How to Write a Business Case Study

Cover image for an article about writing case studies.

When deciding on an important purchase, it’s not just about finding a great product with cool features that make you want to buy it. You also need to see how it fits into your plans and helps you reach your goals. This is where a business case study comes in.

Business case studies are unique. They exist right at the point where valuable content and compelling social proof overlap. They have the potential to establish trust in a product or company while engaging audiences with a compelling narrative.

But like most endeavors, getting the full value from a case study is easier said than done. Having the ability to tell an engaging story and use data as a narrative device without losing your audience or obscuring the message is key.

ALSO – Hire a freelance writer to help you craft your case study

To help you get started, here’s a guide focused on how to write a case study, including who to talk to, how to approach the format, and what you need to make the final product resonate with your target audience.

Here’s a guide focused on how to write a case study, including who to talk to, how to approach the format, and what you need to make the final product resonate with your target audience. Click to Tweet

What Is a Business Case Study, and What Makes It Powerful?

A business case study is an account (usually written but sometimes visual) of how a business or individual business person benefited from using a particular product, service, or company.

It’s a marketing tool created and deployed on behalf of the company responsible for marketing the product or service. The subject — the business or individual sharing their experience — provides information about their experience to give prospective clients an idea of how they would benefit from using the same product or service.

Case studies are compelling ways to get through to a target audience because they:

  • Back up company claims about a product or service with valuable social proof
  • Inspire consumers to vividly imagine what could be possible for their company if they bought into a specific product or service
  • Provide uniquely valuable insights into how a company solves problems
  • Win trust and reinforce a company’s professional credibility
  • Help generate qualified leads and kickstart valuable customer-brand relationships

What Are the Best Ways to Use Case Studies in Marketing?

Willie Greer, founder of The Product Analyst, says that “82% of marketers use case studies because it gains the trust of your customers when you can show them real numbers and data about your certain topic or field.”

If you can execute a well-crafted business case study, this should be a cornerstone of your content marketing strategy. Case studies can be shown via email, paid promotion, or social media. Because of their value, case studies are often used for gated content, which can be leveraged in pay-per-click campaigns to try to attract more qualified leads.

A strong case study pulls in leads from campaigns while appearing high in Google searches for target keywords, bringing high-value organic traffic and adding credibility to your company’s or your client’s website. Case studies also help leads close to their buying decision take the plunge and buy because of the trust and social proof they offer readers.

What Are the Benefits of Adding Case Studies to Your Marketing Strategy?

According to Jenni Pratt, content marketing manager at Portent, “When it comes to promoting your products or services, case studies should be a staple in every marketer’s toolkit. They are a great opportunity to position your brand as an authority in a specific industry or marketplace, demonstrate success with tangible results, and tell a story that celebrates your customers and how they achieved their goals. They are a surefire way to prove you can walk the walk — if done correctly.”

Case studies should be a staple in every marketer’s toolkit. Click to Tweet

Case studies are fantastic tools for giving your audience an idea of the practical benefits of using a product or service.

They can also be great tools for your sales team as they  convince leads by showing them how a similar company succeeded with your service.

The Process: Your Guide to Crafting a Business Case Study That Converts

Many case studies get their start organically. If a client reaches out with positive feedback, for example, the seeds of a business case study have been planted. In this case, the process of writing the case study is marginally easier than one you would create from scratch.

But if you’re not seeing much feedback, you should still leverage case studies, if possible. So, where do you start?

Set clear goals

Every case study — without exception — should start with a goal. There’s no way to map out content or craft a message if there are no goals. 

So, what’s the goal? At the highest level, your goal is to show that your product or service works as advertised for at least one person who has used it. Every subsequent step in the process is irrelevant without an initial goal.

Select an ideal subject

B2C and B2B subjects for social proof are not created equal. B2B audiences typically judge peers’ reviews and recommendations with more scrutiny. This may be because many business buying decisions are more meaningful than those the average consumer makes. Therefore, the subject of your case study is critical.

This is why your choice of a focal subject for your case study should be relatable to your audience — the reader should be able to picture themselves using and benefiting from using the product or service in question.

Subjects from well-known companies with good reputations in your industry are ideal.

Choose the right format for your case study

Business case studies can exist in various formats, including PDFs, blog posts, videos, infographics, podcasts, and more. You can think of them as highly detailed testimonials.

Even though the writing, headlines, and data of a case study make it compelling, that doesn’t mean the way it looks can’t also play an important role and draw eyes to what you have to say.

Willie Greer remarks, “The appearance of your case study is crucial, but don’t overdo it because it might distract their attention from the content of your study. Use palettes that are pleasant and engaging to look at, with minimal designs and colors.”

For example, case study infographics are popular because they allow the creator to present information in a stylized, eye-catching way. 

But no matter what format you end up using, it is good practice to keep the presentation of the information  generally in the same format:

No matter what format you end up using, it is good practice to keep the presentation of the information generally in the same format. Click to Tweet

Introduce your subject

The introduction is where you provide context and introduce key characters. This helps the reader understand what’s going on in the situation and builds credibility for the case.

For example, if your business case study is about a tool used by marketers, you should present a few lines talking about the accomplishments of your subject or their company.

It’s important to note that a case study should be written chronologically and in simple language for your audience to understand. Your introduction will establish the voice for the rest of the piece.

Present a problem to be solved

First, tell the story of where the subject was before they started working with your company. The subject solves this central challenge by using the focal product or service. The benefit of establishing this clearly is that it shows the viability of your company to prospective customers.

Show how your brand is the solution

Next, introduce your company as the source of a product that, at long last, solves the subject’s main problem. Tell how the subject found the product and why they decided to try it out.

Close with data-backed results

The results section should wrap up the case with compelling leverage points, backed by hard data, and finish with a strong call to action.

Effective calls to action concisely but clearly state what you want the reader to do next. Do you want them to schedule a consultation, sign up for your mailing list, purchase the product, or something else entirely?

Ensure your study is thorough and complete

After you’ve completed each section, here’s what your finished case study might look like:

  • Introduction: Meet Bob, a salesperson at Company A.
  • Problem: Bob is tired of waiting to use his office’s only phone to call his prospects
  • Solution: We sold Bob his own phone, and he started using it exclusively
  • Results: Bob was able to increase his number of sales calls per day by 400%

How to Write a Business Case Study: Key Questions to Ask and Common Mistakes to Avoid

When it’s time to interview your selected subject, you should come prepared. But what does it really mean to be prepared?

There are two major mistakes that some marketers make in preparing for and conducting interviews for case studies.

There are two major mistakes that some marketers make in preparing for and conducting interviews for case studies. Click to Tweet

Mistake #1: Falling back on generic questions

Some companies produce a lot of case studies. But case studies that are the result of mass production aren’t likely to be effective.

Once you set the goal for your case study, formulate questions that will prompt the subject to make statements that support that goal.

Mistake #2: Passing up opportunities to dig deeper

To make the subject of a case study relatable to your audience, you must go beyond simply presenting their experience with your client or company.

A case study made with high-level questions asked in rigid order will force you to end up with a product that doesn’t dig into the most intriguing aspects of the subject, things that you may not know going into it.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the power of storytelling

While it’s true that business case studies are about using facts to build a strong case for choosing your brand, it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that they’re also stories. Approaching them accordingly can bring some real magic to the table.

Lay out your information in chronological order so it’s easy to follow. Use features like headings, subheadings, and bullet lists to organize your study and make it easy to skim for key tidbits of information.

Back up your points with facts

When you’re asking questions, try to dig deeper than subjective statements about your subject’s experience with the product.

We previously mentioned that B2B audiences demand a higher standard of social proof than the average B2C audience. Be ready to present proven data.

A reader may or may not respond to one of their colleagues saying, “I really like this product.” But if the subject says something like, “This product helped me double my sales in a week,” it’s hard to ignore.

Key interview questions to get you started in the right direction

When it’s time to set a strategy to interview your subject, you need to be focused on the goal.

Let’s say you’re representing an email software client who has made one of their unique selling points the fact that their software tracks customer behavior and analytics better than competitors. With this knowledge, your goal might be to show how a better understanding of customer behavior has helped improve their email strategy.

When you sit down with a user of the software, here are some questions you might ask:

  • When did you start using this software? Why did you choose to start using it?
  • What other types of software have you tried in the past?
  • What are the main changes you saw after  using this software?
  • How does using this software affect your email opens and click rates?
  • In what specific ways does this software help your ability to reach customers?
  • Is there a specific story you can expand on that illustrates the benefits this software has added to your business?
  • Would you recommend this software to your peers?

Once you have the information you need, you can organize it into your case study.

Crafting Effective Case Studies: Essential Elements to Include

As we mentioned previously, a good case study has a few essential elements you should include:

Use a mixture of text and graphic elements

A case study must be digestible for optimal results. An exclusively text-based case study may not hold your readers’ attention. An effective case study has a good mix of text and graphics, such as  Content Marketing Case Study: How 4 Infographics Generated Over 10,000 Social Shares by Neil Patel, for example.

Craft a compelling title

Imagine you’re a professional looking for a new desk chair, and you come across two case studies. One is called “Case Study: Company A,” and the other is called “How Company B Upgraded Their Office Chairs and Increased Productivity.” Which one do you think you’d be more likely to click on? The title of your business case study should include the central challenge experienced by the subject and how your product served as the solution. For example: How One eCommerce Business Solved the Omnichannel Challenge with Bitly Campaigns.

Make your headings pop

Be sure to craft headings and subheadings that will immediately grab your readers’ attention. Treat each one as a short preview of what the reader can expect within that section, and use dynamic language to keep the reader’s interest.

As mentioned previously, this has to be done in a way that tells a clear story, with a relatable subject, written in a way that can be understood by the target audience from start to finish.

Find Writers Who Can Rise to the Occasion

Understanding how to write a business case study can be a worthwhile endeavor for your business. However, it takes a talented writer to bring the facts together effectively and use them to tell a story your audience can’t resist. Adding one (or several) to your team could be the X-factor your case study needs to get results.

Visit Crowd Content  to explore your options and get the help you need with creating productive case studies and more.


Article by

Robin is the head of Crowd Content's customer success team where she helps her clients create top-notch content. With a personal interest in all things digital marketing, Robin loves the opportunity to work and learn from hundreds of her great clients. As a hobby enthusiast Robin enjoys plant propagation, water color painting and tasting food.

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