Writing case studies: the winning formula

Case studies are a great way to illustrate how you work, the support you provide and the results you achieve with your clients.  They are one of the proven ways that you, as a provider of professional services, can break down complexity and illustrate your credentials by using a real client problem that you have resolved.  They are also a sure fire way to build trust and create new business opportunities.

I’ve been working with a global engineering business.  When I joined them, I interviewed their Australian business development team and found that their biggest challenge was demonstrating their ‘local’ experience. They have a significant footprint overseas and found that, in the eyes of their clients, this overshadowed their local capability.  It created problems when bidding for new work.  Case studies were the answer.

We worked together to build a library of case studies.  When crafting each one, we focused on a single client problem, the resolution and measurable result.  The breadth of the company’s capability meant that the engineering team supported the resolution of multiple issues with each client.  This provided plenty of local examples, each focussed on a different issue, which could then illustrate capability to support extending business opportunities with current clients, as well as introducing capability to new clients and, even, markets.

Kudos to the engineering team, who are a great, ongoing resource for developing marketing content.

While the case studies were written for external consumption, and are being used at trade shows, in proposals, business development meetings, to build their LinkedIn following etc, they have also become an internal marketing tool.  Just in the past month, we’ve had one case study published in their company’s international business unit magazine, as well as being featured on their intranet and as a resource for new staff.  It’s really been a winning formula.

But what about writing case studies?

There’s a guru I follow online called Neil Patel.  He’s an entrepreneur, analytics expert and advisor to major companies (like NBC and Google) and also a great blogger.  When it comes to defining why case studies are a successful marketing tool to grow your revenues, he has it sorted.  I encourage you to read his blog ‘A Step-by-Step Guide to Generating Clients by Writing Case Studies’, 25 Sep 2015.  He explains why case studies work, what type of businesses they work for and how to write them.  You can also download his step-by-step guide.

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