19th April 2018 Claire Hawes

Why customer case studies fail. And how to fix them

Learn why it pays dividends to take time and effort to research and write customer case studies.

Can I be honest with you?

If you don’t involve your customers in customer case studies, then your case studies end up devoid of the useful information needed to help prospective customers in their decision-making.

Sadly, I see so many customer case studies where:

  • Jargon the case study subject wouldn’t recognise is used to explain the problem.
  • Without an understanding of the problem, the case study lacks a sense of urgency or suspense.
  • As a result, the solution is bland and boring
  • Clearly, a marketing department cobbled together the customer quotes, thus rendering the quotes insincere.
  • Cheesy quotes from a salesman fill the gap where the most compelling part of the case study, the results should be.

I know what you’re thinking.

Customer case studies take time to put together and approve. Moreover, you worry that customers won’t have time to devote to promoting your products.

But consider this.

Customer case studies tell stories of real customers in real language your customers speak. As a result they:

  • Open doors by giving your sales messages purpose, context and relevance
  • Reinforce your credibility by showing how real people use and benefit from your products/services
  • Give you plenty of statistics and quotes you can use across your website and other marketing efforts.

And if that’s not enough, you can break customer case studies up and use them to reinforce the messages in pretty much all of your marketing communications:

  • Point of sale materials
  • Marketing collateral
  • Website
  • Presentations
  • White papers
  • Newsletters
  • Blog posts

And so on.

So what can you do to create a compelling case study?

1. Identify an angle

What would hook people to read your customer case study? Instead of focusing on tired sales messages, is there a different way you can show how your service indeed benefited your customer?

2. Tell the story from your customer’s point of view

Set up an interview with your customer. Start with questions about your case study subject’s background. Follow up with questions about your customer’s challenge, journey, your solution and the results.

Then tell the story in a logical flow.

3. Back up your story with numbers

Be as specific as possible. To compel people to read your case studies, insert plenty of detail.

4. Present your customer case study in an easy to read format

Help skim readers move through the copy with:

  • Sub-headings
  • Bullets
  • Images to paint a picture of the story
  • Pull out quotes
  • A side-bar summary

And don’t forget to include a call to action in the case study footer.

In short, customer case studies tell stories from your customer’s point of view. That’s what makes them persuasive.

What’s more, you can use case studies to support every stage of your sales process.

So don’t skimp on the detail. And don’t pad your case study with jargon.

Take the time to properly research and write up your case study.

Trust me; it’ll be worth the effort.

And finally

If you would like help putting together case studies, then do get in touch. I have a tried and tested process that allows me to write compelling case studies, so you don’t have to.

Claire Hawes, copywriter and owner of The Content BoutiqueAbout Claire Hawes

Claire Hawes is a marketing communications copywriter. She enjoys writing engaging copy that helps businesses to get noticed and attract enquiries. Claire’s experience mainly lies in the business to business sector. Her clients include both businesses and digital marketing agencies.

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