A case study is a great way to demonstrate real-life examples of how your business helps your customers. Most businesses are so focussed on telling anyone who will listen just how great they are, they forget that the consumers are only interested in what the business will do for THEM.
A case study is basically a 400-500 word article which provides a structured analysis of how your business helped a specific customer. They are highly effective as website content for two primary reasons:
- If the page is structured correctly, collectively they will help your website rank in the search engines for a host of different key-phrases.
- Your prospective customers should be able to identify with the problems that your case study customers has and the solutions you provide.
There is no set formula for creating a case study and you can adopt your own format for them but to give you a little guidance, this is how a basic case study could be formatted:
Who your customer is – you can either mention the customer by name or provide a general overview of their circumstances. Try to make use as much specific information as possible such as their family circumstances, the town they live in and any unusual circumstances they are in. If were creating a case study for a Plumbing Company for example, we could provide an overview of Miss Brown, a first-time Property Developer who has just purchased a house in Guildford that is in need of major refurbishment.
What problem your customer faces – we want to ensure that the reader can relate to the problem being faced by Miss Brown so we’ll provide a detailed overview of what her specific issues are. For our example, Miss Brown needs to have her existing boiler removed as its quite old and a new boiler installed but in a different location from the old one. As she is having a lot of other work done in the property, she also has to work to a very tight schedule for the work to be completed.
How you addressed the customer’s problem – this is possibly the most important part of the case study as it may provide the solution that the reader is looking for. You need to describe the solutions you provided for your customer with particular emphasis on any unique or particularly creative solutions you provided. If you were able to save the customer money or time through your recommended solution then this should definitely be highlighted.
In our example, we could have suggested that Miss Brown used a less-expensive Boiler system than she had in mind as she won’t be living in the property, or we could provide a helpful way for Miss Brown to integrate the boiler replacement into her refurbishment schedule.
What was the outcome – in this section we simply want to show how the customer had a positive outcome from using your products or services? If the customer saved money then specify exactly how much. If the customer saved time, again it is important so specify just how much time they saved. In our example, we managed to save Miss Brown over £400 on the cost of here boiler and shaved two days from her property refurbishment schedule.
What the Customer said – having now built-up a complete picture of the problems that we helped the customer overcome and the benefit it proved, the final element is to provide a brief statement from the customer to give their view on the whole experience. This reinforces the fact that you treated the customer as an individual and took the trouble to address their specific issues.
In our example, Miss Brown provided the statement,
“I can’t thank John and the team at ABC Boiler Co enough. Not only did they save me a small fortune when replacing my boiler but they bent over backwards to ensure that the whole installation process worked around my refurbishment schedule. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone thinking of getting a new boiler installed.”
By the end of your cast study, you should have a pretty compelling piece of content that readers will be able to relate to. However, the real benefit of case studies is the ability to personalise them for a huge range of specific search-phrases simply by giving each case study page a unique page title.
So for our example, we’ll add our case study to a page we’ll entitle:
Case Study: Moving a Boiler from the Ground to First Floor at a Property in Guildford, Surrey.
The next time somebody enter the search term ‘Boiler moving service in Guildford/Surrey’, there is a good chance that our cast study will rank highly in the search engines. Now imagine that we have 10, or 20, or 50 case studies on our website, like…
Case Study: Emergency Boiler Repair For Pensioners in Winchester, Hampshire.
Case Study: London Family with an Old Boiler Have Worries About Carbon Monoxide.
Collectively, case studies can generate a lot of highly-targeted traffic across a broad range of search-phrases. They can be especially effective if your business is trying to target customers in a number of specific locations. Furthermore, any potential customer reading your case study will immediately see how you’ve helped real people in different circumstances and this is far more powerful as a convincer than pages of self-promotion that we tend to see on business websites.