Extensible, relatable, shareable, demonstrable: Why the case study is a perfect marketing tool.

Several months ago, a client contacted me to write a long-form case study on a major project she’d just completed with great success. I hadn’t written too many case studies before—I’m guessing because it’s a labor-intensive marketing tool that takes a bit more effort than shorter pieces of content like e-mail campaigns, social media posts or website landing pages.

After completing Stephanie’s case study, however, I’m convinced case studies are something all of my clients should be doing. 

here’s why:

  • Case studies are extensible, meaning they can be repurposed into various other forms of content with little effort. Stephanie’s case study translated to a multi-part series of e-mail messages directed to her prospects. She also used the same case study as a basis for several social media posts. We completed the study more than six months ago, and she is still deriving new content from it.
  • Case studies are shareable, meaning they are meaty, no-fluff content that your prospects will find valuable and worthy of liking, sharing, saving and forwarding. When you put valuable content out there, your readers will help you spread the word because it makes them look smart and helpful (just like you!).
  • Case studies are relatable, meaning your best prospects will see themselves and their challenges in your case study without being beat about the head with overt sales messages. The case study is simply a vehicle for saying, “We solved this kind of problem for this kind of client.” The prospect will connect the dots and conclude that you can solve the same kind of problem for them.
  • Case studies are factual. Too much marketing is filled with fluff—including claims that can’t be substantiated (“best in class”) or traits that can’t be measured (“quality service”). A case study is quite the opposite. It’s a no-fluff piece that focuses on the client, the client’s problem, what you did to fix it, and how effective your solution was. You can’t really hide behind empty claims in a case study, and your prospects will recognize that.
  • Case studies are demonstrable. Best of all, case studies showcase your expertise as applied to a real client problem. They provide an opportunity to demonstrate industry knowledge, and to outline your thought process and approach—all of which are increasingly important to prospects who are trying to choose among seemingly similar service providers.

Case studies don’t have to be hard to create! Stephanie knew she didn’t have time for the task (and she’s a designer rather than a writer), so she turned it over to me. I did an hour-long phone interview with her, and another (30 minutes to an hour) interview with her client. I outlined the content to make sure we hit all of the key points that needed to be conveyed, and used the client’s own words (often as quoted testimonials) throughout the study. I drafted the piece, we edited it, and shared it with the client for approval prior to design and publication. Stephanie released the study to the web, and it continues to provide mileage for her targeted marketing efforts.

Ready to prove your value, backed by the substance of a case study?

Get in touch and let’s discuss how this marketing tool can work for you.

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