Are you looking to revamp your content marketing strategy and wondering how case studies can fit into the mix? As digital marketing becomes more important, brands struggle to stay visible in a crowded marketplace.
To stay ahead of the game, businesses often turn to diverse content marketing strategies to engage their target audience. One of such strategy is the use of case studies, which provide real-world examples of how a product or service has effectively solved a problem for a specific customer.
By using case studies in their content marketing efforts, businesses can differentiate themselves and stand out in a crowded online space.
This post will provide a comprehensive overview of content marketing case studies, types, and their importance in a successful content marketing strategy. It will also delve into some examples of how businesses can use case studies in various content forms to achieve the best SEO results.
What Are Case Studies?
A case study is a detailed account of the development of a particular person, group, or situation that is studied as a typical or good example of something. In content marketing, case studies provide insight into how businesses have solved particular problems or reached specific goals.
Case studies are often used to evaluate a company’s products, services, or marketing strategies and to develop recommendations for improving them.
Case studies are used in other fields such as education to teach students how to analyze real-world situations and develop critical thinking skills, and in social sciences, and psychology to study a specific individual, group, or situation.
However, as beneficial as case studies are in different scenarios, they have limitations. One limitation of case studies is that they are often based on a small number of subjects, which means that the findings may not be reflective of a larger population. This can make it difficult to generalize the results of a case study to a broader group of people or situations.
Types of Case Studies
There are several types of case studies, and each one serves a different purpose and can be used in different ways in your content marketing efforts.
Illustrative Case Studies
Illustrative case studies provide examples of how a product or service can help help your audience understand a complex concept or idea, use a product, or solve a problem. A very good example of this is the Hubspot-Handled case study.
Hubspot is a software company that specializes in inbound marketing. Hubspot uses an illustrative case study to show how the home moving company, Handled, scaled from zero to over a hundred locations using Hubspot.
Explanatory Case Studies
Explanatory case studies can be used to explain how a particular product, service, or marketing strategy achieved a specific outcome. These case studies typically involve using quantitative data and statistical analysis to identify causal relationships and support the claims made in the study.
Salesforce, a leading customer relationship management (CRM) software company, published a blog post explaining how Citrix used its platform to streamline its sales processes and improve productivity.
Descriptive Case Studies
If your business is feature-focused, then your content marketing efforts should largely include descriptive case studies. Descriptive case studies are used to highlight the unique characteristics of a particular product or service.
A very good example of this is Herman Miller’s Better Experience for All case study. The case study describes how Herman Miller used data and analytics to measure the effectiveness of the Live OS system and identify improvement areas. The company found that the system was highly effective at improving comfort and productivity and that it had a positive impact on employee well-being.
Why Should You Adopt Case Studies in Your Content Marketing?
Case studies are arguably the most underutilized content format in content marketing. Only about thirteen percent of marketers say that they use case studies as a primary content form. Unfortunately, because businesses do not use case studies as often or as well as they should, they are unable to reap the benefits of using them.
Below are some of the reasons why case studies are essential for content marketing:
Build Brand Storytelling
Case studies enable businesses to tell more compelling stories that can be used to educate and inspire potential customers. No doubt, everyone loves a good story, and case studies can be just that. According to Stanford University marketing professor, Jennifer Aaker, stories are remembered up to twenty-two times more than facts alone.
Case studies allow businesses to tell stories that resonate with customers and help them become emotionally invested in the brand. This connection is often an essential factor in the buying decision process. The fact is, our brains are wired to be more receptive of stories, a biological engineering that can be helpful in marketing.
Provide Real-Life Examples
Case studies provide a tangible, real-world example of how a product or service works. These stories allow businesses to highlight the utility of their offerings and build trust with potential customers. A very good example of this is the Shopify-Bombas case study, in which Shopify includes a video and eye-catching images of Bombas’ products to highlight how their platform serves Bombas well.
By leveraging case studies, content marketers can project the utility of the product or service they are offering, learn more about their customers, and hold better control of their narrative in the market.
Offer Insight into Customer Behaviour
A case study can provide valuable insights into customer behavior by studying customer feedback, user stories, interviews, surveys, and other data types. This data can help inform future marketing campaigns or even product development.
They also provide much-needed data that can be used to assess campaigns’ success and inform future strategies.
They Offer Opportunities to Improve Products and Services
The majority of customers place a lot of weight on reviews they read about a product or service online. Studies show that about 93% of customers will read online reviews before making a purchase, with 47% spreading the word about a positive experience and 95% reporting a negative experience.
By studying customer feedback, businesses can identify areas for improvement and use those opportunities to make changes that will increase customer satisfaction. With the right data, businesses can use case studies to measure how their product or service has made a difference for customers and thus influence potential buyers.
Inform and Educate Your Audience
They can provide valuable insights and information that can help educate, inform, and engage an audience using an easy-to-understand, fun approach. Typeform, in one of its case studies, provided actionable tips for their audience to replicate the success of an agency that already uses their platform.
Valuable Tool for Generating Leads and Sales
As content marketing case studies help build credibility and trust with customers, they can be valuable for generating leads and sales. This is especially true when used with other channels such as email marketing, social media, and SEO campaigns.
According to Search Engine Land, 88% of customers look for social proof before making a purchasing decision. Putting your case studies where your potential customers can see them is a sure way to lead them back to your business.
Establish Your Business or Organization as a Thought Leader
Case studies can be used to showcase successes and demonstrate expertise. This helps establish a business or organization as a thought leader in their industry, which leads to more customers and engagement with the brand.
How To Create Compelling Content Marketing Case Studies That Work for You
Like every other aspect of your content marketing strategy, you must create case studies to fit your business’s specific marketing and branding needs. Creating effective and successful content marketing case studies requires strategic planning and attention to detail.
Here are some tips for creating successful case studies:
Identify a Specific Goal or Objective
Before you start writing your case study, it is important to identify a specific goal or objective that you want to achieve. This will help you to use your case study and ensure that it provides valuable information and insights relevant to your audience.
Choose a Compelling Subject
To create a successful case study, you need to choose a subject that is interesting, informative, and relatable to your audience. This could be a specific customer or client, product or service, or a unique situation or challenge.
Focus on the Customer’s Problem or Need
When crafting a case study, one of the most important elements is to focus on how your product or service was able to help the customer with their problem or need. This can help readers understand what challenges they might be facing and how your offering could provide a solution.
Collect Data and Information
To create a detailed and accurate case study, you must collect data and information from various sources, such as customer feedback, sales data, or market research. Make sure to include as much detail as possible, including specific numbers and statistics that support your case.
Write a Compelling Narrative
A successful case study tells a compelling story that engages the reader and provides valuable information and insights. Make sure to organize your case study in a logical and easy-to-follow manner and to use clear and concise language that is easy to understand.
Explain Your Solution
Make sure to explain the solution you provided and how it solved the customer’s problem or need. Include details on what made your product or service different from other solutions and any unique features or benefits included in your offering.
Use Visuals Such as Charts, Graphs, and Images
When creating a case study, it’s important to use visuals such as charts, graphs, and images to help illustrate and support your points. This can make your case study more engaging and help readers better understand your story.
Include Success Metrics To Show Impact
It is important to include success metrics that demonstrate the impact of your solution and how it was able to help the customer. These could include increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, or reduced costs. This information can be used to showcase the effectiveness of your product or service and provide proof that it can help others. The important thing is to connect your solution to the problem being solved.
Include a Clear Call to Action
A case study is an effective way to persuade your audience to take a specific action, such as making a purchase or signing up for a service. Make sure to include a clear call to action at the end of your case study and provide the necessary information and resources to make it easy for your audience to take the next step.
Storytelling Tips to Make Your Case Studies Stand Out
Storytelling is at the center of the way consumers make buying decisions today. As Arianna Huffington said, “people think in stories, not statistics, and marketers need to be master storytellers.” Storytelling has been shown to boost conversion rates by thirty percent when used effectively in content marketing.
When writing case studies, deploying some of the effective storytelling strategies highlighted below can make all the difference.
Create a Hero Out of Your Customer
In case study marketing, the focus must be on your customer always. Unlike other content marketing forms where you can shift the focus to general issues revolving around your business in order to link it back to your offering, a case study requires that you make your customer the center of attention. They are the hero of the story you are telling.
Highlight Their Problems and Humanize Them
Another important tip to follow is that you have to humanize your customers and make them relatable to your audience. You can do this by highlighting their problems and making it clear to your audience that your customer has the same problems they do.
Break Down Your Narrative
Like a bad novel, poorly written marketing messages are forgettable. To ensure your message resonates with your audience, pay attention to the rules of grammar and use appropriate figures of speech. Craft your message carefully, making it engaging and memorable for your readers.
Also, you have to make your story easy to digest. To make it easier to understand, break the process into smaller parts. Make sure there is a logical sequence from the customer’s desire or need, the challenges they face in fulfilling that need, and the final solution to their problem.
Focus on the Outcome Not Your Business
Nothing is more off-putting than in-your-face marketing. Ensure that your case study is distinct from a white paper on your business. You have to focus on the outcome of your hero and provide your reader with actionable tips to achieve the same outcome in their own circumstances.
Don’t Toot Your Horn
Lastly, resist the urge to toot your horn. Let your hero do it for you. Speak through your customer; use their voice or their words, as the case may be. Allow your audience to hear directly from your customers without being interrupted by your marketing.
Ways to Use Case Studies In Your Content Marketing Strategy
While case studies are one of the most popular content formats, you can share your case studies in different formats. Case studies can help support and strengthen your content marketing strategy in a number of ways. Here are some ideas for using case studies in your content marketing:
Use Case Studies as Blog Post Topics
You can use case studies as the basis for blog posts, focusing on how your product or service was able to help a customer or solve a problem. Your blog post can start on a general subject and then narrow it down to the specific product or service. Many brands use this approach as a part of their SEO strategy, and it works.
Incorporate Into Video Marketing
Video content is becoming more and more popular, and making videos based on case studies can be a good way to get people interested. According to data reported by Statista, over three billion people stream video content at least once a month, and the numbers are expected to increase significantly.
You can create step-by-step tutorial videos showing how a customer solved their problem using your product or service, or you could focus on the customer’s story by doing an interview.
Leverage Social Media and User-Generated Content
You can use case studies as the basis for user-generated content by asking customers to share their stories. This could be a video testimonial, a written review, or even an infographic that shows the most important parts of the story of one of your customers.
You can then leverage social media platforms to help get your user-generated content in front of your target audience. User-generated content is a cost-effective way to get compelling content for your business. Consumers are more likely to regard user-generated content as genuine and are more easily persuaded by them.
Add to Your Website and Landing Pages
Your website is usually your first point of interaction with your customers. You can add snippets of your case studies to the copy on your website. This could be in the form of a customer quote or an explanation of how you were able to help a customer solve their problem.
You can also use case studies as part of product pages, where you highlight features and benefits that have been proven through other customers’ experiences. Another way is to have a dedicated “case studies” page on your website where you can publish extensive case studies.
Include Case Studies in Email Newsletters
Despite the extreme popularity of social media, email marketing maintains the top spot as the most effective content marketing channel. Case studies can also be used as part of an email marketing strategy.
You can use customer stories to demonstrate the value and impact your product or service has had on customers’ lives, which helps build trust and loyalty among current customers and potential leads. Including a case study in your email content can be a powerful way to draw attention and engagement from your readers.
Feature Customer Success Stories on Social Media
Social media is a great platform to share customer stories. You can use short videos or images with quotes and captions to showcase your customers’ success. This is also a great way to build relationships with your customers, as they will appreciate you taking the time to highlight their stories.
You can also use social media platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat to share customer stories and user-generated content in an engaging way while tagging your customers, creating social proof in the process.
Include Case Studies in Presentation Decks
Using customer success stories in your presentation decks is a great way to show how valuable your product or service is. Whether you are giving a webinar, attending an industry event, presenting in a boardroom, or pitching to investors, including case studies can add credibility to what you are saying and help highlight the impact your product has had on customers’ lives.
You can use visuals such as infographics, customer quotes, and screenshots to help tell the story in a compelling way.
Highlight Customer Success Stories in Press Releases
Press releases are a great way to share your customer success stories with the wider world. You can use case studies to demonstrate how you have been able to help customers solve their problems and highlight the value they have gained from using your product or service.
This is also an excellent opportunity to showcase any awards, recognitions, or certifications your product or service has achieved, as it helps prove your credibility.
Create an Ebook of Multiple Case Studies
Case studies are great content pieces to include in an ebook. You can put together several case studies into a single ebook and use it as an effective lead-generation tool or offer it for free download on your website. You can also promote the ebook on social media or use it to boost engagement during industry events.
These are just a few ways to leverage case studies to help promote content marketing for your business. Utilizing customer success stories in these and other creative ways will help you stand out from the competition and build trust and loyalty with potential customers.
Actionable Tips for Creating Video Case Studies
Creating video content for marketing purposes can be tricky, especially if you are trying to show proof of value through case studies. As mentioned earlier, video marketing is one of the most effective content marketing formats; however, not everyone can use video marketing effectively.
When creating video case studies, it is important to keep the following tips in mind:
Make High-Quality Videos
If you present a low-quality video with terrible sound, your potential customers will form a negative impression of your brand. Show your customers that they can trust you to deliver the best outcomes.
Hence, everything you put out under your brand’s name must have quality attached to it. You do not need a fully equipped studio to create quality videos; invest in decent equipment and a professional to get the most out of it.
Use Questions to Drive the Narrative
When recording your videos, you should ask questions to segue into different parts of your narration. Questions like “What was Evelyn’s biggest challenge?” “What did Evelyn do next?” and “How was Evelyn able to solve her problem?” will help your listeners focus on the different parts of the video.
As much as you can, keep your case study videos short. This is not where you attempt to state all the compelling features of your product or service. Try to keep your videos below the three-minute mark by simply highlighting what is relevant and important. You do not need to provide a lengthy background on your customer if it does not add context to what you are saying. Keep it short and simple.
Insert Compelling Visuals
You can insert images and infographics into your video to highlight any information you think is important for your audience to retain. For example, if you are giving tips on how to get a certain process done, it would be helpful to have an infographic showing the steps in the video so your audience can take notes or take a screenshot for reference.
Choose Relatable Subjects
When making a video case study about a customer, make sure to choose a believable subject. While some customers may prefer anonymity, choose the most suitable “brand ambassador” to represent your brand in the case study video.
Edit Thoroughly and Share
Finally, do a thorough edit of your video and make sure you are presenting a well finished product. Share your case study videos across the different platforms that you use for your marketing efforts. Do not restrict yourself to one channel. Beyond your website and social media channels, consider paid marketing channels as well.
A Simple Format for Creating Case Studies
- Case Studies Checklist
- Have a compelling title for your case study
- Include details about your customer
- State the problem your customer is trying to solve
- Introduce your solution
- Show proof by quoting your customer
- Present data to support your case study
- Use visuals
- Include a compelling call to action
In a world where false advertising and extreme marketing practices have eroded trust, customers have become naturally skeptical of brands. That’s where case studies come in – they offer a valuable opportunity for others to vouch for your brand and prove your worth.
By showcasing success stories, you can demonstrate to potential customers that they can trust you to deliver the best results.
Remember, content marketing is about telling compelling stories and reaching the right audience. With the right strategy, case studies can be a powerful tool to make your content marketing efforts truly impactful.