Case studies are an important tool in the armoury of any small business owner or entrepreneur because they are an opportunity to tell a story about how you solved a business issue for one of your clients. Client’s like case studies because they help them better understand how you tackle problems and if any of your past or present clients have experienced the same challenges/problems that they are facing and how a solution was found.
As a business you should aim to get a mixture of the following:
Testimonials can be anything from about 30 words long to a short para – the aim is for the client to say something glowing about you and your business but don’t go for the angle of ‘…she’s a really nice person to work with’. Although this is great and everyone wants to know they are working with someone nice, your client testimonial should focus on the business benefits gained as a result of working with you and your company. Make sure you connect with all your clients on LinkedIn and after every project ask them to give you a reference. I have known SMEs to get over 70 references as a result of asking every client to provide a testimonial on LinkedIn – now what do you think that says about their work?
Short case studies
These are about 500 words in total. Ideally, these are endorsed by the client so they put their name to them and if at all possible give a 20-25 word quote.
In-depth case studies are around 2,500 – 4,000 words in length. These are much longer documents that drill down into the detail of what you’ve done for your client. In most cases, but not all, these type of case studies are anonymous as it would be giving away too much detail about the client situation and project to use real company names.
Below is a suggested structure for writing a short case study. I have used this structure for years and always found it helpful.
- State the challenge or problem the client was facing
- Describe how you solved the problem and what you did to bring about a resolution
- Tell the reader why the client chose you and your business above everyone else to undertake the work
- Advise on the benefits to the client
- Get your article proof read
- Design a case study template that includes your branding
- Give the finished product to the client for review
Once you have the wording for the above, create a 25 word statement that encapsulates the key benefit to the client in terms of savings or increased revenue. For example working with ‘x provider’ helped me to make savings of quarter of a million dollars and increased productivity by 10%. Get the client to sign off on the statement and put it at the top of your document.
People ask about writing case studies without their client’s permission, you can do this but you have to sanitise it so that no one knows who you are talking
about. My own personal view is that you ask and you can only ask once and if they say ‘no’ then you leave it.
If you have any questions on this please drop me an email and I will be happy to help.