The Benefits of Having Case Studies for Your Business
Businesses typically approach case studies in one of two ways. They either don’t create any at all, or they are cobbled together under duress in response to a client request. But with the advent of social media in particular, case studies can become a significant part of your content marketing. It’s also true they are work well for internal projects too.
So what is a case study and why are they important?
A case study comprises a problem or situation, a solution and the outcome or results. Of course they existed prior to the advent of the internet but now they have a whole new lease of life. You see the same case study can be used in different contexts or if you feel you have to, you can re-work it for different purposes.
If you develop client case studies it’s always good practice to make the client aware of the fact and you can ask them to sign off on the final version. In my experience the biggest mistake businesses make (aside from not bothering to develop any) is to wait too long after the fact to put pen to paper.
The first two parts of the case study should really be written alongside the proposal or shortly thereafter. From both training and marketing perspectives a well written case study captures the collective knowledge of those who work on it. The final part can be written up about six months after with input from the client. It’s a fantastic client service opportunity.
The actual process of writing up the case study may throw up some interesting points. For example, if you find you struggle with identifying the client’s current situation in the case study then this part of the process needs further work which in turn will benefit future proposals. Framing a case study also helps focus individuals on desired outcomes, a key element in any marketing.
I would stress again that case studies can be completed client by client or for internal projects. Anyone who operates a client facing business will admit they don’t get it right 100% of the time. A case study will bring this into sharp relief. If you come across situations where the success of a project was not what you planned it to be, give yourself a pat on the back. By that I mean you’re in a position to take what you know and learn from it. Too few businesses in my experience identify opportunities for improvement. Case studies written in cooperation with clients can give you those kinds of insights.
Now case studies can function as standalone items or be included as reference material in proposals, but today they also have an application in social media marketing. Social media marketing such as having a presence on Facebook gives you an opportunity to develop your personality online and showcase your experience and skills to an interested audience. You may wish to re-work a case study for social media application. In any event they are an effective form of knowledge marketing giving your audience confidence you know what you’re about.
There is one final thing to mention in relation to case studies. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you need to write them all yourself. That’s usually a recipe for disaster. Depending on the nature of your business they can be a great development opportunity for other people.