Case studies: the ultimate evidence of your competence.
The best way to show off past projects your business has worked on is through a collection of case studies.
What is a case study?
A case study is a short document or article that tells the story of a project. It combines technical specifications with the challenges faced, and includes a set of positive outcomes and lessons learned.
The most valuable aspect of a case study is that it helps potential buyers make an educated decision about working with you.
The best way to convince them is for your case study to show some sort of transformation for your client. In essence:
- they had a problem.
- you had a solution.
- they ended up in a better situation.
If the case study can highlight this progression, you have a winning document on your hands.
Case studies are often highly visual and can be published as web pages, PDFs or both.
How are case studies structured?
Here’s my typical approach to writing case studies for my clients:
- Key takeaways
This should focus on the key positive or benefit of the piece. Analytical readers love to see numbers.
- increase in sales or throughput
- reduction in faults or complaints
- percentage improvements
Remember that people read case studies to give themselves comfort that they are making the right decision about buying your product or service.
A positive metric in a headline could make all the difference when the reader makes their decision. It can also help to make things easy for the reader to justify their recommendations to budget holders or senior management.
This should be a short summary of what the reader will get from the rest of the case study.
If the reader is short on time, the headline plus the overview should be enough to tell them the story.
This is the problem the client had before experiencing the product or service.
This section can mention why the product or service provider was selected to fix the problem.
These are the steps the service or product provider took to deliver a solution to the problem.
The end result can be discussed here.
Remember, the aim is to take the reader from a bad start point to a good end point.
It is the product or service (and the expertise of the provider) that has been responsible for helping the client to make the transition from the old bad state to the new good state.
5. Key takeaways.
This summarises up to 3 important outcomes as a result of the service or product. These can be represented in a table or via another visual device.
If there are several key takeaways, it might be better to write more than one case study.
Include at least one meaningful quote from a key stakeholder. It is best to name the person and their role – anonymous quotes have little or no value.
The more specific the quote is to the project, the better. Ideally, it should be confirmation that one of the key takeaways really happened.
Real case study samples.
Here are examples of case studies I’ve worked on.
Eurobond is one of the UK’s leading creators of composite panels that help to protect the exterior of buildings.
The company’s products have been used in several high-profile buildings, and so they commissioned a series of case studies to demonstrate why and how their panels were used to protect these structures.
The image in the case study here shows the training centre at Sheffield University. Other works include the Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) and the National Graphene Institute at the University of Manchester.
Read the case studies I wrote on the Eurobond website: