You might need a case study if…

  • You offer a service or product that solves a problem.
  • A success story would help show the benefits of donating to your cause.
  • You want to establish your expertise, your integrity, your dedication to good customer service in a credible way.
  • Your product or service saves your customers money, time, or anxiety.
  • You’d like to demonstrate how your technical product works in its practical use.
  • A customer’s or beneficiary’s unique story begs to be told.
  • You believe in the power of stories.
  • You want a document that you can use in a dozen ways.

A Baker’s Dozen Ways to Use a Case Study

  1. As a handout at trade shows or conferences
  2. Placed at your front desk or in your office waiting room
  3. As a newsletter, sent via e-mail or snail mail to present or potential customers or donors
  4. In a booklet of selected case studies, telling the stories of happy customers. (Your business customers will appreciate the publicity.)
  5. For a testimonial in a print ad or on your website
  6. Summarized in targeted press releases
  7. As a video – online and/or part of a personal presentation
  8. In a PowerPoint presentation
  9. Published on a LinkedIn profile
  10. On your blog
  11. As a testimonial on your website, using selected quotes
  12. Adapted as an article in a trade publication
  13. Adapted to use as the opening of a sales letter

A Story that Sells

Good stories involve a dilemma and a resolution. Case studies tell potential customers or donors how you successfully helped resolve a dilemma.

A typical case study is two pages, between 500 and 800 words, depending on the number of photos or illustrations you include.

What’s the Process?

  1. Ask your happy customer or beneficiary to agree to a short interview to explain how your product or service has helped them.
  2. Decide on a main contact person in your organization. The fewer decision makers, the simpler the process.
  3. Supply the writer with resources she’ll need to understand your product and how it benefited the user.
  4. Let your customer know to expect a call from the writer.
  5. Set a reasonable deadline, allowing for research, setting up and conducting the interview, and the writing process.
  6. If you use a freelance writer you’ve never worked with before, be prepared to pay an upfront fee.
  7. Be sure the writer feels free to ask questions along the way for clarification about your customer and/or your product or service.
  8. Even though the writer is an experienced interviewer, don’t hesitate to make suggestions.
  9. Realize the value of a writer who can view your product as a consumer would and can explain it in appropriate words.

Word of Mouth Plus

There’s no better marketing than word of mouth, but your customers have limited circles of influence. You can widen those circles with case studies.

Know of any other reasons or ways you might use a case study?

Cheryl Bryan

About Cheryl Bryan

Cheryl has years of experience in the business world, in a variety of fields: staffing, insurance, construction, and advertising, to name a few. She has freelanced since 1990. Friends and colleagues describe her as genuine, thoughtful, gracious, organized, easy-going, compassionate, a "thinker as well as a doer," and one who not only gets the job done but does it well. Born in rural Nebraska, she is back now after living in California, Texas, South Africa, Illinois, Tennessee, and Mississippi and traveling in Europe, South Africa, and Thailand.
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