In today’s day and age, you know how important it is to have good online reviews and one of the best ways to curate that story for yourself, for your business or your startup is by creating compelling case studies. So in today’s article, I’m going to be sharing with you exactly how you can craft those following a few simple steps, as well as a few core principles that you should keep in mind.
3 Core Principles
Digging right in, I want you to remember these three core principles before we dig into the clear steps that you can take to getting some compelling case studies.
- The first thing I want you to remember is I want you to try to make things as frictionless as possible for your customers. Ultimately, you are asking for time from their schedule and not the other way around. And so it’s really important for you to make it easy for your customers to give you case studies.
- The second core principle I want you to remember is to use your customer’s language. It’s really important that you are taking the time to learn what language they are using in describing your product or service. Because oftentimes, I find that people get too caught up in their own marketing speed that they write their pages in a way in which it doesn’t actually connect to the prospects that they are trying to sell to. Your customers are going to be one of your best sources in terms of figuring out the exact phrasing to use when describing the sorts of problems and solutions that you are trying to tackle.
- The third core principle I want you to remember around case studies is it’s all about showcasing your customers. If you can help your customers look good, then as a result, you’re going to get more case studies and you’re also going to make people more and more excited to evangelize your brand as well.
Step 1: Zero in your biggest evangelists
Speaking of evangelists that leads us to step number one for today to get your compelling case studies, which is to zero in on your biggest evangelists. The best way to think about this is who do you love serving and also who loves you in return, who’s often raving about your business or telling you that they’re telling their friends about your business. These are the people that you’re going to want to target for your initial batch of case studies.
Step 2: Block calendar times
The second step you’re going to take is you’re going to want to block calendar times for interviewing your customers in depth. I recommend at the minimum that you interview them for at least 30 minutes to an hour. Anything longer than that, it’s probably unnecessary, but anything shorter than that, and you’re unlikely to get the insights that you actually want from your customers.
When you’re interviewing your customers, they’re going to want to answer these questions, which I’ll put up on the screen here.
1. The first question to answer is what problems were you looking to solve before you found our product or service? The reason why you want to ask this question is because you want to figure out whether or not the sorts of customers that you’re even attracting today are the ones that you’re trying to solve for in terms of the core business function.
And it is by helping getting this verbalization from your customers, that you’re going to be able to identify this for yourself.
2. The second question you’re going to ask is how do you describe our product or service to a friend or colleague. The reason why this is super important is because it all gets back to that core principle of using your customer’s language. Your customers likely explain things in a slightly different and more simple format than you might in your marketing pages. So it’s really important that you listen to your customers here, because they’re going to give you insights to things that you might not have thought of when you were creating that marketing page of yours.
3. The next question to ask yourself is what are three biggest wins you get from using us. The reason why it’s really important to highlight some big wins is because these are going to be the call-outs when you are building these case studies, whether that’s on a landing page or on a one pager. By highlighting these wins, you make it really easy for these prospects to potentially visualize themselves experiencing these same wins if they were to choose you to do business with.
4. The fourth question to ask yourself is when you were evaluating us versus competitors, what did you consider important? The reason why this is really important is because a good case study should always consider bringing up points in terms of different considerations that somebody might want to think about or highlighting exactly what a customer was thinking about before they decided to go with your business.
5. The last question I’d ask your customer is what would your advice be for others that are currently evaluating us. The reason why this is really important is because this question can often lead to some great customer quotes that you can highlight in that particular landing page. They’ll talk about things like, go ahead and do it today or something like that and what you can highlight that very explanatory phrase so that it really excites the prospect that is landing on your case study.
Step 3: Record customer interviews
The third step you’re going to do is you’re going to record these customer interviews and then you’re going to create initial rough drafts of these case studies. As you start to record these videos, what I want you to be thinking about is how you’re going to visualize the information that your customer is sharing with you onto different pages.
Whether that’s a landing page, a one pager, or even a subsection within a overall broader marketing page. I personally find it really helpful to record these interviews because it allows you to then go back against your notes and see if you missed anything that your customer may have said that was insightful.
Step 4: Get feedback on rough draft
Once you’ve gone through your interviews, your fourth step is to get feedback on your rough draft. There’s really two key stakeholders when getting feedback. The first one is your internal team. So you want to make sure that you ask somebody else in your team if you have other team members in terms of whether or not the case study you’re actually drafting communicates the things that you want to communicate.
And then the second person you’re going to want to get feedback from is actually the customer themselves. And so you’re going to want to circle back with them after they’ve done their interview and see if they like what you’ve written. It’s only by getting the buy-in from the customer that you’re going to be able to succeed in the next step of the process.
Step 5: Create landing pages
That naturally leads us to our fifth step of today’s process, which is to create your landing pages and then promote them. At this point in time, you should be pretty confident that you have nailed down exactly what you want to communicate and also showcased your customer in a good light. You’ve made the process frictionless as well and so it’s all about promotion here.
At this point in time, it’s all about showcasing these case studies and also shouting out these customers for being part of this initiative. Hopefully, you’ve gathered at least two or three different case studies so you have more than one person to showcase. But what I recommend you do as you launch these pages is really make a point to share these with your customers as well.
The reason why this is super helpful is because then you can create a growth loop in which your other customers, who you may not have thought of were originally evangelists will actually be interested in contributing their own case study to your case studies. So by creating this sort of growth loop, you have people that are potentially prospects that are now going to get educated on the different ways your customers are using your product or service while also bringing in all of your existing customers that might be on the fringe of being evangelist or just secretly evangelist of your products excited about becoming the next case study on your site.
This is how you start to create a flywheel. And when you create a flywheel it becomes super powerful, because then you can start to expand out your case studies initiative to create something like a use case library in which you’re speaking to all the different user personas that you are potentially selling to.
So, this is where it really comes full circle because as you’ll recall from the core principles, because we’ve made the overall case study process as frictionless as possible, our next customer that is ready to be a case study is also going to follow this seamless process. And so you have more and more case studies and as a result, more and more happy customers and more and more happy customers lead to more and more prospects because these customers want to also share their wins. And so oftentimes what I’ll do is I’ll collaborate with the customers to showcase them and what they will do then is they will also share that within their networks.
So naturally what that’ll lead to is customers being really excited to share that they were featured somewhere and naturally what that leads to is people within their networks, then becoming interested in our business.
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