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Using Case Studies as Part of Your Small Business Internet Marketing

I recently wrote a case study for a client to help with her small business Internet marketing. In the process, she and I came across some great resources, and I’ve put together a few case study writing tips:


1.    Follow a Proven Case Study Structure

I particularly like how marketing coach and consultant Steve Slaunwhite structures his case studies. He recommends breaking the case study into seven parts:

  • The challenge
  • The customer
  • The journey
  • The discovery
  • The solution
  • The implementation
  • The results

I LOVE this structure. By following it, you can’t help but take the reader on an engaging problem-solution adventure.

2.    Prepare Your Interview Questions and Provide Them to the Interviewee in Advance

This gives the interviewee time to think about and prepare his/her response. It gives you better, more thoughtful, material to work with.

3.    Record the Interview and Have a Transcript Made

You can record the interview using a recorder connected to your phone or you can use a free conference call service and use their recording function. Be sure to let the interviewee know that the call is being recorded.

A transcript is important because it will allow you to easily review the content and pull out quotes. Which leads us to the next tip:

4.    Use Quotes

Quoting the client (“John Doe was super easy to work with and delivered an amazing product”) makes the case study more compelling. You can change the quotes slightly to better fit the context of the case study IF you run the case study and quotes by the client before using.

5.    Use Hard Numbers When Possible

Your case study will also be more compelling if you can assign real numbers to results rather than general descriptors. “XYZ reduced our costs by 20% and sales increased by 10%.” This is especially true in the “the results” portion of the case study.

6. Make the Client the Hero

The case study will be more engaging if the client is the one who saves the day, not you. Your services were simply a tool they used to solve their problem. By framing the case study in this way, prospects are better able to identify with your client.

Feel free to brag about yourself in the “the solution” portion of the case study. But otherwise, make your client the hero.

I must admit I feel a bit odd dishing out these tips knowing that my own case studies could be substantially improved. Believe me, I’ve put “revise my case studies” on my to do list.

Have you used case studies in your small business Internet marketing? How are they structured?

Posted: May 1, 2013 in: Marketing Strategy

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