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What does a written case study look like

How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template

HubSpot also recommends this free case study creation resource.

Earning the trust of prospective customers can be a struggle. Before you can even begin to expect to earn their business, you need to demonstrate your ability to deliver on what your product or service promises.

Sure, you could say that you’re great at X or that you’re way ahead of the competition when it comes to Y. But at the end of the day, what you really need to win new business is cold, hard proof.

One of the best ways to prove your worth is through a compelling case study. In fact, HubSpot’s 2020 State of Marketing report found that case studies are so compelling that they are the fifth most commonly used type of content used by marketers.

Below, I’ll walk you through what a case study is, how to prepare for writing one, what you need to include in it, and how it can be an effective tactic. To jump to different areas of this post, click on the links below to automatically scroll.

Case Study Definition

A case study is a specific challenge a business has faced, and the solution they’ve chosen to solve it. Case studies can vary greatly in length and focus on several details related to the initial challenge and applied solution, and can be presented in various forms like a video, white paper, blog post, etc.

In professional settings, it’s common for a case study to tell the story of a successful business partnership between a vendor and a client. Perhaps the success you’re highlighting is in the number of leads your client generated, customers closed, or revenue gained. Any one of these key performance indicators (KPIs) are examples of your company’s services in action.

When done correctly, these examples of your work can chronicle the positive impact your business has on existing or previous customers and help you attract new clients.

Case Study Templates

To help you arm your prospects with information they can trust, we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on how to create effective case studies for your business with free case study templates for creating your own.

Case Study Templates

Tell us a little about yourself below to gain access today:

And to give you more options, we’ll highlight some useful templates that serve different needs. But remember, there are endless possibilities when it comes to demonstrating the work your business has done.

1. General Case Study Template

Starting off with a straightforward, generic template can be a great foundation for your case study. With this first template, your business can elaborate on any solution provided to a satisfied customer — from their background, to what led to them doing business with you, to the results they’ve seen.

Along with the simplistic design of this template, each section is clearly distinct and outlines the type of information or direction to take to tell you and your customer’s story better. And for added benefit, when you download this template you’ll find bracket prompts for ideation and instructions to follow as you fill it in.

2. Data-Driven Case Study Template

For those looking to show off objective and numeric solutions, HubSpot’s Data-Driven template is a great template to work with. It’s structured to highlight the most notable achievement metrics that a specific customer has seen with your product and/or service.

As you work through this template, you’ll find similar bracketed prompts and sections as the generic template — but with more eye-catching visual cues for your customer’s success points to be properly showcased.

3. Product Specific Case Study Template

Do you have a specific product or service that you’re trying to sell, but not enough reviews or success stories? This Product Specific case study template will help.

This template relies less on metrics, and more on highlighting the customer’s experience and satisfaction. As you follow the template instructions, you’ll be prompted to speak more about the benefits of the specific product, rather than your team’s process for working with the customer.

4. Bold Social Media Business Case Study Template

You can find templates that represent different niches, industries, or strategies that your business has found success in — like a bold social media business case study template.

In this template, you can tell the story of how your social media marketing strategy has helped you or your client through collaboration or sale of your service. Customize it to reflect the different marketing channels used in your business and show off how well your business has been able to boost traffic, engagement, follows, and more.

5. Lead Generation Business Case Study Template

It’s important to note that not every case study has to be the product of a sale or customer story, sometimes they can be informative lessons that your own business has experienced. A great example of this is the Lead Generation Business case study template.

If you’re looking to share operational successes regarding how your team has improved processes or content, you should include the stories of different team members involved, how the solution was found, and how it has made a difference in the work your business does.

Now that we’ve discussed different templates and ideas for how to use them, let’s break down how to create your own case study with one.

How to Write a Case Study

  1. Get started with case study templates.
  2. Determine the case study’s objective.
  3. Establish a case study medium.
  4. Find the right case study candidate.
  5. Contact your candidate for permission to write about them.
  6. Ensure you have all the resources you need to proceed once you get a response.
  7. Download a case study email template.
  8. Define the process you want to follow with the client.
  9. Ensure you’re asking the right questions.
  10. Layout your case study format.
  11. Publish and promote your case study.

1. Get started with case study templates.

Telling your customer’s story is a delicate process — you need to highlight their success while naturally incorporating your business into their story.

If you’re just getting started with case studies, we recommend you download HubSpot’s Case Study Templates we mentioned before to kickstart the process.

2. Determine the case study’s objective.

All business case studies are designed to demonstrate the value of your services, but they can focus on several different client objectives.

Your first step when writing a case study is to determine the objective or goal of the subject you’re featuring. In other words, what will the client have succeeded in doing by the end of the piece?

The client objective you focus on will depend on what you want to prove to your future customers as a result of publishing this case study.

Your case study can focus on one of the following client objectives:

  • Complying with government regulation
  • Lowering business costs
  • Becoming profitable
  • Generating more leads
  • Closing on more customers
  • Generating more revenue
  • Expanding into a new market
  • Becoming more sustainable or energy-efficient

3. Establish a case study medium.

Next, you’ll determine the medium in which you’ll create the case study. In other words, how will you tell this story?

Case studies don’t have to be simple, written one-pagers. Using different media in your case study can allow you to promote your final piece on different channels. For example, while a written case study might just live on your website and get featured in a Facebook post, you can post an infographic case study on Pinterest and a video case study on your YouTube channel.

Here are some different case study mediums to consider:

Written Case Study

Consider writing this case study in the form of an ebook and converting it to a downloadable PDF. Then, gate the PDF behind a landing page and form for readers to fill out before downloading the piece, allowing this case study to generate leads for your business.

Video Case Study

Plan on meeting with the client and shooting an interview. Seeing the subject, in person, talk about the service you provided them can go a long way in the eyes of your potential customers.

Infographic Case Study

Use the long, vertical format of an infographic to tell your success story from top to bottom. As you progress down the infographic, emphasize major KPIs using bigger text and charts that show the successes your client has had since working with you.

Podcast Case Study

Podcasts are a platform for you to have a candid conversation with your client. This type of case study can sound more real and human to your audience — they’ll know the partnership between you and your client was a genuine success.

4. Find the right case study candidate.

Writing about your previous projects requires more than picking a client and telling a story. You need permission, quotes, and a plan. To start, here are a few things to look for in potential candidates.

Product Knowledge

It helps to select a customer who’s well-versed in the logistics of your product or service. That way, he or she can better speak to the value of what you offer in a way that makes sense for future customers.

Remarkable Results

Clients that have seen the best results are going to make the strongest case studies. If their own businesses have seen an exemplary ROI from your product or service, they’re more likely to convey the enthusiasm that you want prospects to feel, too.

One part of this step is to choose clients who have experienced unexpected success from your product or service. When you’ve provided non-traditional customers — in industries that you don’t usually work with, for example — with positive results, it can help to remove doubts from prospects.

Recognizable Names

While small companies can have powerful stories, bigger or more notable brands tend to lend credibility to your own. In fact, 89% of consumers say they’ll buy from a brand they already recognize over a competitor, especially if they already follow them on social media.

Switchers

Customers that came to you after working with a competitor help highlight your competitive advantage and might even sway decisions in your favor.

5. Contact your candidate for permission to write about them.

To get the case study candidate involved, you have to set the stage for clear and open communication. That means outlining expectations and a timeline right away — not having those is one of the biggest culprits in delayed case study creation.

Most importantly at this point, however, is getting your subject’s approval. When first reaching out to your case study candidate, provide them with the case study’s objective and format — both of which you will have come up with in the first two steps above.

To get this initial permission from your subject, put yourself in their shoes — what would they want out of this case study? Although you’re writing this for your own company’s benefit, your subject is far more interested in the benefit it has for them.

Benefits to Offer Your Case Study Candidate

Here are four potential benefits you can promise your case study candidate to gain their approval.

Brand Exposure

Explain to your subject to whom this case study will be exposed, and how this exposure can help increase their brand awareness both in and beyond their own industry. In the B2B sector, brand awareness can be hard to collect outside one’s own market, making case studies particularly useful to a client looking to expand their name’s reach.

Employee Exposure

Allow your subject to provide quotes with credits back to specific employees. When this is an option for them, their brand isn’t the only thing expanding its reach — their employees can get their name out there, too. This presents your subject with networking and career development opportunities they might not have otherwise.

Product Discount

This is a more tangible incentive you can offer your case study candidate, especially if they’re a current customer of yours. If they agree to be your subject, offer them a product discount — or a free trial of another product — as a thank-you for their help creating your case study.

Backlinks and Website Traffic

Here’s a benefit that is sure to resonate with your subject’s marketing team: If you publish your case study on your website, and your study links back to your subject’s website — known as a “backlink” — this small gesture can give them website traffic from visitors who click through to your subject’s website.

Additionally, a backlink from you increases your subject’s page authority in the eyes of Google. This helps them rank more highly in search engine results and collect traffic from readers who are already looking for information about their industry.

6. Ensure you have all the resources you need to proceed once you get a response.

So you know what you’re going to offer your candidate, it’s time that you prepare the resources needed for if and when they agree to participate, like a case study release form and success story letter.

Let’s break those two down.

Case Study Release Form

This document can vary, depending on factors like the size of your business, the nature of your work, and what you intend to do with the case studies once they are completed. That said, you should typically aim to include the following in the Case Study Release Form:

  • A clear explanation of why you are creating this case study and how it will be used.
  • A statement defining the information and potentially trademarked information you expect to include about the company — things like names, logos, job titles, and pictures.
  • An explanation of what you expect from the participant, beyond the completion of the case study. For example, is this customer willing to act as a reference or share feedback, and do you have permission to pass contact information along for these purposes?
  • A note about compensation.
Success Story Letter

As noted in the sample email, this document serves as an outline for the entire case study process. Other than a brief explanation of how the customer will benefit from case study participation, you’ll want to be sure to define the following steps in the Success Story Letter.

7. Download a case study email template.

While you gathered your resources, your candidate has gotten time to read over the proposal. When your candidate approves of your case study, it’s time to send them a release form.

A case study release form tells you what you’ll need from your chosen subject, like permission to use any brand names and share the project information publicly. Kick-off this process with an email that runs through exactly what they can expect from you, as well as what you need from them. To give you an idea of what that might look like, check out this sample email:

8. Define the process you want to follow with the client.

Before you can begin the case study, you have to have a clear outline of the case study process with your client. An example of an effective outline would include the following information.

The Acceptance

First, you’ll need to receive internal approval from the company’s marketing team. Once approved, the Release Form should be signed and returned to you. It’s also a good time to determine a timeline that meets the needs and capabilities of both teams.

The Questionnaire

To ensure that you have a productive interview — which is one of the best ways to collect information for the case study — you’ll want to ask the participant to complete a questionnaire before this conversation. That will provide your team with the necessary foundation to organize the interview, and get the most out of it.

The Interview

Once the questionnaire is completed, someone on your team should reach out to the participant to schedule a 30- to 60-minute interview, which should include a series of custom questions related to the customer’s experience with your product or service.

The Draft Review

After the case study is composed, you’ll want to send a draft to the customer, allowing an opportunity to give you feedback and edits.

The Final Approval

Once any necessary edits are completed, send a revised copy of the case study to the customer for final approval.

Once the case study goes live — on your website or elsewhere — it’s best to contact the customer with a link to the page where the case study lives. Don’t be afraid to ask your participants to share these links with their own networks, as it not only demonstrates your ability to deliver positive results and impressive growth, as well.

9. Ensure you’re asking the right questions.

Before you execute the questionnaire and actual interview, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. A strong case study results from being prepared to ask the right questions. What do those look like? Here are a few examples to get you started:

  • What are your goals?
  • What challenges were you experiencing before purchasing our product or service?
  • What made our product or service stand out against our competitors?
  • What did your decision-making process look like?
  • How have you benefited from using our product or service? (Where applicable, always ask for data.)

Keep in mind that the questionnaire is designed to help you gain insights into what sort of strong, success-focused questions to ask during the actual interview. And once you get to that stage, we recommend that you follow the “Golden Rule of Interviewing.” Sounds fancy, right? It’s actually quite simple — ask open-ended questions.

If you’re looking to craft a compelling story, “yes” or “no” answers won’t provide the details you need. Focus on questions that invite elaboration, such as, “Can you describe . ” or, “Tell me about . “

In terms of the interview structure, we recommend categorizing the questions and flowing them into six specific sections that will mirror a successful case study format. Combined, they’ll allow you to gather enough information to put together a rich, comprehensive study.

Open with the customer’s business.

The goal of this section is to generate a better understanding of the company’s current challenges and goals, and how they fit into the landscape of their industry. Sample questions might include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How many employees do you have?
  • What are some of the objectives of your department at this time?
Cite a problem or pain point.

To tell a compelling story, you need context. That helps match the customer’s need with your solution. Sample questions might include:

  • What challenges and objectives led you to look for a solution?
  • What might have happened if you did not identify a solution?
  • Did you explore other solutions before this that did not work out? If so, what happened?
Discuss the decision process.

Exploring how the customer decided to work with you helps to guide potential customers through their own decision-making processes. Sample questions might include:

  • How did you hear about our product or service?
  • Who was involved in the selection process?
  • What was most important to you when evaluating your options?
Explain how a solution was implemented.

The focus here should be placed on the customer’s experience during the onboarding process. Sample questions might include:

  • How long did it take to get up and running?
  • Did that meet your expectations?
  • Who was involved in the process?
Explain how the solution works.

The goal of this section is to better understand how the customer is using your product or service. Sample questions might include:

  • Is there a particular aspect of the product or service that you rely on most?
  • Who is using the product or service?
End with the results.

In this section, you want to uncover impressive measurable outcomes — the more numbers, the better. Sample questions might include:

  • How is the product or service helping you save time and increase productivity?
  • In what ways does that enhance your competitive advantage?
  • How much have you increased metrics X, Y, and Z?

10. Lay out your case study format.

When it comes time to take all of the information you’ve collected and actually turn it into something, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Where should you start? What should you include? What’s the best way to structure it?

To help you get a handle on this step, it’s important to first understand that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to the ways you can present a case study. They can be very visual, which you’ll see in some of the examples we’ve included below, and can sometimes be communicated mostly through video or photos, with a bit of accompanying text.

Pro Tip: Even if you do elect to use a visual case study, it should still include all of this information, but be presented in its intended format

Whether your case study is primarily written or visual, we recommend focusing on the seven-part outline, below.

How to Format a Case Study

  1. Title
  2. Subtitle
  3. About the Subject
  4. Challenges and Objectives
  5. How the Solution Helped
  6. Results
  7. Supporting Visuals and Quotes
  8. Future Plans
  9. Call to Action
  1. Title: Keep it short. Develop a succinct but interesting project name you can give the work you did with your subject.
  2. Subtitle: Use this copy to briefly elaborate on the accomplishment. What was done? The case study itself will explain how you got there.
  3. Executive Summary: A 2-4 sentence summary of the entire story. You’ll want to follow it with 2-3 bullet points that display metrics showcasing success.
  4. About the Subject: An introduction to the person or company you served, which can be pulled from a LinkedIn Business profile or client website.
  5. Challenges and Objectives: A 2-3 paragraph description of the customer’s challenges, before using your product or service. This section should also include the goals or objectives the customer set out to achieve.
  6. How Product/Service Helped: A 2-3 paragraph section that describes how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
  7. Results: A 2-3 paragraph testimonial that proves how your product or service specifically benefited the person or company and helped achieve its goals. Include numbers to quantify your contributions.
  8. Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Pick one or two powerful quotes that you would feature at the bottom of the sections above, as well as a visual that supports the story you are telling.
  9. Future Plans: Everyone likes an epilogue. Comment on what’s ahead for your case study subject, whether or not those plans involve you.
  10. Call to Action (CTA): Not every case study needs a CTA, but putting a passive one at the end of your case study can encourage your readers to take an action on your website after learning about the work you’ve done.

To help you visualize this case study outline, check out the case study template below, which can also be downloaded here.

When laying out your case study, focus on conveying the information you’ve gathered in the most clear and concise way possible. Make it easy to scan and comprehend, and be sure to provide an attractive call-to-action at the bottom — that should provide readers an opportunity to learn more about your product or service.

11. Publish and promote your case study.

Once you’ve completed your case study, it’s time to publish and promote it. Some case study formats have pretty obvious promotional outlets — a video case study can go on YouTube, just as an infographic case study can go on Pinterest.

But there are still other ways to publish and promote your case study. Here are a couple of ideas:

Lead Gen in a Blog Post

As stated earlier in this article, written case studies make terrific lead-generators if you convert them into a downloadable format, like a PDF. To generate leads from your case study, consider writing a blog post that tells an abbreviated story of your client’s success and asking readers to fill out a form with their name and email address if they’d like to read the rest in your PDF.

Then, promote this blog post on social media, through a Facebook post or a tweet.

Published as a Page on Your Website

As a growing business, you might need to display your case study out in the open to gain the trust of your target audience.

Rather than gating it behind a landing page, publish your case study to its own page on your website, and direct people here from your homepage with a “Case Studies” or “Testimonials” button along your homepage’s top navigation bar.

Business Case Study Examples

You drove the results, made the connection, set the expectations, used the questionnaire to conduct a successful interview, and boiled down your findings into a compelling story. And after all of that, you’re left with a little piece of sales enabling gold — a case study.

To show you what a well-executed final product looks like, have a look at some of these marketing case study examples.

1. “Shopify Uses HubSpot CRM to Transform High Volume Sales Organization,” by HubSpot

What’s interesting about this case study is the way it leads with the customer. This reflects a major HubSpot value, which is to always solve for the customer first. The copy leads with a brief description of why Shopify uses HubSpot and is accompanied by a short video and some basic statistics on the company.

Notice that this case study uses mixed media. Yes, there is a short video, but it’s elaborated upon in the additional text on the page. So, while case studies can use one or the other, don’t be afraid to combine written copy with visuals to emphasize the project’s success.

2. “New England Journal of Medicine,” by Corey McPherson Nash

When branding and design studio Corey McPherson Nash showcases its work, it makes sense for it to be visual — after all, that’s what they do. So in building the case study for the studio’s work on the New England Journal of Medicine’s integrated advertising campaign — a project that included the goal of promoting the client’s digital presence — Corey McPherson Nash showed its audience what it did, rather than purely telling it.

Notice that the case study does include some light written copy — which includes the major points we’ve suggested — but lets the visuals do the talking, allowing users to really absorb the studio’s services.

3. “Designing the Future of Urban Farming,” by IDEO

Here’s a design company that knows how to lead with simplicity in its case studies. As soon as the visitor arrives at the page, he or she is greeted with a big, bold photo, and two very simple columns of text — “The Challenge” and “The Outcome.”

Immediately, IDEO has communicated two of the case study’s major pillars. And while that’s great — the company created a solution for vertical farming startup INFARM’s challenge — it doesn’t stop there. As the user scrolls down, those pillars are elaborated upon with comprehensive (but not overwhelming) copy that outlines what that process looked like, replete with quotes and additional visuals.

4. “Secure Wi-Fi Wins Big for Tournament,” by WatchGuard

Then, there are the cases when visuals can tell almost the entire story — when executed correctly. Network security provider WatchGuard can do that through this video, which tells the story of how its services enhanced the attendee and vendor experience at the Windmill Ultimate Frisbee tournament.

5. Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Boosts Social Media Engagement and Brand Awareness with HubSpot

In the case study above, HubSpot uses photos, videos, screenshots, and helpful stats to tell the story of how the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame used the bot, CRM, and social media tools to gain brand awareness.

6. Small Desk Plant Business Ups Sales by 30% With Trello

This case study from Trello is straightforward and easy to understand. It begins by explaining the background of the company that decided to use it, what its goals were, and how it planned to use Trello to help them.

It then goes on to discuss how the software was implemented and what tasks and teams benefited from it. Towards the end, it explains the sales results that came from implementing the software and includes quotes from decision-makers at the company that implemented it.

7. Facebook’s Mercedes Benz Success Story

Facebook’s Success Stories page hosts a number of well-designed and easy-to-understand case studies that visually and editorially get to the bottom line quickly.

Each study begins with key stats that draw the reader in. Then it’s organized by highlighting a problem or goal in the introduction, the process the company took to reach its goals, and the results. Then, in the end, Facebook notes the tools used in the case study.

Showcasing Your Work

You work hard at what you do. Now, it’s time to show it to the world — and, perhaps more important, to potential customers. Before you show off the projects that make you the proudest, we hope you follow these important steps that will help you effectively communicate that work and leave all parties feeling good about it.

Editor’s Note: This blog post was originally published in February 2017 but was updated for comprehensiveness and freshness in July 2021.

How to Write a Case Study (+10 Examples & Free Template!)

Ah, the case study: One of the most important pieces of marketing content for a business, and yet all too often, also the most boring. The problem with this is, lose a reader and you lose a customer. It doesn’t have to be this way!

In this guide, I’m going to show you how to write a case study that prospects will actually want to read. An attractive, inspiring, and convincing case study that turns readers into customers.

Table of contents

What is a case study?

A case study is a self-contained story about how a real customer overcame their problems using your products or services. Notice how I used the word story. Marketers are obsessed with the notion of “storytelling” (usually without actually telling stories), but a good case study is a story with protagonist (your customer) who has a problem but who wins out in the end.

This case study example by Intercom puts faces to the name of their protagonist, Atlassian.

By the end of a case study, the reader should be able to visualize themselves as the hero of their own story. They should be able to relate to the problems of your featured customer, and see themselves achieving their own goals by using your product or service.

Why write a business case study?

Case studies may not be as sexy as a viral blog post, and as such they’re often overlooked in favor of other content formats. This begs the question – why create marketing case studies at all?

The answer is because they’re really effective.

  • Build customer loyalty: Not only is this an opportunity to engage with your satisfied customer, but to reaffirm why they chose you and why they should continue to choose you.
  • Assist sales: In addition to having case studies posted on your website, salespeople can share them with potential customers in conversations to help them build confidence in the prospect.
  • Multi-purpose content: Quotes and data snippets from your case studies make great testimonial tidbits for your the homepage, products/services pages, landing pages, and more. You can also repurpose these into PDFs, videos, blog posts, and infographics.
  • Earn trust: Case studies turn positive customer opinions into tangible data that actually proves your value. In fact, it’s among the most trusted content types according to 60% of marketers.

How long should a case study be?

This varies by industry (a kitchen remodeling business could probably tell their whole story in pictures while a software invoicing solution, not so much), but here are some guidelines:

  • Most resources tell you that a case study should be 500-1500 words.
  • We also encourage you to have a prominent snapshot section of 100 words or less.
  • The results and benefits section should take the bulk of the word count.
  • Don’t use more words than you need. Let your data, images, and customers quotes do the talking.

What a marketing case study is NOT

A case study is an on-brand, data-driven, objective resource for potential customers to gain confidence in your business. Here is what they are not.

  • Case studies are not press releases. Although case studies can be used to accompany new product launches, they are not merely vehicles to talk about new products. In fact, you should make your case studies as evergreen as possible so you can get the most mileage out of them.
  • Case studies aren’t advertisements. Bits and pieces of cases studies can be used on landing pages or even in ad copy, but the case study itself should not be an ad. It’s not about roping in a customer or using exciting or embellishing words. It’s about sharing the facts.
  • Good case studies are not about your company. They’re about the customer’s journey. Most case studies are bland, instantly forgettable crap because marketers ignore the fact that case studies are stories in the most literal sense. They get preoccupied with things like brand voice or messaging matrices and forget to leverage the narrative form that makes stories so compelling. Or, even worse, they simply can’t stop themselves from harping on about how great their company is, the gravest of sins when case studies are concerned.

How to write a case study: steps & format

Now that we’re clear on what a marketing case study is (and isn’t), as well as why you should be producing them, let’s talk about how to actually write a case study worth reading.

  1. Clear headline: Like a newspaper headline, it should give the most important information. A subtitle with supporting details or a customer quote is optional.
  2. Snapshot: Provide the TLDR prominently at the top, including the client’s name/industry, the product/service used, and quick result stats.
  3. Client introduction: One or two sentences describing the customer and a highlight about them.
  4. Problem: State the problem/goal, consequences, and any hesitations the customer had. Include quotes.
  5. Solution: Share how they found you, why they chose you, what solution they chose, and how it was implemented. Include quotes.
  6. Results: Describe the results and the benefits, as well as any bonus benefits that came of it. Include quotes.
  7. Conclusion: Share additional praise from the customer and words of advice they have for other people/businesses like them.

A case study example

Let’s go into the details on each one of the steps above, using a fictional example. Our business is Kumbo Digital and our client is Currigate.

1. Start with a clear headline

This should be like a newspaper headline that gives the most important information. A subtitle with supporting details or a customer quote is optional.

Currigate Plugs $12k in Profit Leaks with Kumbo Digital

2. Provide a snapshot

There should be a section at the top with the important details. This includes

  • Customer name/category/industry
  • Product/service used
  • Results (ideally three stats)

3. Introduce the client

Share one to two sentences with your customer’s name, industry, location, and a highlight.

Currigate is a software service that offers highly customizable subscription packages to banks, brokers, and investors in the mortgage lending market.

4. State the problem, consequences, & hesitations

Explain the issue the customer was facing or the goal they were having a hard time reaching—as well as the negative outcomes.

While this high level of customization is what sets Currigate apart from its competitors, it also requires multiple applications with disparate data and heavy manual work. Account owners were spending so much time manage invoicing, there was little left over to build relationships with clients, stay on top of overages, and upsell. This was leading to leaks in profitability and a weakening of customer service.

Include customer quotes as well as any hesitancies they had with using a product or service like yours.

“We were getting in our own way,” said Melanie Grigham, Currigate’s VP of Operations. “Our customer relationships were starting to falter, and we knew we had to do something. But the thought of manipulating just one of our data sources—let alone all seven—was scary. There were so many random connections in place and so much confidential information, we couldn’t risk it all breaking.”

5. Describe the solution

Share how the customer found your business and why they chose you.

Grigham learned about Kumbo Digital through none other than Google research and decided to get in touch. “The thought of explaining the whole thing felt daunting, but I was relieved to hear [the rep] finishing my sentences for me!”

Include which specific product or service they chose, how it was implemented, and how the customer used it. Stay brief!

After learning the details of the situation, the Kumbo team proposed a custom solution that would integrate all of the data sources into one dashboard. “I was hesitant at first, but they showed me a small scale example which helped me to understand a little more about how it would work. I appreciated their patience with me as I took some time to make a decision.”

Grigham finally went with it. The dashboard took three weeks to implement and the data migration took just under a day.

6. Share the results & benefits

Share how the client used your product/service, what the results were, and the benefits. Include direct quotes and clear evidence (statistical data, before-and-after images, time-lapse videos, etc.)

With the new platform, Currigate’s account managers could access all seven data sources—as well as generate, track, send, and approve invoices—all in one place. Time spent invoicing went from days to hours, freeing up time for them to engage with customers and work toward strategic goals. “Our staff are less bogged down to the point where they’re asking to take on more clients—which is unheard of.”

The redesigned and simplified product catalog (206 product codes instead of 1,024) has also made it easier for them to upsell as well as recommend combinations for specific needs. “Sometimes our new clients don’t know what they want, and this is perfect for giving them a starting point.”

In addition, Currigate was able to identify $12,403 worth of overages they wouldn’t have caught otherwise. “Now, we can be sure that their customers are being billed appropriately (which is great for us) and receiving the services best fit for their dynamic needs (which is great for them). It’s a win-win.”

7. Conclude with words of advice and a CTA

Share where the client is headed, any additional quotes or praise, and/or their advice for similar potential clients.

Today, Currigate’s unique subscription model is as strong as ever. It’s even considering opening up to new markets. “We never thought we’d reach this point so soon—we thought new markets was years down the line,” said Melanie. When asked what advice she had for other businesses like hers, she talked about mixing faith and facts. “You’ve got to do your research to find a trusted provider, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to a leap of faith, and sometimes you just have to do it.”

Finish off with a CTA to contact your business and/or a link to view more case studies.

Tips on how to write a case study that prospects will want to read

Alright, so that was a basic example of a case study, but there’s more to it than just the words that comprise it. Here are eight tips to write a great case study that prospects will want to read and that will help close deals.

1. Make it as easy as possible for the client

Just like when asking for reviews, it’s important to make the process as clear and easy as possible for the client. When you reach out, ask if you can use their story of achievement as a case study for your business.

Make the details as clear as possible, including:

  • The process (20 minute interview, follow up with a draft for their approval).
  • Where the case study will live (on your website? in PDFs shared by sales reps? etc.)
  • Their options for the interview (in person, phone/video call, via email).
  • Any benefits (exposure on social, for example).

The clearer the picture you paint for them, the more receptive they’ll be to sharing their time with you.

2. Include a prominent snapshot with the results

While a good case study is like a story, you don’t want to hold out on your reader until the end. You want them to know the results right off the bat, then they can read further to find out how those results were achieved. In the example below, the overall picture is made clear with the title (The Loot Box Uses Ad Factory and Content Marketing to Drive Sales) and the three stats below it.

3. Choose an interesting angle

Apart from kitchen remodeling and website makeovers, it can be hard to make a case study compelling. But there is always room for creativity.

  • Focus on particularly interesting customers who use your product in a unique way or who have a more extreme situation.
  • Weave a theme into the story that connects your industry with theirs (this might mean puns).
  • Hook the reader at the beginning with a teaser about the best result in the study.
  • Incorporate the client’s unique personality into the story.

The more compelling your angle, the better the story. The better the story, the more engaging your case study will be. In Mailchimp’s case study example below, the customer name (Good Dye Young), compelling headline, and expressive image all work together to give this case study life.

4. But make it relatable to all prospects

Your angle is the “hook” that will catch your audience’s attention, but it’s essential that ALL prospects can relate to and identify with the problems encountered by your case study’s “protagonist.” This means catering to your core demographics and target markets, and solving the problems most commonly experienced by your customers.

The same Mailchimp case study example above finishes off with an “advice for other small businesses” section:

5. Make them visually appealing (and consistent)

We already know that case studies aren’t the most exciting reads, so don’t make it worse by throwing a bunch of text and numbers onto a page. A good case study is skimmable, visual, and organized.

Whatever format you go with, use it for all of your case studies. This will not only help you to streamline the process but also make it easier for prospects to digest the information.

6. Be the supporting character, not the hero

Your company should always be positioned as a helping hand that helped the real hero of the story—your client—overcome their obstacle. There are two reasons this approach is so effective. Firstly, you want your audience to visualize themselves as the protagonist of the case study. This is much more difficult if you won’t stop talking about how great your company or product is. Secondly, adopting a more humble tone can help increase your credibility in the mind of the reader.

  • Allbird’s omnichannel conversions soared
  • Gymshark scaled internationally
  • Staples replatformed in half the time
  • Bombas saved $108,000 a year

7. Let your clients tell their own story

As a storyteller, it’s your job to craft a compelling narrative about how your featured client triumphed over the forces of evil using your product or service, but that doesn’t mean your protagonist doesn’t have their own voice.

Let them tell the story in their own words and then incorporate direct quotes into your narrative. This will break up your text, increase credibility, and make your protagonist a tangible character that readers can relate to. Take an interview style format and use paraphrasing and annotations so the text isn’t repetitive. Set up the segue and create room for your client’s quote, and let them do the rest.

8. Have realistic expectations

Yes, we want to create a useful, helpful resource for prospective customers, but let’s be real—nobody’s winning a Pulitzer for a case study, and it won’t be going viral on social media, no matter how well-written it is.

Case studies are little more than tools to be used by either self-motivated prospects researching your company, or by sales professionals as tools to help convince prospects to convert. Nothing more. They’re designed for audiences that are already strongly considering becoming your customers, which is a smaller but more qualified group of people than your general audience.

So don’t be disheartened if your case study content doesn’t attract as much traffic or engagement as your best or even average content. They’re not meant to. But that doesn’t mean you should stop creating them or start obsessing over how to improve them.

Business case study examples

Here are some business case study examples that put the tips in this guide into play.

LOCALiQ

Call us biased, but LOCALiQ’s case study format is pretty rad. What we like about it:

  • High-quality visual at the top.
  • Immediate snapshot of customer and results.
  • Clear-cut sections with challenges, solutions, and results.
  • Customer quotes layered in with paraphrasing and commentary.

Intercom

You saw a sneak peek of this above! What we like about it:

  • Special care given to give the client a face and a glowing description.
  • Nice mix of real images with graphics (one of our landing page design trends).
  • Newspaper headline approach (with a rhyme!): Atlassian powers sales with support at scale with Intercom
  • Prominent data results
  • Snapshot sidebar on the left with client information and features used.

Mailchimp

After the “Good Dye Young” example earlier, how could we not include another Mailchimp case study? What we like about it:

    How Stretch & Flex Started and Grew During a Pandemic
  • How the subtitle aids in the TLDR: Surveys helped the virtual Pilates studio make quick adjustments and plan for long‑term success.
  • Colorful, expressive images and clean snapshot.
  • Alternating background colors to distinguish the quotes and stats—the best parts of the story, of course.
  • Conclusion with advice to small businesses.

Wrike

Wrike takes the case study snapshot to the next level in this example. What we like about it:

  • Puts a face to the name of the client, just like Intercom does.
  • Nice mix of photos and graphics together (like Intercom).
  • Mega snapshot that basically gives you all of the information you need.
  • Bright green result data.

Slintel

Our final marketing case study example comes from Slintel, a go-to-market intelligence software. What we like about it:

  • Attractive headline: Leoforce sees 2x increase in meetings booked with Slintel
  • Coordination of image with branding colors.
  • That it is written by their RevOps manager (what is RevOps?).
  • Descriptive headings: The Challenge: Cleaning up bad data.
  • Large results data and prominent quote callout boxes.

Marketing case study templates

To make things easy for you, I’ve compiled the tips and examples into a marketing case study template, in document form, that you can use to write your own.

  • WordStream’s case study template doc: All the steps in this guide compiled into this case study Google Doc template to make your life much easier.
  • Canva case study templates: Canva has a number of free case study templates (the one in tip #5 is one of them!) that look professional and polished.
  • Visme’s case study templates: With a free login, you can access and customize some of Visme’s case study templates.

Use these case study examples & tips to get started with your own

No two businesses are alike, and case studies vary widely in terms of style, tone, and format. One thing that all marketing case studies share, however, is their purpose – to convince prospects that doing business with you is a good idea. With these case study steps, tips, examples, and templates, you’ll be well on your way to producing stories your prospects will actually want to read.

Meet The Author

Kristen McCormick

Kristen is the Senior Managing Editor at WordStream, where she helps businesses to make sense of their online marketing and advertising. She specializes in SEO and copywriting and finds life to be exponentially more delightful on a bicycle.