One of the best ways to land a new customer is to prove that you have what it takes to do the job they are looking for. To that end, it's no secret that many companies have a whole page of their website dedicated to case studies.
These deep dives into the benefits you've brought to your customers and the strategies you took to get there are a great way to show off what you can do. In this post, we'll show you how to make and use website case studies for maximum effect.
Benefits of Case Studies
Before we get into how to create a winning case study, let's take a look at some of the reasons why you'd want to create one in the first place. The benefits of case studies go beyond the obvious; these are versatile tools that will improve many facets of your marketing effort.
- Marketing Copy — As mentioned in the intro, case studies usually get their own page on a website, but snippets from the case studies you create can find their way into almost any marketing materials you create. They provide an excellent way to showcase both your talent, and your experience in your field.
- Social Proof — With as many options as there are available now, customers aren't going to take a chance on someone without some proof that they can live up to expectations. For quick hits, testimonials with a name attached that prospects can reach out to are great for providing this kind of proof. But case studies provide a deeper look, and more thorough picture, of why your company is the one for the job.
- Content Marketing — Content marketing is great for getting more eyeballs on your site and bringing attention to the knowledge you have of your industry, but with the demand for content everyone's post can seem like a rehash of everyone else's. Every case study is just as unique as the job it was based on, making case studies a perfect addition to your content marketing strategy.
- SEO — Content marketing is a great way to draw readers to your site and get them into your sales funnel, but it serves a strong SEO purpose as well. Every case study posted to your website will get indexed by major search engines, providing more opportunities for your site to show up in search engines. Better still, case studies tend to naturally contain a lot of keywords specific to your industry, so they'll rank will with little effort.
The Outline of a Case Study
Creating a good case study means giving the reader all of the important information they need to judge the work you did for your customer. You can read case studies from the competition to see the types of things that are usually included for your particular field of work. In general, a case study should include the items covered in the outline below.
- Title — The title should tell readers whether this particular case study is relevant to their needs. To accomplish this, briefly include the problem and results in the title.
- Introduce the Client — The customer you've created the study around is the subject of the story. Like any good story, the subject should be well-defined. Potential customers need to understand, and hopefully relate to, the client you'll be telling them about. Here is where you tell readers who the client is and what they do.
- Explain Their Problems — The subject of the cast study came to you for a reason. What pain points were they experiencing? Which ones were they expecting you to solve? The more information you can provide, the easier it will be for readers to relate to the customer and evaluate your solutions.
- Describe Your Solutions — Now is the time to talk about your business for a while. Explain to the reader what solutions you came up with to the problems you were tasked with solving. Again, going into as much detail as possible will help potential customers evaluate your skill set better.
- Reveal The Results — Finally, show the reader how the solutions you came up with solved the problem. This section should include any relevant data and metrics that illustrate the success of the project.
How to Create Effective Website Case Studies to Showcase Your Success
Knowing the basics of what to include in a case study will get you off to a great start, but if you want the most effective story, you'll need to know a little bit more. Below are some tips you can use to craft a more compelling case study that converts more customers.
- Match Buyer Personas — Your marketing department already knows the importance of buyer personas. The case studies you present are just like any other bit of marketing you may do; they will be most effective if you are targeting them to your most lucrative buyer personas. For case studies, this means selecting subject clients that closely align with one of your personas.
- Follow Good Storytelling Principles — We've already referred to the case study as a story and the client as the subject of the story a few times now. This is for good reason. Case studies need a clear beginning, middle, and end, just like any good story does. If you follow the outline above, half the work to getting there is already done for you. Your case study should be informative, but don't get so caught up in making it informative that you forget to make it engaging.
- Format for Easy Scanning — A large wall of text can be off-putting, and it can also make it harder for readers to quickly find the information they are looking for. When writing your case study, be sure to break up large paragraphs and use bullet points, images, and other formatting techniques that will make the document easier to scan.
- Be Specific — The people reading your case studies don't want to guess about the results that you actually achieved, and if they don't know you, they aren't likely to trust your use of adjectives to tell them. Instead of being vague or using percentages that can mask actual results, give the reader raw numbers, so they can see exactly what you were able to accomplish for other customers like them.
Making the Most of a Case Study
Creating a good case study takes a fair amount of planning and work. After that work is completed, be sure to get the most benefit from it. To do that, you'll need to stretch the utility of that case study by using it as often as possible, and in as many different formats as possible. Below are some typical ways companies use case studies after they've been created.
- Have a Dedicated Case Studies Page — Many of your competitors probably already have one of these. A dedicated page for all your case studies will help potential customers quickly do their due diligence on your company as they research their options. Because needless friction can lose you customers, you want to make this page easy to find and navigate to from your homepage.
- Use Parts on Your Homepage — The fact that your case studies have their own page doesn't mean you can use information from them on your homepage. Important quotes from some of the studies, or even just prominent links to the ones with the most engaging titles will reduce friction in finding the case studies themselves and provide some immediate social proof to new site visitors.
- Place Them Strategically on Landing Pages — Website case studies can be used on landing pages in the same way they'd be used on the homepage. However, they can also be more highly targeted on landing pages. Case studies that deal with the subject of the landing page can be more effective on that page that they are on the homepage.
- Blog About Them — You case studies can already become a part of your content marketing strategy, as we've discussed. But they can be expanded to do double duty if you write a blog post detailing the case study. Blog posts can be much more succinct than the actual case study while still linking back to it so readers who want to take a deeper look have that option.
- Create a Video From Them — Video should be a part of every business's content marketing strategy by now. It's a hugely popular medium and preferred by many people over reading. Creating a video from your case studies and posting it will expand your audience and stretch the utility of your work.
Figuring out exactly how a website case study fits in with the overall design of the rest of your site can be difficult. You want to make the most of the work you've put into creating it, but don't want to just throw information out there where it doesn't make sense, or it doesn't provide the best utility. This is where the expertise of a web design firm like PixelFish comes in. Our web design clients benefit from our extensive knowledge about how to craft a website that converts more visitors into customers. If you'd like to see how PixelFish can improve your company's website, contact us today and let's start the conversation.