Editor’s note: this is Part II of our three-part series on creating impactful case studies. If you haven’t already, be sure to check out Part I, which discusses the importance of case studies to your marketing efforts and how to structure them for maximum impact. Our series concludes next week with Part III, a primer on packaging and presentation.
Nine out of 10 people respond better to recommendations from peers than sales pitches, which is what makes case studies so valuable. Essentially, you are allowing your customer to offer up a recommendation about you. This is why the best case studies get their information from the right customers and ask the right questions.
Choosing the right customer depends on whose attention you want to grab. So instead of listing out your biggest customers, think about the prospects you want to do business with. For example, if you’re looking to attract startups, highlight a success story of a customer that would resonate with a prospective startup customer. Also, customers who are enthusiastic about your product’s results usually make for good case study subjects and provide great sound bites.
Once you’ve chosen the right customer to highlight, it’s time to interview them for those golden nuggets of information. After gaining approval with your customer to do a case study about them, compile five to 10 specific questions to send a few days before the scheduled interview. Stay away from “yes” and “no” questions: instead, keep it open-ended to draw out more detailed responses. A few examples:
- What challenges in your business or industry influenced you to look for a solution?
- How did you search for a solution to your problem?
- What were some solutions that you considered but rejected?
- Why did you choose our firm over our competitors?
- What did you find most attractive about our company and/or solution?
- What specific results and benefits have you seen from implementing our solution?
- What business processes does our solution enhance and does it save you time or money?
Record and transcribe your interview so you can pick out quote-worthy statements later.
Once you’ve completed your interviews and any supporting research, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to package that information. In Part III of our series on creating high-impact case studies, we’ll go explore some of the different ways to package your case study, including media formats and delivery strategies.
Photo Credit: Ronaldo Ferreira via Flickr