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How to Write Case Studies 101

How to Write Case Studies 101 - Carolyn Daughters

Small business teams often ask me how to write case studies. My suggestion: follow a problem – solution – results structure and use this template.

Well-Written, Detailed Case Studies Pack a Punch

Case studies are a great way to help prospects understand the work you do and the value you provide. They’re also effective tools for eventually converting those leads into paying customers. They can help reinforce your credibility, show how you solved a real problem for a customer, and help leads envision how they might experience similar results if they decide to work with you.

Many small business owners and their teams want to write case studies in house but aren’t sure where to start. Alternatively, they hire freelancers to do their writing and marketing work and need to give those freelancers guidance.

If that sounds like you, I’ll get you up and running by describing how to interview clients to capture key information and how to structure the case studies you write.

How to Write Case Studies in 5 Steps

Try this five-step approach:
  1. Identify a client or client project that will be your subject. Have they experienced impressive results that would make a compelling case study? Did they switch to your products or services from a competitor? What exactly about this client or client project stands out?
  2. Ask the client questions about their specific problem and challenges. What were their pain points? How serious was the problem? Do they have any data or metrics they can share?
  3. Pinpoint the specifics of your solution to that problem. How did you address their pain points and make their lives easier, save them time or money, or make them look good? Be specific, and include data and metrics if you can.
  4. Capture details about the client or project results. What was the outcome? Did that outcome wow the client’s team (or their own clients in turn)? What progress are they continuing to make? Will you continue to work together? Capture a client testimonial, if possible. (Note: This section can be merged with the solution, as desired.)
  5. Structure the case study around the problem, solution, and results. Use this free template.


Check out this sample case study from Jacobs/CH2M and this one from Adobe.

How to Write Case Studies: Considerations

First, always get the client’s permission before publishing a case study. Manage their expectations about the process (phone/video/coffee interview, email follow-up, review and iteration, and distribution to the client for marketing purposes). Also manage their expectations about how you plan to use the case study (publication on your site, social media posts, or a marketing campaign). In addition, ask for a high-resolution logo and any high-quality project photos, if available.

Second, come to the client interview prepared to ask clarifying questions early and often. Find the courage needed to ask the follow-up questions that will elicit the key details you need to capture.

Third, figure out how long you want your case study to be. Case studies can vary in length from a 100-word summary to a multi-page analysis. In both instances, get to the point and don’t oversell. Readers hate marketing fluff, and they may distrust you if you deliver fluff on a case study platter.

Fourth, give the case study a title that clarifies what the case study is about and the end result.

Finally, make the case study visually appealing. Formatting and visuals (images and graphs) can make it approachable and easy to read. Save time by using this free case study template.

Fast Wins + Zero Fluff = Game Changer

I have a lot more to say on this and many other important subjects. I’m pulling back the marketing veil to empower small businesses to survive and thrive — no marketing agencies required. Get the free Top 5 Small Business Marketing Fiascos – and How to Fix Them e-book here.

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