How To Use Case Studies And Why They Grow Your Small Business

by Emily Retherford

2 min read

If multiple neighbors detailed the crispy lobster poutine with decadent brown butter cheese sauce that magically doesn’t get soggy, you’re more likely to trust multiple, personal recommendations than you would if you saw a sign outside of the restaurant that says “Try our poutine!”Personal accounts and data are easier to trust than just taking someone’s word for it. This is why case studies are so powerful.

What Is a Case Study and Why Does It Work?

A case study captures a real-life scenario in which your business provided a solution to a customer using the customer’s testimonial and data to support your success. Case studies have been proven to be the most effective content type. They can be done in a variety of formats, from PowerPoint slides to video, but they’re traditionally written out in a one- to three-page document. It’s best to use a tone that’s consistent with your brand voice, but try not to over-flourish the case study; it should be approachable and easy to digest. Case studies are effective because they show the value of the service you’re providing in rich detail. The storytelling technique is effective at communicating why the reader should be a customer by allowing them to relate to the situation.

What Should A Case Study Include?

A case study should cover all of the fundamental aspects of the business situation:

  • Give some detail about the client business or customer.
  • Describe the business challenges, goals, or needs.
  • Provide detail about the solution you offered.
  • Showcase data and/or customer quotes that support how effective the solution was.

For instance, if you’re in custom remodeling, your case study could be the deck and screen porch addition to a customer’s home that you completed. You could describe the project, show the plans and a few before-and-after photos, and include data-based information, such as the amount of time it took to complete the project, the project cost, and how many neighbors asked for consultations following project completion. It would also include a few quotes throughout the document from the customer about why they chose your plans and why they were pleased with the results.

How Do You Use a Case Study?

It’s important to have your customer’s approval on what you include and plan to disseminate publicly. Once you have the go-ahead and a final draft, it’s easy to use case studies to help grow your business. Case studies can be used in a variety of ways:

  • Attach a case study to a cold email or send it once a contact shows interest in what you do.
  • Include it as a downloadable file on a dedicated case study page or on another page of your website.
  • Use a video on your YouTube channel or on the landing page of your website.
  • Feed your social media stream with regular case studies.
  • Include them in a brochure as a leave-behind after you meet with clients or have sales meetings.

Once you complete your first case study, think of ways to incorporate the information-gathering portion into your work process so that it’s easier to produce case studies in the future. Also, think of ways to repurpose the content you gathered by using statistics in social media posts and customer quotes on your LinkedIn page.

References & Resources

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