Whether you take the approach of ‘customer success story’ (which provides an overview of a customer’s experience with your company), or ‘case study’ (which is a more focused, detailed look into a specific product/service), these will be some of the most useful pages on your website throughout the customer journey.
While success stories offer proof that your product or service works and are useful marketing tools that highlight your past work, case studies dig deeper into how/why it worked in a particular instance (and are more of a sales tool – helping prospects choose between solutions).
Visitor Intent for Case Studies/Customer Stories
As with all web copy, before you start writing, you need to consider the visitor intent. Ask yourself: why is it that people are likely to visit those pages? What questions do they have/what are they trying to better understand?
In most instances, you’ll probably come up with something along the lines of:
- To gain an idea of the types of challenges you’ve helped people overcome previously (Marketing/Pre-Sales)
- To understand where you have helped resolve a specific challenge for a previous customer (Sales)
Writing Case Studies and Customer Stories
Whether you decide on a case study or customer story approach, when it comes to writing your copy, the following best practice is advised:
- Use a storytelling approach and quote customers directly where possible
- Use stats/data to highlight key results rather than burying them in text
- Use imagery to highlight design/processes
- Don’t be afraid of sharing lessons learnt/things that didn’t go well (it’s a chance to highlight your problem solving and customer service capabilities!)
- Remember that case studies should focus more specifically on ‘How’ and will generally use more technical language than customer stories
- For customer stories: use a Problem-Solution-Results structure for Customer Stories
- For Case Studies: use a problem/challenge approach to highlight the decision process made by the customer, then take a deeper dive into the solution, first describing the implementation in detail, then the advantages and the results/outcomes
Template/Design Considerations for Case Studies
Once you’ve understood the visitor intent, and done the writing, you need to consider how to present the information on the page: how to display the page visually, and what media/other assets you can use to add some additional interest and information.
Consider the following:
- Have a callout panel to highlight information that’s consistent across all stories (e.g. industry/sector, size of business, timescale, budget/cost, tools/tech utilised)
- Include the customer logo and short overview of who they are and what they do (just because you know who they are, don’t assume that everyone else does!)
- If the project won awards, include a logo (and link to the press release/blog announcement where possible)
Links & CTAs for Case Study Webpages
When it comes to pages to to link through and the CTA to use at the end of your case study or customer story pages, consider the following:
- Link to/from relevant product/service pages within the copy
- Use a CTA to highlight relevant guide/pillar page if it’s an area you’re particularly specialist in
- Consider a fixed footer-CTA to ‘Discuss a similar project’
Case Study or Customer Story?
Still not sure whether you should be writing a case study or a customer story for your website? As with most things in marketing: it depends!
Having said that, if I was to choose one side of the fence over the other, due to their use earlier in the decision-making process and ease of creation, I’d generally recommended that you use customer stories as your primary approach (accessible from your main navigation).
You can then utilise deeper dive case studies as downloadable resources or long-from blog posts that you can point people to once they are further down their decision-making process.
As a final piece of advice: Which ever you choose, just ensure that you stick with one format consistently on your site!
Need something to help get you started? Download a template
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