to apply a slide-in CTA on your product page with a link to a case study that profiles a customer who has got a pleasant experience with your product. This type of slide-in CTA is relevant and discreet, which motivates visitors to move on instead of disturbing them.
6. Build a case study webpage
When you have collected a large number of case studies, a dedicated webpage for housing them is necessary.
Give the page a clear name such as “Case studies,” “Successful stories,” to help customers find it easy.
Secondly, the structure of the case-study page should be logical and well-structured: Initial challenges, goals, process, and results.
How to use case studies off your website?
1. Use case studies on social media
Sharing case studies on social media are such a right choice of the content.
You can showcase your customer stories across your social media channels to engage your audience. As it’s your customers who say good about you, your audience will be more likely to trust what they say. It shows a good relationship between you and your customers.
When you share a case study, remember to mention and tag your customers in the post. This small trick makes them feel more involved in your content and show a special appreciation to them.
Another way is to update your cover image on Twitter or Facebook featuring your customers. Just combine multiple photos into a completed one showing your happy customers; your social profile will look more friendly, customer-centric, and trustworthy.
2. Add case studies to your email marketing
Email marketing continues being the top contributor to both B2B and B2C businesses when it comes to the return of investment. In 2019 alone, there were 293.6 billion emails sent and received each day. Your business can’t afford to ignore a tool as valuable as email marketing.
But, how your emails get attention among a massive number of emails out there? Use case studies.
Case studies can be useful to use in email nurturing. Also, when you want customers’ re-engagement, it’s a great way to get back their interest in your products or services.
3. Let your sales team use case studies
Buyers are more circumspect and knowledgeable now, so it’s pointless to call customers and just talk about the features and benefits of the product.
Instead, It would be excellent if your sales teams can reach out to customers with real case studies about how others succeed by using your products.
4. Turn case studies into videos
If you can afford it, and your customers agree with filming, it’s best to make videos of case studies. You can upload videos on your own Youtube channels and share it on other social media platforms such a Twitter or Facebook.
Videos are the future of marketing. No wonder, once your video receives recognition and engagement from your audiences, the benefits of it go beyond what you can imagine.
5. Share case studies as in-person or digital speaking
As I mentioned earlier, it’ll be more useful to let your customers talk about their experiences with your products than stating how good you are by yourselves. Let your customers expose their voices. They’re proud and happy to be a part of your business.
You can include your customers in many ways, for example:
- Off-line field events or trade shows
- Airing a podcast with your customers
- Host a webinar with your customers
- A live broadcast featuring your customers
Customers are at the heart of any business. So don’t ignore their stories. When customers love your products and your brand, they will be willing to shout out your good. Once they want to share with you, listen to them, and capture their words into valuable case studies that can help you captivate your prospects so effectively.
I hope that this article will be useful to you. And if you want to share with us your success stories with case studies, how you tap into this marketing tactic, we want to hear from you.