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By Honest Communications

‘Case studies’ might sound a little dull - the idea of them may take you back to a sleepy afternoon geography lesson, memorising examples of erosion, or the effects of tourism in Skegness. But we believe case studies, when thought out properly and done well, are a powerful tool to market your business. They communicate what you do, how you do it and why a client or customer should choose you over a competitor. You’ve done great work, so you need to tell people about it!

The proof is in the pudding

Businesses want to, and need to, present themselves in the best possible light to win customers. There’s healthy competition in every industry and so many companies out there claiming to be ‘the best’. It’s easy for a company to claim they can do X, Y and Z. Or to overstretch the scope of their capabilities on the webpage that describes what they can do for you.

In a crowded marketplace, consumers want to be able to pick out a company they feel they can trust to deliver results. If they’re looking for a dependable return on investment, they want to see evidence to back up whatever claims the company is making.

Enter the humble case study.

Case studies demonstrate that the company can do what it says it can. And that they’ve done it before, with good results and positive feedback from a client. They are evidence that your business does what it says on the tin.

A competitive edge

In a crowded market, how can you make your business stand out? There are a few ways to do this, including having a clear and consistent tone of voice and a strong brand.

Case studies are another way you can set your business apart – the work your company has done is unique and it shows how you do business and what experience your customers can expect. They are snapshots of your work portfolio – the highlights. A few case studies on your website is a great way for prospective clients to get a feel for how you do things and what it might be like to work with you (with a few keywords too so they’re helpful for SEO).

They make your business feel like a safer pair of hands and case studies show that you’ve got real, demonstrable experience. People are more likely to spend money with a business they trust.

Honest Communication’s five top tips for picking your case studies:

  1. Choose your finest work. This goes without saying, but choose projects that show your business at its smartest and shiniest. Just a few case studies on your website is enough, so cherry pick the best.
  2. Select projects that are interesting and easy to explain – short form case studies work best. Keep it concise because nobody wants to read endless prose about past projects. If you can, show some of the information visually, through photos or an infographic.
  3. Make sure that you’re choosing work that highlights the skills you want to sell. What work have you done that demonstrates your skills most effectively? If your business has three main services, choose a case study for each of them.
  4. Write your case studies around the work you would like more of. Your customers will be looking for relatable case studies that show that you can solve problems similar to theirs, so keep this in mind.
  5. If ‘case studies’ sounds too dry for your brand, use ‘Work we’ve done’, ‘Past projects’ or ‘Our work’ - whatever suits your business.

A compelling case study reads a bit like a story:

  • Your client’s problem
  • Your business’s solution
  • How you did it
  • The results
Within this framework, describe the strategy that took you from problem to solution. With the results, try to include some statistics to give it some strength and substance. The best way to round a case study off is a quote from a happy client, so try to get one if you can. It inspires trust and gives it more credibility.

Try to stick to a basic template, so that it’s easy to create more case studies in the future. Following the four bullet points above help to keep it structured, defined and logical.