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Monday, 06 June 2016 22:39

The single biggest secret to creating your customer case study

Away with the word customer case studies! It sounds too clinical and detached. Call it a ‘success story’, instead. Your client had a need or problem that no one could solve. You, or your organization, swooped in and provided a product or service that helped that person. Your client’s business soared, or his skin healed, or his dog recovered - whatever the case - you helped him live ‘happily ever after’.

That’s the crux of a ‘customer success story’.

If you do it like that, you'll  join the cohort of marketers who say that case studies are one of the most effective tactics they use, according to the B2B Small Business Content Marketing report.

Here’s how to write a ‘customer success story’.


1. The body: Give facts

Think of it as a script. The play start with a list of characters which grounds your story and tells your reader what you're talking about. Facts should include the following: the organization name, hero of story, location, industry, maybe the number of employees, all relevant facts. Some marketers list this in bulleted form. Most include it as summary or ‘Quick  Read’ header in the beginning. The whole should be short, no more than three to four sentences.

Example

Unbounce heads its customer case study of how it helped Chair 10 Marketing with the title “How Chair 10 Marketing saved $400 per client by reducing setup time from 30 days to 5 using Unbounce.” Details are in the title. Notice, too, how Unbounce includes them in its grab sentence:

Mark at Chair 10 Marketing is a PPC expert. He’s built Chair 10 into a 7 person agency over 7 years and is now servicing both local accounts and large national brands.

Unbounce cramped all crucial details in their first two sentences. We have the name, the company, Mark’s job, Mark’s history and what Mark is currently doing. With that out of the way,  Unbounce proceeds to their client’s problem.

2. The challenge

Tell us the problem. Show it so that we’re brought into it.  Give word details and a graphic or video if you want. Say how it started, show how it developed, show how the person suffered.  How did it affect your client in terms of stress, worry, lost opportunities, effect on relationships?

Here’s how Unbounce achieved that

The team at Chair 10 strive for excellent customer service and results that leave clients awestruck. And they succeed! But until recently, the customer onboarding process always started as an uphill battle. Here’s what it looked like…


Jun8 customer case studies 1

 

Their graphic - a calendar that shows the time span of delivered projects with the red blob stating that a Chair 10 client fought with IT department - clearly shows their problem. The terse copy uses active description to grip you.

3. The solution: You’re the superhero

Marketer Drew McLellan calls case histories the marketing version of Aesop’s fables. There’s the problem that’s the villain. There’s the battle thas is how the challenge was overcome. And there’s the hero that is you, your company, or your product.

In this Solution section, you show how your client finally approached you. And ta-da: You were the perfect solution! What did he try? How did you help him? Flesh it out with details, names, numbers, pictures, facts so that readers can see it.  In their book Content Rules, Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman suggest that you show your (or your client’s) blind alleys and flashes of inspiration, what didn't work and what did until you hit on the solution. Readers, they say, love that.

Example

Unbounce was the solution for Chair 10.

Mark heard about Unbounce landing page platform and decided to see what it could do for him. Unbounce allowed his team to create the landing pages themselves with minimal effort from the client and most importantly, without involving the client’s IT department.

You’ll find case histories that describe the way the solution looked in more detail. Unbounce gives it only a sentence - but see how that sentence packs a wallop. It describes what Unbounce offered (the team of Chair 10 could now create landing page themselves) and how it solved their problem (Chair 10 no longer needed to involve their client).

Result: Client lives happily ever after

Wrap up with a section that show how you helped your client glow. How does client feel today? How much more money is he making? Or customers attracting?  Whatever the case, bring  testimonials - best is to include at least two - that depict how your client thrived as a result of your magic.  Life is good. Give details that show how it is so, so the reader can say “ I’ve got to get me some of that.”

Chair 10 example

Chair 10 now avoids the battle and delivers results quickly. It takes less than a week for their clients to start receiving leads.


customer case studies 2

Unbounce summarizes how Chair 10 was helped and clips an updated calendar to show results. Note how fewer days are filled in. No red boxes this time. Green and blue tabs say that that their project was delivered smoothly and that the Chair 10 customer was satisfied.

Unbounce continues to list the benefits. Chair 10 experienced shorter lead times, more effective PPC campaigns and cost savings. Mark, PPC expert at Chair 10, ends with a reference about how the Unbounce landing pages helped him.

Takeaways

People love a story. Tell them one. Your client was unhappy. You made him glow. Make that story come alive. Flesh it out with memorable details, emotional tidbits, descriptive copy. You’ll have a perfect ‘customer success story’ and repeat anticipating customers. Need help with your business storytelling? Contact our team of content strategists and we'll help your company tell your story

So what’s the single biggest secret to creating a customer case study? Replace ‘case study’ with ‘success story’, and you’ve got it made.

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Jaime Nacach

Marketing Strategist

I love helping small businesses with their digital marketing and business strategy. I'm a young man with a passion in entrepreneurship and international experience in business development, marketing, sales, and web/graphic design. 

Find me on: Team Page | LinkedIn | Google+Personal Website

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