26 Jul How to Write a Case Study for Your B2B Company
Sometimes your client’s needs and your services and products line up just perfectly. Even if you have to be a little creative to provide a solution, the end product does everything they wanted. You’ve asked this customer for a testimonial, but you know if you could share their story with prospects you’d close more deals.
How exactly do you write a case study prospects would want to read?
Before we get into the details of how to do a case study, keep in mind a B2B marketing case study doesn’t have to be a novel or an academic essay. Keeping your document short, concise and to the point will ensure it’s read to completion and that it’s easily understood.
Choose Your Project
What projects stick out the most in your mind? When did you solve a unique problem or help a customer who wasn’t happy with their current provider? What project provided stellar results for a difficult situation? Not all projects make for great marketing case studies.
As you think about the perfect project, match it with a great client. Hopefully you have several projects your prospects would want to hear about. Filter through those to find a company with name recognition and who wouldn’t mind sharing the details of the project with your audience. Depending on the products or services you offer, your customers may be in competitive or regulated industries where it’s not so easy to share those kinds of details.
Write Out What You Know
You’ve chosen your project based on what your client has told you about their results. Write out all the details you know, including as many data specific points as possible. Once you’ve put down everything you know, ask yourself what’s missing? Where’s the gap in information? If you supply staffing to a manufacturing company, you may already know how much time they said they were spending reviewing resumes and conducting initial interviews. But do you know what their turnover was before they outsourced the work to your company? Has that improved? What are they able to do now with all the time you freed up for them? What impact has it had on their bottom line?
Contact Your Client
Before you get any deeper in creating a case study, ask your client for their permission to use their name and business information. If you are working with small and mid-sized companies, you will likely not have too much trouble getting to the decision maker. For larger companies, expect to have to submit information to the marketing department. Regardless of the size of the company, prepare a document that lists the type of information you’d like to share and how it would be used. The more information a client has, the more likely they are to agree to allow you to use their information. You may also want to have your attorney draft an agreement that outlines that information so you have a record of their agreement.
Create a Questionnaire
Once you’ve received permission from your client, draft a questionnaire that asks for all the information you’d like to include. Even if you know the answers to some of the questions, ask them anyway. You may receive different or more in depth information than you already had. Talk to your clients about whether they would prefer to answer your questions through email, over the phone or in person. You want to make the process as easy as possible for your client, who may not be sitting in front of the computer all day. Talk to your client about a timeline so they know when you’ll need their information and you can create a plan for following up.
Include in your questionnaire any pictures or graphics you’d like the company to supply. If you are including customer testimonials from your client, you might want to include a picture of him or her next to the quote. You might also want a picture of the facility or product.
Choose a Design
If you have a graphic designer on staff, you’re probably covered when it comes to designing your B2B case studies. You still want to know what works and what doesn’t. Take some time to read through case studies presented by other companies and organizations. Make notes about what you like and don’t like. You can use this as a starting point for working with your graphic designer.
If you don’t have a graphic designer, the easiest place to start is with a template. We really like working with Envato’s Graphic River. You can download templates for a variety of software from Microsoft Word and Powerpoint to Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. Most templates have many more pages than you will need, which means you can pick and choose which page designs go best with your case study. You can also use the same basic template for multiple case studies, which allows you to create branding without having everything look exactly alike.
Put It All Together
You finally have all the elements and you’re ready to move forward. Here’s a basic outline for the flow of your case study:
- Who your client is (including your contact person if possible)
- What was your client’s problem?
- What solution did you offer your client?
- What was the timeline for implementation?
- What were the results from the project?
- Is the project on-going?
- How did this project help your client reach their goal?
- Why does this matter?
- What’s the future plans in relation to this project?
Not all these questions may apply, but use as many as possible. Including pictures, pull quotes, graphs, charts and bulleted lists will break up the text and draw attention to the most important details.
Once you’ve written out the information and plugged it into your design, make sure to have someone else within your company proofread it for clarity, grammar, spelling and punctuation. Finally send it to your client and ask for a final approval. You are telling their story, so you want to make sure it really represents the whole truth.
Case studies can play an important role in your B2B content marketing strategy. Writing a teaser blog post and linking it to the download page will drive traffic and allow you to capture contact information. You can use links to the case study on your social media for months. You may also want to share the case study through email with prospects or have a few copies printed for your sales team to use. Seeing the final results of your work speaks volumes to your prospects.