9 Tips to Make Your B2B Case Study Stand Out
A solid case study is a powerful way for your brand to demonstrate what it delivers rather than just what it offers. They demonstrate why your business is an expert in its field, and lend credibility. However, many are so badly written they don’t actually inspire confidence in a brand, product or service.
We’ve included some quick top-tips to get across those important benefits – and make your case study stand out:
1. Get the Customer Onboard
Not every customer wants to participate in case studies. Try and sell the benefit of free publicity, or offer an incentive – perhaps waiving the delivery charge in exchange for a case study agreement. If the customer is fully onboard and understands the benefits, they are more likely to give you some great quotes and feedback.
2. Choose a Striking Headline
Most case studies start with an dreary headline, something uninspiring like:
“…Insert company name here…Case Study”
Make your case study stand out by selecting the most striking accomplishment for the article headline.
3. Write a Punchy First Paragraph
The opening paragraph is crucial. This is a single opportunity to engage readers and entice them onward. Opting for a tightly written, punchy tone that summarizes the most important benefits and savings is sure to score well – a strong statistic would work here.
4. Include an “Easy-Read” Fact File
Include a brief fact file at top. Outline in a few bullet points a summary of what the case study is about, what the industry is, who wrote the study, what the product is and maybe a striking benefit or two. Let’s face it, we don’t always have the time (or the patience) to go sifting through tons of information, so making your case study easy to digest will score you some serious brownie points.
5. Include Sub-Headings
A bit like the point above, sub headings make your case study easy to digest. Also consider the article length . Too short and the case study will likely lack the detail that makes it intriguing; too long and it won’t encourage people to read it.
6. Include Quotes
Include emtional quotes from the customer or client:
- First choice would be the chairman or another very senior executive – but who didn’t authorise the contract
- Alternatively the individual who set the framework or direction for the work to be done but who may not personally sign off the invoice
- Or perhaps the person who was responsible for the scope of work to be done and who also signed off the invoice
7. Include Statistics
It’s important to have numbers or statistics which back up and validate what you have delivered. This is the evidential basis part of the case study.
8. Avoid Jargon
Avoid jargon and sales spiel at all costs. Phrases like ‘global leader’, ‘market authority’ and ‘best-in-class’ are an instant turn-off for readers.
9. Say Why You Won the Business
Describe how the customer heard about your brand and solution, and the factors that led to your solution being chosen over competitors.
10. Describe Any Challenges
The section above can lead into any challenges posed by the project and how they were overcome. If you work in the telechnology industries don’t shy away from technology speak – most of the technology trade press actually bemoan the lack of genuine technical detail in case studies.
Here are some questions to set you on the right track:
- Did you scope the problem/issue?
- Did you produce a custom design?
- Did you do some initial analysis? (What were the findings?)
- Did you undertake a short research study or program?
At this part of the case study you need to include quotes from the customer and quotes from your own organisation that provide some “colour” to the story. Emotional language should be used here.
11. Focus on the Benefits
The next, and most important step, is to major on the benefits achieved for the customer and the ROI/savings accrued.
If possible, use financials, as hard cash always speaks loudest.
However, if this information is confidential then express in percentage terms. Where there are no financial benefits, focus instead on other advantages such as shorter turnaround, enhanced quality and better reliability.
12. Include Future Opportunities
This is a forward looking bit of the case study. It can be described in terms of competencies, capabilities, market position, market share, new product development, increase in productivity, decrease in risk or other such measurable benefits that link back to the other parts of the case study.
13. Seek Customer Approval
Always seek customer approval of the final draft. The last thing you want to do is piss off a hard earned advocate of your company!
It is always good to break away from linear thinking and consider expressing the case study through the medium of photography and video.
- This helps to add emotional intelligence in the way the story is told
- Is the most powerful way to assist in getting the audience to engage with the case study
There are many different approaches and uses for a case study.
Some are designed to support products and services, so that should be the focus of the the study. Others are a mechanism for delivering a powerful and compelling narrative that will be a hook or trigger for the customer.
Think carefully how you want to use the case study and format it in a suitable way. But always make sure it is clear and easy to follow.