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customer case studiesCustomer case studies fall into that realm of highly effective marketing strategy that can be a real pain in the butt to write.

I speak from experience.

Having written many thousands of marketing emails, hundreds of blog posts, and a few dozen eBooks and white papers, I can certainly say that writing customer case studies challenges the writer on many levels.

Here are just a few:

1. Finding a Happy Customer Who is Willing to Go On Record

This one’s a biggie.

And it’s probably one of the first battles you face.

It should be easy.

I mean, if your product or service is truly top notch, you’re going to have happy customers…right?

But in my experience, many of these customers refuse to go on record, even though it’s free publicity for them.

Here are some of the reasons your customers might say “no” to being a part your customer case study:

  • Privacy: Companies are sometimes very protective of their company name and logo.
  • Competition: Some simply customers don’t want to go on record. They fear they might be giving away too much information. Information their competitors might use to their own advantage.
  • Squeezed for Time: Who hasn’t been there? Time is the ultimate resource, and participating in a customer case study can eat up a bunch of it. The customer interview alone takes about 45 minutes. Then, they need to review the first draft. If there is another draft, they will need to look at that as well.
  • Legal reasons: There may be legal reasons, such as a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that prevent the customer from being able to participate.

How do you increase the likelihood of one of your customers saying yes?

Build strong relationships with your customers and keep those lines of communication open. Be the first to reach out with your satisfied customers. Explain the benefits they stand to gain when the case study is completed.

2. Defining the Story and Objectives:

Customer case studies work extremely well when your product or service is complex, or has a lot of layers.

Unfortunately, this also makes it hard when you need to define the objectives of your customer case study.

It’s super important you take away key details about your customer experience. You also need to truly understand where your customer comes from.

“Customer case studies work extremely well when your product or service is complex, or has a lot of layers.”

You then match up the customer’s story with the marketing goals of your company. If you don’t create a well-defined structure and purpose, your case study may fall flat. It will lack focus and may not connect with your target audience.

There is a remedy…

Identify the primary goals of the case study. These can be goals such as showcasing a specific product feature or addressing a pain point. During the interview, gather relevant information and anecdotes that you need to tell the whole story.

Use storytelling techniques to build an emotional connection with readers. Make sure the story matches up with the goal you set for your company.

3. Balancing Detail and Brevity:

Customer case studies contain a lot of information in very few words.

Your writing needs to be sharp—to the point. Still, your target audience needs to be able to relate to it. For this reason, I can’t overstate how important it is to know this audience well.

How much technical information or industry jargon is necessary? If you use too much, you risk alienating your prospects.

On the other hand…if you omit certain details, you undermine the credibility and effectiveness of your case study.

Too many case studies get this wrong…

Your case study is a story, first and foremost.

“Your writing needs to be sharp—to the point. Still, your target audience needs to be able to relate to it.”

Don’t focus on technical stuff alone. Instead, share the story of how your customer used your solution and came out on top.  Simple language works best, and it makes your case study easier and more enjoyable to read.

And you need measurables…

By that I mean hard numbers that show how your customer’s business has improved using your solution. You typically express this in terms of:

  • Time savings (“What used to take 8 days now takes 1 hour…”)
  • Revenue increase (“20% increased revenue in six months…”)
  • Increased productivity (“Production is up 17%…”)
  • Money savings (“Operational costs decreased 49% in one year…”)

Keep in mind some people are more visual. Include content like infographics and charts to make sure your audience understands on a deeper level.

Challenging—but well worth the effort…

Writing effective customer case studies is undoubtedly challenging, but the rewards are worth the effort.

When done well, case studies can serve as powerful marketing tools. These tools influence potential customers and build trust in your brand or solution.

Find customers who are excited about being a part of your customer case study. This makes your job a lot easier.

The same is true with goals. They need to be sharply defined, and your writing must walk a fine line.

Your case study must not only be easy to read, but is full of valuable information. If done effectively, this information will appeal to your target audience.

Editor’s note: Customer case studies are a time-tested and proven method to build trust in your products/services. Contact us to learn how we can help you put this powerful tool to work for you.

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