In late 2016, Christopher Harris, my boss at Faith Growth, Inc., asked me to start writing case studies on work we recently completed for church and organizations. It was a great opportunity to use what I had learned as a journalism major in college and also help our small company grow.
Since then, I’ve written eight case studies for Faith Growth, each one more enjoyable than the last as I hear happy customers talk about how much we’ve helped them improve their online presence.
Along the way, I’ve come to discover one truth about case studies and how they relate to businesses — especially small businesses. You really should be writing case studies, whether or not you’re a writer.
It’s a chance to show off
First off, writing case studies is the perfect chance for your to show off the work you’ve done for others. You’re no longer talking about hypotheticals and higher level items that might be hard for prospective customers to understand. Instead, you can give them cold, hard details that walk through your process in helping others.
With a case study, you can go through the exact process that led to your work with that customer. And while it might not be the exact process that you do for everyone, with five or six case studies, prospective clients will get a very good glimpse into your work.
That, in my opinion, is much more important than simply just stating who you are, what you do, what your skills are and how much you charge. One of the best pieces of advice I’ve received in terms of writing is to show not tell. And case studies do just that. They allow you to show what you’ve done. And that’s going to make prospective clients that much more confident that you’re the person for the job.
Also, if your web marketing plan includes a weekly or monthly blog for others to read, case studies are pretty easy content. Outside of interviewing the customer that you’re highlighting, there’s no real difficult research for you to do.
Instead, you just need to recount what you did to help that customer out, talk about the customer’s problem and how you fixed it and just sprinkle in some quotes from the customer to add in a different voice. That’s it.
The case studies don’t need to be Pulitzer prize-winning longform feature story that takes weeks to complete. Instead, you just need to say what you did to help. If you’re not a writer by trade, the hero’s journey is a very good guide for how to shape your case studies. Or if you don’t have the time and do have the resources, you can hire a writer to write the case studies for you.
The best content is easy content.
Let’s others hear from customers
But most importantly, writing case studies is a chance for prospective customers to hear from other customers that you’ve helped. The quotes you use for the case study gives readers a chance to get opinions from others so that they know you’re the person to help them.
You can talk about what you do all you want on your website. You can say that you’re the best, that your plan or process is better than that other guys. And you can say that you’re the right person for the job.
But it takes hearing that from others who have worked with you in order for prospective clients to feel comfortable with making the right decision.
And these quotes are more powerful than just simple quotes that you might have for a testimonial page. Those quotes, while flattering, don’t have all the context that prospective clients might need to make an educated decision. But the quotes in the case study have all the context they need with the background of who that person is and what problem they had. And that increases the weight prospective customers give to those quotes and better informs them for their decision.
So if you run a small business and want to find a quick way to create marketing content, I highly recommend starting to write case studies. Even if you’re not a writer, investing time in writing them will be helpful for your prospective customers and help your business in the long run.