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How to write cracking case studies

Case studies: a narrative tool that is content gold for you and your suppliers



by
Software development, strategy & technology
 

When we finish up a web development project, we often ask clients if we can use them as a case study. Case studies are essentially the story of what the client needed from us; what we did; and the results the client got.

Why put case studies on your website?

Case study narratives show future clients that real people – like them – and organisations – like theirs – have successfully used our web development services. It shows in real, human terms the sorts of problems and pains we can solve, and the sorts of improvements we can make.

We can also use case studies to reflect on our own processes and to learn more about the benefits we bring to our customers. We sometimes find that case studies articulate a pain point and its solution in a way that is new to us.

Case studies also show off our successes, and let potential customers know about our web development work in and around Sevenoaks. They also show that clients were pleased enough with the way we worked together that they are happy to shout about it!

So, what makes a good case study subject?

The best case studies should be about your ideal client. As we’ve mentioned, case studies help potential customers align themselves with your product or service. So, if you want to attract a particular kind of customer, describe your work with others in the same group.

A good case study is generally about a successful project. It’s easy to write with enthusiasm and passion about a project that went well. This is less so with a project that was trouble from the start. But even less successful projects have something to teach us and it may be worth going through the case study process to see if you can learn anything from the project narrative.

Content Marketing Institute has some ideas for getting past the various barriers to getting clients to participate in a case study.

What does a well-written case study look like?

A well-written case study looks a lot like any well-written content. It should be:

  • organised (use headings, as these help readers who like to skim)
  • formatted (use bold, italic, bullet lists)
  • coherent
  • properly spelled and grammatically expressed.

You should also write it with search engine optimisation (SEO) in mind, so think about the questions your potential customers will be asking and try to answer them within the text.

It will save you a lot of time in future if you put together a case study template. It might look like this:

About the client

This would be 100 words describing the client, followed by a brief account of what they wanted.

The solution

Describe your strategy, the work you did and the solution you gave the client. This section can be longer, up to 200 words.

The results

A direct quote from your client brings the case study to live and increases its authority and authenticity. It’s also great if you can give some numbers here – for example, ‘The client increased sales by 20% as a result of our work’. Don’t forget to ask the client for a mugshot, too, as faces help with engagement.

Say yes to case studies

The benefits of case studies go both ways. When your suppliers ask you to quickly fill in a form about the work they’ve done for you, it’s worth taking the time to do it. And you can save a bit of effort by using your standard organisational description and by having a decent mugshot ready.

Agreeing to a case study is a relatively easy way to reward great service. And the supplier will almost certainly backlink to your website, too. Those reciprocal links are valuable if you rely on organic search results. Learn more in our blogpost about backlinks.

There’s the optics to think of, too. If you appear in a case study, it signals to other organisations that you are easy to work with, so that projects involving you go smoothly and are satisfying to all involved.

Want to know more?

Take a quick look at Eonic’s client case studies and see how they make you feel about our services. If you like what you see, can you replicate that on your own site?