All You Wanted to Know About How to Write a Case Study
What do you study in your college? If you are a psychology, sociology, or anthropology student, we bet you might be familiar with what a case study is. This research method is used to study a certain person, group, or situation. In this guide from our dissertation writing service , you will learn how to write a case study professionally, from researching to citing sources properly. Also, we will explore different types of case studies and show you examples — so that you won’t have any other questions left.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study is a subcategory of research design which investigates problems and offers solutions. Case studies can range from academic research studies to corporate promotional tools trying to sell an idea—their scope is quite vast.
What Is the Difference Between a Research Paper and a Case Study?
While research papers turn the reader’s attention to a certain problem, case studies go even further. Case study guidelines require students to pay attention to details, examining issues closely and in-depth using different research methods. For example, case studies may be used to examine court cases if you study Law, or a patient's health history if you study Medicine. Case studies are also used in Marketing, which are thorough, empirically supported analysis of a good or service's performance. Well-designed case studies can be valuable for prospective customers as they can identify and solve the potential customers pain point.
Case studies involve a lot of storytelling – they usually examine particular cases for a person or a group of people. This method of research is very helpful, as it is very practical and can give a lot of hands-on information. Most commonly, the length of the case study is about 500-900 words, which is much less than the length of an average research paper.
The structure of a case study is very similar to storytelling. It has a protagonist or main character, which in your case is actually a problem you are trying to solve. You can use the system of 3 Acts to make it a compelling story. It should have an introduction, rising action, a climax where transformation occurs, falling action, and a solution.
Here is a rough formula for you to use in your case study:
Problem (Act I): > Solution (Act II) > Result (Act III) > Conclusion.
Types of Case Studies
The purpose of a case study is to provide detailed reports on an event, an institution, a place, future customers, or pretty much anything. There are a few common types of case study, but the type depends on the topic. The following are the most common domains where case studies are needed:
- Historical case studies are great to learn from. Historical events have a multitude of source info offering different perspectives. There are always modern parallels where these perspectives can be applied, compared, and thoroughly analyzed.
- Problem-oriented case studies are usually used for solving problems. These are often assigned as theoretical situations where you need to immerse yourself in the situation to examine it. Imagine you’re working for a startup and you’ve just noticed a significant flaw in your product’s design. Before taking it to the senior manager, you want to do a comprehensive study on the issue and provide solutions. On a greater scale, problem-oriented case studies are a vital part of relevant socio-economic discussions.
- Cumulative case studies collect information and offer comparisons. In business, case studies are often used to tell people about the value of a product.
- Critical case studies explore the causes and effects of a certain case.
- Illustrative case studies describe certain events, investigating outcomes and lessons learned.
Need a compelling case study? EssayPro has got you covered. Our experts are ready to provide you with detailed, insightful case studies that capture the essence of real-world scenarios. Elevate your academic work with our professional assistance.
Case Study Format
The case study format is typically made up of eight parts:
- Executive Summary. Explain what you will examine in the case study. Write an overview of the field you’re researching. Make a thesis statement and sum up the results of your observation in a maximum of 2 sentences.
- Background. Provide background information and the most relevant facts. Isolate the issues.
- Case Evaluation. Isolate the sections of the study you want to focus on. In it, explain why something is working or is not working.
- Proposed Solutions. Offer realistic ways to solve what isn’t working or how to improve its current condition. Explain why these solutions work by offering testable evidence.
- Conclusion. Summarize the main points from the case evaluations and proposed solutions. 6. Recommendations. Talk about the strategy that you should choose. Explain why this choice is the most appropriate.
- Implementation. Explain how to put the specific strategies into action.
- References. Provide all the citations.
How to Write a Case Study
Let's discover how to write a case study.
Setting Up the Research
When writing a case study, remember that research should always come first. Reading many different sources and analyzing other points of view will help you come up with more creative solutions. You can also conduct an actual interview to thoroughly investigate the customer story that you'll need for your case study. Including all of the necessary research, writing a case study may take some time. The research process involves doing the following:
- Define your objective. Explain the reason why you’re presenting your subject. Figure out where you will feature your case study; whether it is written, on video, shown as an infographic, streamed as a podcast, etc.
- Determine who will be the right candidate for your case study. Get permission, quotes, and other features that will make your case study effective. Get in touch with your candidate to see if they approve of being part of your work. Study that candidate’s situation and note down what caused it.
- Identify which various consequences could result from the situation. Follow these guidelines on how to start a case study: surf the net to find some general information you might find useful.
- Make a list of credible sources and examine them. Seek out important facts and highlight problems. Always write down your ideas and make sure to brainstorm.
- Focus on several key issues – why they exist, and how they impact your research subject. Think of several unique solutions. Draw from class discussions, readings, and personal experience. When writing a case study, focus on the best solution and explore it in depth. After having all your research in place, writing a case study will be easy. You may first want to check the rubric and criteria of your assignment for the correct case study structure.
Read Also: 'CREDIBLE SOURCES: WHAT ARE THEY?'
Although your instructor might be looking at slightly different criteria, every case study rubric essentially has the same standards. Your professor will want you to exhibit 8 different outcomes:
- Correctly identify the concepts, theories, and practices in the discipline.
- Identify the relevant theories and principles associated with the particular study.
- Evaluate legal and ethical principles and apply them to your decision-making.
- Recognize the global importance and contribution of your case.
- Construct a coherent summary and explanation of the study.
- Demonstrate analytical and critical-thinking skills.
- Explain the interrelationships between the environment and nature.
- Integrate theory and practice of the discipline within the analysis.
Need Case Study DONE FAST?
Pick a topic, tell us your requirements and get your paper on time.
Case Study Outline
Let's look at the structure of an outline based on the issue of the alcoholic addiction of 30 people.
- Statement of the issue: Alcoholism is a disease rather than a weakness of character.
- Presentation of the problem: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there.
- Explanation of the terms: In the past, alcoholism was commonly referred to as alcohol dependence or alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is now the more severe stage of this addiction in the disorder spectrum.
- Hypotheses: Drinking in excess can lead to the use of other drugs.
- Importance of your story: How the information you present can help people with their addictions.
- Background of the story: Include an explanation of why you chose this topic.
- Presentation of analysis and data: Describe the criteria for choosing 30 candidates, the structure of the interview, and the outcomes.
- Strong argument 1: ex. X% of candidates dealing with anxiety and depression...
- Strong argument 2: ex. X amount of people started drinking by their mid-teens.
- Strong argument 3: ex. X% of respondents’ parents had issues with alcohol.
- Concluding statement: I have researched if alcoholism is a disease and found out that…
- Recommendations: Ways and actions for preventing alcohol use.
Writing a Case Study Draft
After you’ve done your case study research and written the outline, it’s time to focus on the draft. In a draft, you have to develop and write your case study by using: the data which you collected throughout the research, interviews, and the analysis processes that were undertaken. Follow these rules for the draft:
- Your draft should contain at least 4 sections: an introduction; a body where you should include background information, an explanation of why you decided to do this case study, and a presentation of your main findings; a conclusion where you present data; and references.
- In the introduction, you should set the pace very clearly. You can even raise a question or quote someone you interviewed in the research phase. It must provide adequate background information on the topic. The background may include analyses of previous studies on your topic. Include the aim of your case here as well. Think of it as a thesis statement. The aim must describe the purpose of your work—presenting the issues that you want to tackle. Include background information, such as photos or videos you used when doing the research.
- Describe your unique research process, whether it was through interviews, observations, academic journals, etc. The next point includes providing the results of your research. Tell the audience what you found out. Why is this important, and what could be learned from it? Discuss the real implications of the problem and its significance in the world.
- Include quotes and data (such as findings, percentages, and awards). This will add a personal touch and better credibility to the case you present. Explain what results you find during your interviews in regards to the problem and how it developed. Also, write about solutions which have already been proposed by other people who have already written about this case.
- At the end of your case study, you should offer possible solutions, but don’t worry about solving them yourself.
Use Data to Illustrate Key Points in Your Case Study
Even though your case study is a story, it should be based on evidence. Use as much data as possible to illustrate your point. Without the right data, your case study may appear weak and the readers may not be able to relate to your issue as much as they should. Let's see the examples from essay writing service :
With data: Alcoholism is affecting more than 14 million people in the USA, which makes it the third most common mental illness there. Without data: A lot of people suffer from alcoholism in the United States.
Try to include as many credible sources as possible. You may have terms or sources that could be hard for other cultures to understand. If this is the case, you should include them in the appendix or Notes for the Instructor or Professor.
Finalizing the Draft: Checklist
After you finish drafting your case study, polish it up by answering these ‘ask yourself’ questions and think about how to end your case study:
- Check that you follow the correct case study format, also in regards to text formatting.
- Check that your work is consistent with its referencing and citation style.
- Micro-editing — check for grammar and spelling issues.
- Macro-editing — does ‘the big picture’ come across to the reader? Is there enough raw data, such as real-life examples or personal experiences? Have you made your data collection process completely transparent? Does your analysis provide a clear conclusion, allowing for further research and practice?
Problems to avoid:
- Overgeneralization – Do not go into further research that deviates from the main problem.
- Failure to Document Limitations – Just as you have to clearly state the limitations of a general research study, you must describe the specific limitations inherent in the subject of analysis.
- Failure to Extrapolate All Possible Implications – Just as you don't want to over-generalize from your case study findings, you also have to be thorough in the consideration of all possible outcomes or recommendations derived from your findings.
You can always buy an essay on our site. Just leave a request ' do my homework ' and we'll help asap.
How to Create a Title Page and Cite a Case Study
Let's see how to create an awesome title page.
Your title page depends on the prescribed citation format. The title page should include:
- A title that attracts some attention and describes your study
- The title should have the words “case study” in it
- The title should range between 5-9 words in length
- Your name and contact information
- Your finished paper should be only 500 to 1,500 words in length. With this type of assignment, write effectively and avoid fluff.
Here is a template for the APA and MLA format title page:
There are some cases when you need to cite someone else's study in your own one – therefore, you need to master how to cite a case study. A case study is like a research paper when it comes to citations. You can cite it like you cite a book, depending on what style you need.
Citation Example in MLA Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing, 2008. Print.
Citation Example in APA Hill, L., Khanna, T., & Stecker, E. A. (2008). HCL Technologies. Boston: Harvard Business Publishing.
Citation Example in Chicago Hill, Linda, Tarun Khanna, and Emily A. Stecker. HCL Technologies.
Case Study Examples
To give you an idea of a professional case study example, we gathered and linked some below.
Eastman Kodak Case Study
Case Study Example: Audi Trains Mexican Autoworkers in Germany
To conclude, a case study is one of the best methods of getting an overview of what happened to a person, a group, or a situation in practice. It allows you to have an in-depth glance at the real-life problems that businesses, healthcare industry, criminal justice, etc. may face. This insight helps us look at such situations in a different light. This is because we see scenarios that we otherwise would not, without necessarily being there. If you need custom essays , try our research paper writing services .
Get Help Form Qualified Writers
Crafting a case study is not easy. You might want to write one of high quality, but you don’t have the time or expertise. If you’re having trouble with your case study, help with essay request - we'll help. EssayPro writers have read and written countless case studies and are experts in endless disciplines. Request essay writing, editing, or proofreading assistance from our custom case study writing service , and all of your worries will be gone.
Don't Know Where to Start?
Crafting a case study is not easy. You might want to write one of high quality, but you don’t have the time or expertise. Request essay writing, editing, or proofreading assistance from our writing service.
- CET Important Dates
- CET Actual Papers
- CET Cutoffs & Rankings
- Score vs Percentile
- Weekly Targets
- MMS vs PGDM
8 STEPS TO SOLVE THE CASE STUDY
- Problem Identification:
- Define Boundaries:
- Possible solution for case:
- Select best possible solution:
- Managerial Application:
Share This :
New Type DI Line Chart MBA CET Actual Questions October 27, 2023
New Type DI Stack Bar Chart MBA CET Actual Questions October 27, 2023
New Type DI Info Chart MBA CET Actual Questions October 27, 2023
Join us MBA CET 2024
How to Write a Case Study: Bookmarkable Guide & Template
Published: November 30, 2023
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
Case study templates, how to write a case study.
- How to Format a Case Study
Business Case Study Examples
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.
Free Case Study Templates
Showcase your company's success using these three free case study templates.
- Data-Driven Case Study Template
- Product-Specific Case Study Template
- General Case Study Template
You're all set!
Click this link to access this resource at any time.
Why write a case study?
I know, you’re thinking “ Okay, but why do I need to write one of these? ” The truth is that while case studies are a huge undertaking, they are powerful marketing tools that allow you to demonstrate the value of your product to potential customers using real-world examples. Here are a few reasons why you should write case studies.
1. Explain Complex Topics or Concepts
Case studies give you the space to break down complex concepts, ideas, and strategies and show how they can be applied in a practical way. You can use real-world examples, like an existing client, and use their story to create a compelling narrative that shows how your product solved their issue and how those strategies can be repeated to help other customers get similar successful results.
2. Show Expertise
Case studies are a great way to demonstrate your knowledge and expertise on a given topic or industry. This is where you get the opportunity to show off your problem-solving skills and how you’ve generated successful outcomes for clients you’ve worked with.
3. Build Trust and Credibility
In addition to showing off the attributes above, case studies are an excellent way to build credibility. They’re often filled with data and thoroughly researched, which shows readers you’ve done your homework. They can have confidence in the solutions you’ve presented because they’ve read through as you’ve explained the problem and outlined step-by-step what it took to solve it. All of these elements working together enable you to build trust with potential customers.
4. Create Social Proof
Using existing clients that have seen success working with your brand builds social proof . People are more likely to choose your brand if they know that others have found success working with you. Case studies do just that — putting your success on display for potential customers to see.
All of these attributes work together to help you gain more clients. Plus you can even use quotes from customers featured in these studies and repurpose them in other marketing content. Now that you know more about the benefits of producing a case study, let’s check out how long these documents should be.
How long should a case study be?
The length of a case study will vary depending on the complexity of the project or topic discussed. However, as a general guideline, case studies typically range from 500 to 1,500 words.
Whatever length you choose, it should provide a clear understanding of the challenge, the solution you implemented, and the results achieved. This may be easier said than done, but it's important to strike a balance between providing enough detail to make the case study informative and concise enough to keep the reader's interest.
The primary goal here is to effectively communicate the key points and takeaways of the case study. It’s worth noting that this shouldn’t be a wall of text. Use headings, subheadings, bullet points, charts, and other graphics to break up the content and make it more scannable for readers. We’ve also seen brands incorporate video elements into case studies listed on their site for a more engaging experience.
Ultimately, the length of your case study should be determined by the amount of information necessary to convey the story and its impact without becoming too long. Next, let’s look at some templates to take the guesswork out of creating one.
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.
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
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.
- Get started with case study templates.
- Determine the case study's objective.
- Establish a case study medium.
- Find the right case study candidate.
- Contact your candidate for permission to write about them.
- Ensure you have all the resources you need to proceed once you get a response.
- Download a case study email template.
- Define the process you want to follow with the client.
- Ensure you're asking the right questions.
- Layout your case study format.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are the sections we suggest, which we'll cover in more detail down below:
- Title: Keep it short. Develop a succinct but interesting project name you can give the work you did with your subject.
- Subtitle: Use this copy to briefly elaborate on the accomplishment. What was done? The case study itself will explain how you got there.
- 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.
- About the Subject: An introduction to the person or company you served, which can be pulled from a LinkedIn Business profile or client website.
- 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.
- How Product/Service Helped: A 2-3 paragraph section that describes how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
- 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.
- 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.
- Future Plans: Everyone likes an epilogue. Comment on what's ahead for your case study subject, whether or not those plans involve you.
- 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.
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.
Format for a Case Study
The traditional case study format includes the following parts: a title and subtitle, a client profile, a summary of the customer’s challenges and objectives, an account of how your solution helped, and a description of the results. You might also want to include supporting visuals and quotes, future plans, and calls-to-action.
The title is one of the most important parts of your case study. It should draw readers in while succinctly describing the potential benefits of working with your company. To that end, your title should:
- State the name of your custome r. Right away, the reader must learn which company used your products and services. This is especially important if your customer has a recognizable brand. If you work with individuals and not companies, you may omit the name and go with professional titles: “A Marketer…”, “A CFO…”, and so forth.
- State which product your customer used . Even if you only offer one product or service, or if your company name is the same as your product name, you should still include the name of your solution. That way, readers who are not familiar with your business can become aware of what you sell.
- Allude to the results achieved . You don’t necessarily need to provide hard numbers, but the title needs to represent the benefits, quickly. That way, if a reader doesn’t stay to read, they can walk away with the most essential information: Your product works.
The example above, “Crunch Fitness Increases Leads and Signups With HubSpot,” achieves all three — without being wordy. Keeping your title short and sweet is also essential.
Your subtitle is another essential part of your case study — don’t skip it, even if you think you’ve done the work with the title. In this section, include a brief summary of the challenges your customer was facing before they began to use your products and services. Then, drive the point home by reiterating the benefits your customer experienced by working with you.
The above example reads:
“Crunch Fitness was franchising rapidly when COVID-19 forced fitness clubs around the world to close their doors. But the company stayed agile by using HubSpot to increase leads and free trial signups.”
We like that the case study team expressed the urgency of the problem — opening more locations in the midst of a pandemic — and placed the focus on the customer’s ability to stay agile.
3. Executive Summary
The executive summary should provide a snapshot of your customer, their challenges, and the benefits they enjoyed from working with you. Think it’s too much? Think again — the purpose of the case study is to emphasize, again and again, how well your product works.
The good news is that depending on your design, the executive summary can be mixed with the subtitle or with the “About the Company” section. Many times, this section doesn’t need an explicit “Executive Summary” subheading. You do need, however, to provide a convenient snapshot for readers to scan.
In the above example, ADP included information about its customer in a scannable bullet-point format, then provided two sections: “Business Challenge” and “How ADP Helped.” We love how simple and easy the format is to follow for those who are unfamiliar with ADP or its typical customer.
4. About the Company
Readers need to know and understand who your customer is. This is important for several reasons: It helps your reader potentially relate to your customer, it defines your ideal client profile (which is essential to deter poor-fit prospects who might have reached out without knowing they were a poor fit), and it gives your customer an indirect boon by subtly promoting their products and services.
Feel free to keep this section as simple as possible. You can simply copy and paste information from the company’s LinkedIn, use a quote directly from your customer, or take a more creative storytelling approach.
In the above example, HubSpot included one paragraph of description for Crunch Fitness and a few bullet points. Below, ADP tells the story of its customer using an engaging, personable technique that effectively draws readers in.
5. Challenges and Objectives
The challenges and objectives section of your case study is the place to lay out, in detail, the difficulties your customer faced prior to working with you — and what they hoped to achieve when they enlisted your help.
In this section, you can be as brief or as descriptive as you’d like, but remember: Stress the urgency of the situation. Don’t understate how much your customer needed your solution (but don’t exaggerate and lie, either). Provide contextual information as necessary. For instance, the pandemic and societal factors may have contributed to the urgency of the need.
Take the above example from design consultancy IDEO:
“Educational opportunities for adults have become difficult to access in the United States, just when they’re needed most. To counter this trend, IDEO helped the city of South Bend and the Drucker Institute launch Bendable, a community-powered platform that connects people with opportunities to learn with and from each other.”
We love how IDEO mentions the difficulties the United States faces at large, the efforts its customer is taking to address these issues, and the steps IDEO took to help.
6. How Product/Service Helped
This is where you get your product or service to shine. Cover the specific benefits that your customer enjoyed and the features they gleaned the most use out of. You can also go into detail about how you worked with and for your customer. Maybe you met several times before choosing the right solution, or you consulted with external agencies to create the best package for them.
Whatever the case may be, try to illustrate how easy and pain-free it is to work with the representatives at your company. After all, potential customers aren’t looking to just purchase a product. They’re looking for a dependable provider that will strive to exceed their expectations.
In the above example, IDEO describes how it partnered with research institutes and spoke with learners to create Bendable, a free educational platform. We love how it shows its proactivity and thoroughness. It makes potential customers feel that IDEO might do something similar for them.
The results are essential, and the best part is that you don’t need to write the entirety of the case study before sharing them. Like HubSpot, IDEO, and ADP, you can include the results right below the subtitle or executive summary. Use data and numbers to substantiate the success of your efforts, but if you don’t have numbers, you can provide quotes from your customers.
We can’t overstate the importance of the results. In fact, if you wanted to create a short case study, you could include your title, challenge, solution (how your product helped), and result.
8. Supporting Visuals or Quotes
Let your customer speak for themselves by including quotes from the representatives who directly interfaced with your company.
Visuals can also help, even if they’re stock images. On one side, they can help you convey your customer’s industry, and on the other, they can indirectly convey your successes. For instance, a picture of a happy professional — even if they’re not your customer — will communicate that your product can lead to a happy client.
In this example from IDEO, we see a man standing in a boat. IDEO’s customer is neither the man pictured nor the manufacturer of the boat, but rather Conservation International, an environmental organization. This imagery provides a visually pleasing pattern interrupt to the page, while still conveying what the case study is about.
9. Future Plans
This is optional, but including future plans can help you close on a more positive, personable note than if you were to simply include a quote or the results. In this space, you can show that your product will remain in your customer’s tech stack for years to come, or that your services will continue to be instrumental to your customer’s success.
Alternatively, if you work only on time-bound projects, you can allude to the positive impact your customer will continue to see, even after years of the end of the contract.
10. Call to Action (CTA)
Not every case study needs a CTA, but we’d still encourage it. Putting one at the end of your case study will encourage your readers to take an action on your website after learning about the work you've done.
It will also make it easier for them to reach out, if they’re ready to start immediately. You don’t want to lose business just because they have to scroll all the way back up to reach out to your team.
To help you visualize this case study outline, check out the case study template below, which can also be downloaded here .
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.
Don't forget to share this post!
How to Market an Ebook: 21 Ways to Promote Your Content Offers
7 Pieces of Content Your Audience Really Wants to See [New Data]
How to Write a Listicle [+ Examples and Ideas]
28 Case Study Examples Every Marketer Should See
What Is a White Paper? [FAQs]
What is an Advertorial? 8 Examples to Help You Write One
How to Create Marketing Offers That Don't Fall Flat
20 Creative Ways To Repurpose Content
16 Important Ways to Use Case Studies in Your Marketing
11 Ways to Make Your Blog Post Interactive
Showcase your company's success using these free case study templates.
BLACK FRIDAY & CYBER WEEK 2023 🔥
How To Write A Case Study [Template plus 20+ Examples]
In an era where every niche seems completely saturated, learning how to write a case study is one of the most important time investments you can make in your business.
That’s because case studies help you present a compelling story of success to bottom-of–funnel decision makers. Do it right, and a solid case study can greatly increase your chances of closing new deals.
A 2023 study from the Content Marketing Institute found that 36% of B2B marketers consider case studies to be effective tools for converting prospects into customers.
In this article, I’ll show you step-by-step exactly how to write a case study that makes an impact. Along the way, I’ll highlight several stellar case studies that illustrate how to do it right.
What you will learn
- What a case study is and what it's not.
- How an effective case study can help establish you as an expert and land more clients.
- How to choose the right topic for your case study, taking into account client successes and broad appeal in your customer's industry.
- The essential parts of a good case study and how to write each one.
- Style and formatting points that will make your case study stand out for readers to understand.
- 4 tips for conducting an effective client interview.
- 6 real-life case studies that you can use as examples for creating your own customer stories.
What is a case study?
A case study is a detailed story about how your products or services helped a client overcome a challenge or meet a goal. Its main purpose is to prove to potential customers that you understand their problems and have the experience and expertise to help solve them.
But, even though a case study can help you attract and win customers, it's not just an advertisement for your offerings.
In truth, your company shouldn’t even be the main focus of a good case study.
Instead, a winning case study follows a successful business transformation from beginning to end and shows how you made it all possible for your client.
An example of a case study that conveys a strong customer story is the deep dive we did into how ClickUp used SurferSEO to boost their blog traffic by 85% in a year.
Why you should write a case study
The most obvious reason why you should write a case study is that it's a great way to show potential customers how others in their position have benefited from your product or service.
Here are a few of the key benefits of writing a case study, all of which can help you turn readers into customers.
A well-written case study shows clearly how your company solved a complex problem or helped a particular customer make improvements using your solution.
This is the sort of expertise other potential clients will look for when they run into the same sort of issues.
For instance, one of CrowdStrike's case studies shows how they helped Vijilan scale its logging capacity so they could stop turning away business.
This positions CrowdStrike as experts in helping deal with log management issues.
Other companies dealing with their own logging problems will definitely find this to be a compelling story. And you can bet CrowdStrike will be on their short list of potential solution providers after reading this case study.
Educates potential customers
You might have the best product on the market, but it won't do you any good if potential clients don't understand how it might help them.
A case study breaks down those barriers by showing real-life examples of your product in action, helping other customers solve their problems.
A good example is the Trello case study library .
Each story gives detailed examples showing how the customer uses Trello and includes actual screenshots from their workflows.
Here is an interesting snapshot from the BurgerFi example.
Here, you get a glimpse of a live Trello board that BurgerFi uses to manage their marketing assets.
By showing how existing clients use your product, you make it a lot easier for future customers to imagine how it might work for their needs, too.
A strong case study is a valuable piece of content that provides insights and can help companies make decisions.
Many of them would be happy to give you their contact information in exchange for the chance to read about potential solutions to their problems.
That combination of valuable content and a hungry market makes case studies great tools for lead generation.
You can either gate part of your case study and leave the rest of it public, or require an email address and other contact information in order to download the full study.
That's the approach Pulsara took in detailing how their telehealth communication platform helped EvergreenHealth improve efficiency:
The names and addresses you collect with this approach will be about as warm as you could ever hope for since they probably have the same sort of problems you solved in your case study.
Along the same lines, case studies can be extremely effective in upselling or cross-selling other products to the decision-makers who read them.
And they are great tools for persuading a client to make a purchase with you.
Indeed, a great case study can often be the "final straw" that lands you a client considering your services.
A 2023 survey by Uplift Content , for example, found that 39% of SaaS marketers ranked case studies as being very effective for increasing sales.
That made it their #1 tactic for the second year in a row.
Potential clients want to know that they can trust you to handle their business with care and to deliver on your promises.
A case study is the perfect vehicle to show that you can do just that.
Take advantage of that opportunity to present statistics, client testimonials, graphics, and any other proof that you can get results.
For example, in their case study about helping a law firm uncover critical data for a tricky case, Kroll shows us just how much they were able to cut through the noise:
Any law firm staring at its own pile of documents to search through would love to have that haystack reduced by a factor of 32.5x, too.
And Sodexo makes good use of customer testimonials in their case studies, like this quote from the procurement lead for a Montana mining company.
Having existing customers tell the world that they count on you is powerful free advertising and builds trust with your readers. That can help transform them into customers down the road.
Provides social proof
You can also use your case study to show that your product or service works in a specific industry.
Real-world examples of customer success stories position you as someone their peers and competitors can turn to, too.
For instance, Stericycle details how they helped seven children's hospitals get a handle on their "sharps" management:
They also include glowing quotes from hospital leaders in the same study.
Other hospitals looking for help in disposing of their hazardous waste will know right away after reading this study that Stericycle understands their needs.
This is the type of social proof that can really help establish you as a go-to solution for the industries you serve.
How to choose a subject for your case study
In order to get the most bang for your buck from your case study, you need to make sure you pick a topic that resonates with your target audience. And one that can make your solution look its best.
Below are 4 ways to select the best subject for your case study.
1. Choose a popular topic
Make sure the topic you tackle in your case study is one that most of your potential clients are searching for.
You may be tempted to highlight an unusual project that you find especially interesting. But that usually won't have the same sort of selling power as a topic with more broad appeal.
For instance, Aruba Networks has helped colleges and universities with all sorts of networking projects. Some of those involve really fascinating edge cases like research labs, esports arenas, and other innovative solutions.
But what most schools are looking for in a network upgrade is improving connectivity across campus while enhancing security and saving money.
Those are exactly the outcomes Aruba focuses on in its Doane University case study .
Remember that your case study is likely to be read by decision-makers at the bottom of the sales funnel who are ready to buy.
Your content needs to resonate with them and address the questions they want answered in order to make their decision.
Aruba tackles their customers' concerns head-on throughout the Doane study, as you can see from their section headings:
- "Realizing a hyper-connected vision"
- "10X throughput eliminates academic barriers"
- "More secure with less effort"
- "Greener and more resilient at better insurance rates"
College administrators can see at a glance that Aruba understands their needs and has helped other institutions with similar problems.
2. Consider relevance and attractiveness
Although you want to choose a popular subject for your case study (as discussed above), it's also important to make sure it's relevant to your target audience.
For instance, if you provide design services, a one-off project you did to help a local company set up its website might have taught you a lot. But most of your potential readers will be much more interested in reading about how your designs helped that client improve brand perception.
It’s also best to choose a situation where your product or service is used in a way that you expect most potential users to adopt.
For example, Allegion's Mount Holyoke case study (PDF) details how one campus used their products to move to contactless and mobile entry systems.
Students today demand more control over their physical security than ever before. And the administrative overhead of managing thousands of doors and physical keys on a college campus is enormous.
As a result, most schools are interested in using technology to enable their students and reduce staffing costs.
Allegion hits those points dead-on with this case study.
An added benefit of choosing a topic with broad appeal among your target client base is that you can use the content in your normal distribution channels.
For example, you can publish all or part of it as a blog post, include it in your newsletter, or use it as the basis for a YouTube video. Wherever your audience is, that's probably a good place to promote your case study.
3. Identify a 5 star use case
A case study is like a sales executive for your company.
It needs to show your product or service in the best possible light and highlight its features and benefits while distinguishing it from other products.
Choose a client example that really makes your solution look like a superstar and showcases its most outstanding attributes.
You should also avoid showing your product or service being used in a novel or completely innovative way. While that can provide some solid insight, you risk alienating your typical client who needs to know that you can solve their specific problem.
Instead, your case study should demonstrate how your solution took on a common industry problem and delivered stellar results.
A great example is Beckman Coulter's case study that details their work with Alverno Labs.
The objective was to reduce the time it took Alverno to deliver lab test results while reducing operating costs, which are common goals for many testing labs.
The case study presents a detailed description of how Beckman Coulter implemented a continuous improvement process for Alverno. They enhance the discussion with several meaty visuals like this project roadmap:
They also include plenty of tangible data to prove their success.
And of course, include direct client testimonials:
From top to bottom, this case study proves that Beckman Coulter understands their customers business needs and can offer top-notch solutions.
4. Find a satisfied customer
You're going to need input from your client in order to build the most complete and accurate case study that you can.
So when you're trying to choose a customer story to use, look for a client who is happy to share their positive experience working with you.
Try to find one who seems genuinely eager to talk so that they will be timely with their responses to your questions.
If you have a customer who is willing to sit down for an actual interview with you, they're a great candidate. You'll get answers quickly, and the client is obviously comfortable enough with your relationship to talk with you directly.
A good example that focuses on a satisfied client comes from Aerofloat, an Australian wastewater treatment company.
In their Norco Food Case Study , Aerofloat reports that Norco hired them for additional projects as a result of their successful prior engagement:
It's always good to show prospective clients that your existing customers stick with you.
So try to pick a case study done in collaboration with a current client, not one from the past.
Aerofloat also highlights their ongoing relationship with Norco by also including them in the customer list on their About page:
How to write a case study
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of writing a case study and figured out how to pick the best topic for your situation, it’s time to get down to the business of writing.
Below is a rundown of the sections that make up the structure of a typical case study. For each piece, I’ll show you what types of content you should include and give you an example of a study that does it right.
Here are 8 tips to writing a case study.
1. Attention grabbing title
The title of your case study needs to grab potential readers attention and convince them that this is a valuable piece of content.
Make your title catchy, concise, and descriptive, just like you would for a good blog post. But you also need to make sure you give your readers a clear idea of what the case study is about.
Offer them at least a hint of the type of results you were able to deliver, too.
It’s a good idea to use numbers here – the higher, the better. It's especially effective if you can show how quickly you got results and how much money your client saved or made as a result of working with you.
Our ClickUp case study that I mentioned earlier is a good example. The full title is
SurferSEO Helps ClickUp Publish 150+ Articles And Achieve Blog Traffic Growth of 85% in 12 Months.
Here are some other case studies that make effective use of numbers in their titles:
- Healthcare Administrative Partners Increases Online Patient Payments by 20% in Two Months
- Case Study: Taylor Kotwa, Sprinter, Increases FTP 7% in 4 months
- Case Study: Lakeview Farms Reduced Downtime by 36% in 6 Months
- CASELY case study: Improved first response time by 10x while experiencing 16,954% growth
This type of headline gives potential clients a sense that you will work with urgency to improve their bottom-line results.
2. Hook readers in your introduction
The introduction of your case study should set the stage for the comprehensive narrative that follows.
Give a brief description of the problem for context and quickly introduce the customer's story. Touch on the results you helped them achieve, but don't go overboard on details.
Overall, the introduction should give your reader just enough information to keep them engaged and ready to move into the heart of the case study.
It should also establish that they're in the right place and that you are the right person to be telling this story.
This case study about the cybersecurity program at Investors Bank includes a solid example of an effective introduction:
3. Highlight the challenge
This section should clearly outline the problem or challenge that your customer is facing.
Help your readers understand why a solution was necessary, and why that specific pain point was bothering the client.
And, since this is the entire motivation for the project in the first place, don't skimp on details.
For instance, one of Verkada's case studies explains why maintaining security cameras is a huge challenge for Crystal Mountain Resort in Washington state. They start off with a direct quote from the resort's IT director:
The elevation tops out at a little over 7,000 feet, so the weather conditions can get extreme. We needed durable cameras capable of handling everything from snowstorms to 100 MPH winds.
That makes it crystal clear what sort of problem Crystal Mountain was facing.
The case study then adds more detail with separate subsections about hardware durability, image quality, and cumbersome footage retrieval.
By the time they finish reading this section, your readers should have no doubt about what the problem is and why a solution is needed.
4. Solve their problem
The solution section is one of the most important parts of a case study.
This is your chance to describe how your product or service provided a solution to the problem or challenge your client was having.
It's where you can really start to make a connection with potential new clients by showing them that you understand the issue at hand.
First, provide some details about how you analyzed the situation. The Kroll case study on handling critical legal data mentioned earlier does a great job of this with bullet points describing their research process.
This type of analysis helps build confidence that you take a thorough approach to your engagements and are looking out for your clients best interests.
Now you can move on to describe the solution you and your client chose based on your investigation.
In their legal case study, Kroll determined that the best solution involved digitizing thousands of paper documents and using AI to analyze more than a million documents.
Kroll describes in detail how they used their RelativityOne system to achieve those goals:
This level of detail helps prospective customers better understand the root cause of their problems and positions you as the right company to solve them.
5. Showcase your results
The results section is all about proving that you can actually deliver on the promise of your proposed solution. Go heavy on the details here, too, and make sure your readers understand the results you achieved.
Wherever possible, use specific numbers and data points to show exactly how effective your solution was for your client.
A good example is this BetterBricks case study showing how they helped an aerospace company slash energy costs.
They distilled their bottom line results into a simple table:
The text of the study then goes into more detail about what these numbers mean, but this quick graphic lets readers know right away the scope of the results achieved.
Here is a sampling of BetterBrick’s more detailed explanation of their results in this case:
This is your place to really crow about the success you achieved with your client, so make it as obvious as possible just how impactful you were.
6. Use multimedia well
One way to make a lasting impression on potential clients is to include relevant visuals throughout your case study.
Graphs, screenshots, and product photos help break up the text and make your study more engaging overall.
But they can also add details to your story and make a memorable visual impact beyond what mere words can accomplish.
We got a taste of that with the table of results in the BetterBricks example above, but that's just the start.
Inrix is a good example of a company that loads up its case studies with insightful and engaging media to tell a better story.
For instance, in their breakdown of a collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (DOT), Inrix uses charts, tables, and graphs throughout.
One innovative example is this diagram about crash distances:
This really brings the idea to life in a way that words alone can't, and it's likely to stick with readers long after they've clicked off the case study.
Other types of media that companies use to good effect in their case studies include pictures of key client stakeholders, interactive charts, tables, and simple graphs.
You can see in this high-level overview that Inrix includes most of these in their Pennsylvania DOT case study:
You can even use video to demonstrate your solution or to share a client testimonial.
If possible, include direct quotes from your client to add authenticity to the case study.
This will show potential customers that you and your existing client have a good relationship and that they value your work.
It’s pretty compelling stuff to have a ringing endorsement like this one from an EnergyCAP case study , to show your readers:
You can place customer quotes throughout the case study to highlight important points, and you should definitely try to include at least one that shows overall customer satisfaction.
Chances are you have some of these quotes already in the form of testimonials or as part of the customer interview you conducted in preparing for your case study (more on that later).
You can use those quotes here if they fit the context of your case study.
That will save time and red tape for both you and your client since they'll be reviewing your final case study before it goes live anyway.
The conclusion should summarize the key points of the case study and reinforce the success of the solution. It could also include a call to action, encouraging readers to try your product or service or to get in touch for more information.
You might also include information about future plans with the client to reinforce the idea that your relationship is strong and ongoing.
That's the approach that Gravitate Design used in their case study about helping GoBeyond with their bounce rates and time on page:
Like the introduction, the conclusion section of a case study should be short and sweet, giving just enough detail to make the reader want to hear more from you.
Checklist for case studies
Beyond the story that you want to tell in your case study, you also need to pay attention to several other factors. Indeed, the layout and format of your study can have a big impact on how effective it is at keeping your readers engaged and delivering your message.
Here is a quick checklist for creating case studies.
Break up the text with headings and subheadings
Big blocks of text can be intimidating and make it tough for your audience to stay on track.
In contrast, a case study with clear headings and subheadings throughout breaks up the story and gives readers visual clues about what's coming.
This also makes the case study easier for readers to scan and helps you keep each section focused on a single idea.
Use bullet points for lists or key points
Along the same lines, bullet points let you present important information in small bits that are easy for readers to digest.
Some of the best uses of bullet points include:
- A series of facts or tips
- A list of product features or benefits
- A quick summary of results
- Steps in a how-to procedure
- A rundown of multiple statistics
For these bite-sized hunks of detail, bullets often make for a much cleaner and readable list than jamming all the information into a single paragraph.
Bullet point lists also make great quick references for readers to come back to later.
Highlight key points with bold or italic text
Bold and italic text draws the reader’s eyes to the words you highlight, which lets you really drive home key ideas in your case study.
You can use this technique to introduce new terms, place emphasis on a sentence, and showcase important parts of your approach or results.
Like bullet points, bold and italic text also give readers a visual anchor for reference as they’re working through your document.
Make paragraphs short and to-the-point
Aim for 3-4 sentences per paragraph to keep the text readable and engaging. Each paragraph should focus on one main idea to support the subject of the section it’s in.
Using short paragraphs tells readers at a glance that there are break points throughout your case study and helps keep them engaged.
Keep consistent length across the case study
Throughout all parts of your case study, try to cover your main points in detail without overwhelming the reader.
Your potential clients are there to find a possible solution to their problems, not to read a novel.
Give them an inviting document structure and then lead them through each section with clear explanations and no fluff.
Adjust the length based on the complexity of the subject
The flip side of the tip above about keeping your case study tight and focused is that you need to make sure you cover your topic in detail.
Very complex topics will require more explanation and longer overall case studies than simpler subjects.
For example, a case study about paving a church parking lot might be pretty short.
But a story about implementing a comprehensive information security program for a state government will likely be much longer and more detailed.
Include a summary with some takeaways
At the end of your case study, summarize the key takeaways and results to reinforce the message you’re trying to get across.
Briefly recap the problem your client was facing, the solution you came up with, and the results you achieved. Think of this as an executive summary that gives business leaders the TL;DR version of your customer’s success story.
Content Snare includes an eye-catching summary in the case study detailing their efforts to grow their email list:
The overall goal is to leave potential clients with a good last impression and invite them to contact you with questions.
Use visuals to break up text and illustrate points
As we saw in the "How to write a case study" section above, graphs, charts, or images can make your case study more engaging and help illustrate key ideas or results. They also add visual variety and help break up the monotony of text-heavy studies.
Use these types of visuals to help keep your readers interested and make your story more complete.
Below is a high-level view of a portion of Advanced HPC’s Philips case study , which does a great job of incorporating the points in this section. It pulls together all the visual elements to create a very appealing reader experience.
4 tips to create an effective case study
You’re going to need your customer’s input in order to craft the most effective case study possible. It’s their story, after all, and they’re the ones who know what it was like to work with you throughout the process.
They also hold key details that you probably don’t know.
So, once you have their permission to write about the project, you’ll need to talk to them about the specifics. But you also want to respect their time.
Here are 4 tips on how to conduct an interview for your case study.
Prepare questions in advance
Know what information you need and prepare questions to pull that information from your client.
Doing this in advance will help you formulate the questions and sequence them properly to avoid bias and wasting time.
Have a few follow-up or emergency questions ready, too, in case you run into a dead end.
Record the interview
With your client’s permission, record the interview to ensure accuracy and so you can come back to listen to important points again.
This helps you avoid bothering your clients with follow-up questions and also gives you more freedom to let the interview evolve in a natural conversational manner.
Make the interviewee comfortable
Explain the interview process to your client, why you're asking them to talk, and how the information will be used. Remember that you are the one who “needs” the case study, not them.
So you go the extra mile to ensure that your guest is as comfortable as possible.
That also means being flexible with the format of your interview.
If your client doesn’t have time for calls, offer to trade voice notes. Or give them a shared Google document for trading questions and answers.
And if you do end up conducting a live interview, agree to meet at a time that’s best for them.
No matter how you end up conducting your interview, make it clear that your client will be able to review the final version before you make it live.
Give them veto power over any of the information you put together.
Ask open-ended questions
Even though you’ll start out with a series of questions you need answered, don’t limit yourself to those. Instead, encourage your interviewee to share their story in their own words.
Leave some room to ask open-ended questions and let the conversation evolve naturally.
Here are a few examples of the types of questions for discussion:
- What would you do differently if you were starting this project again?
- What do you think about XYZ emerging technology in relation to your industry's challenges?
- What sorts of other projects do you think Acme's solution might help with?
- How do your company's day-to-day operations and needs from how the relevant theories describe the industry?
Especially if you’re recording the interview, as suggested above, you can go back later and put things in a logical order.
Once you have all of the raw material, then you can curate the information and edit it to come up with your final product.
6 case study examples to follow
Now that you know what makes a great case study and how to write one, let's finish up with a few more top-notch business case study examples.
Each of the case studies below hits many of the points in this article, but they all take a different approach. Use them for inspiration or when you need a little refresher on how to write a case study.
This case study provides a detailed account of how Monograph, a B2B SaaS company, improved its marketing projects and reporting using Databox.
It's a pretty straightforward example of the best practices we've discussed in this article, with an introduction followed by background information on the company (Monograph) and the challenges they faced with manual tracking of each data point.
It describes the solution that Databox helped put in place and then shows clear evidence of the results their customer achieved:
Case studies don't come much more textbook than this one, which makes it a great example to follow.
Growth Design on Airbnb
Growth Design takes a totally unique approach to case studies, each one is an online comic book!
Read through their case study about Airbnb , though, and you'll see that it meets all the criteria for a complete case study even if the setup is a little different than most.
Here is a look at the landing page for this beauty of a study.
The author starts out with a problem: the need to book a place to stay in a foreign country in a hurry. So he heads to Airbnb but ends up overwhelmed by choices and bounces to Google Maps to make his reservation.
He concludes that Airbnb was not the full solution for him in this case and suggests several places they could make improvements.
It's a pretty neat dive into a well-known user experience, and it's also a great lesson in how to use visuals to keep your readers engaged in your case study.
This case study about how Grubhub used Webflow to build a viral marketing campaign hits you with stunning results right off the bat.
From there, the study tells the full story of how they achieved these results. Even though the author doesn't explicitly break out the problem, solution, and results sections, she still takes the reader through that journey.
It's a concise but complete story broken up by a few choice graphics.
This case study dives into how Employment Hero uses Slack to keep their remote employees engaged and productive as the company grows.
It details how Employee Hero continuously reevaluates its app usage to identify possible solutions to issues that arise and how Slack consistently helps meet the challenges.
This case study is a great example of picking a use case that is relevant to most of Slack's user base -- improving communication and productivity among remote employees.
Slack also makes effective use of quotes from the decision makers at Employment Hero.
We already talked about our ClickUp case study a little earlier in this article, but it's worth a deeper look as an example to help guide your writing.
As you would expect, this case study hits main points we've covered here: problem statement, solution, and results.
But there are a couple of "extras" that make this one stand out.
For starters, it doesn't just present a single solution. It presents three , each one addressing a different aspect of ClickUp's objectives and each one showcasing a different Surfer feature set.
For example, solution #1 describes how ClickUp improved their on-page SEO with the help of Surfer’s Content Editor .
This case study also provides a high-level view of ClickUp’s project management processes and describes how they incorporated Surfer into their content workflows.
It’s a really instructive example of how you can use a case study to help prospective clients envision how your product might fit their situation.
This one isn't a single case study at all but a library full of case studies designed to help potential clients understand how Zoom can benefit them.
Here you'll find stories about how very recognizable organizations like Capital One, Vox Media, and the University of Miami are using Zoom to boost connectivity and productivity among remote workers.
There are plenty of good examples here that you can consult when you get stuck writing your own case study.
And the entire library is a great example of using case studies to demonstrate expertise with the help of social proof:
The Zoom case study library also makes liberal use of video, which might give you some good ideas about how you can, too.
- Case studies are one of the best ways to generate leads and convert readers into customers.
- By showcasing the success you've had helping previous customers, case studies position you as an expert in your field.
- Good case studies can be the final push businesses need in their decision making process to buy your products or services.
- Pick a use case for your study that has broad appeal in your industry and that showcases your products and services in the best light possible.
- Effective case studies follow a predictable format: introduction, problem statement, solution, results, and conclusion.
- Make your case studies as readable as possible by including visual elements like graphs and images, and by breaking up the text into smaller sections, subsections, and concise paragraphs.
- Be as thorough and accurate as possible by conducting client interviews to gather background information for your case studies.
- Follow top-notch case studies for inspiration and ideas about how to make your own case studies as good as possible.
A well-written case study shines a light on your products and services like nothing else and helps position you as an expert in your field.
By showing that you understand their problems and have helped others overcome similar issues, you can prove to prospective clients that you are well-suited to help them, too.
Use the step-by-step instructions in this article to craft a case study that helps you and your company stand out from the competition.
7-Day Money-Back Guarantee
If you purchased one of our monthly subscriptions but Surfer isn’t what you expected it to be, or you simply changed your mind, let us know within 7 days and we’ll give you a full refund. No ifs or buts about it. All we ask is for honest feedback on how we can make Surfer better. Deal?
- Monash Online
Student Academic Success
- 1:1 Consultation 1:1 Consultation
- Study better Study better
- Build digital capabilities Build digital capabilities
- Understand assessments Understand assessments
- Excel at writing Excel at writing
- Enhance your thinking Enhance your thinking
- Present confidently Present confidently
- Collaborate with others Collaborate with others
- Improve your academic English Improve your academic English
- Maintain academic integrity Maintain academic integrity
- Advance your graduate studies Advance your graduate studies
- Workshops Workshops
- Feedback studio Feedback studio
- About us About us
- Skip to content
- Skip to navigation
Writing a case study
What is a case study.
A case study requires you to analyse a specific situation and discuss how its different elements relate to theory. The case can refer to a real-life or hypothetical event, organisation, individual or group of people and/or issue. Depending upon your assignment, you will be asked to develop solutions to problems or recommendations for future action.
Generally, a case study is either formatted as an essay or a report. If it is the latter, your assignment is often divided into sections with headings and subheadings to ensure easy access to key points of interest.
There are different approaches to case studies, so always check the specific instructions you have been given. There are two main types of case studies: descriptive and problem-solving .
Case study types accordion
Descriptive case studies.
- ask you to explore a specific event or issue to identify the key facts, what happened and who was/is involved.
- can be used to compare two instances of an event to illustrate how one is similar to the other.
- generally does not include solutions or recommendations as its main purpose is to help the reader or stakeholder to gain greater insight into the different dimensions of the event, etc. and/or to make an informed decision about the event, etc.
- In Nursing, you could be asked to select a medical clinic or hospital as your case study and then apply what you have studied in class about wound care approaches. You would then identify and apply the relevant theories of wound care management discussed in class to your case.
Problem-solving case studies
- ask you to critically examine an issue related to a specific individual or group, and then recommend and justify solutions to the issue, integrating theory and practice.
- In Business and Economics, you could be asked to describe a critical incident in the workplace. Your role as the manager is to apply your knowledge and skills of key intercultural communication concepts and theories in management to determine the causes of the conflict and propose relevant communication strategies to avoid and/or resolve it.
Tips for undertaking a problem-based case study View
Writing to your audience.
Your language expression should be persuasive and user-centred communication. To do this, you need to carefully research your audience, or your stakeholders . Your stakeholders are not only those people who will read your writing, but also people who will be impacted by any decisions or recommendations you choose to include. In other words, your audience may be varied with different needs and perspectives. This applies to both your case study as an assessment task and a report in your workplace.
Understanding your audience will help you to edit how you express your information, including tailoring your language expression, tone and style to meet the expectations of your stakeholders. For example, if your case study is written for the Minister of Health, then your tone will need to be formal, ensuring that any technical terms are clearly and concisely explained with concrete examples.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Who will read my case study and why?
- What are the stakeholders’ needs, preferences, expectations and goals?
- How can I write clearly and concisely for this particular audience?
- How will the stakeholders use my case study in their work?
- What are the relevant technical terms and have I explained them in clear and concise language?
Writing up your case study
If your case study is in the form of a report, you can divide it into 8 main sections, as outlined below. However, these vary depending on discipline-specific requirements and assessment criteria.
1. Executive Summary/Synopsis
- Introduce the topic area of the report.
- Outline the purpose of the case study.
- Outline the key issue(s) and finding(s) without the specific details.
- Identify the theory used.
- Summarise recommendations.
- Summarise the your task
- Briefly outline the case to identify its significance.
- State the report's aim(s).
- Provide the organisation of the main ideas in the report.
- Briefly describe the key problem and its significance (You usually do not need to provide details of findings or recommendations. However, it is best to first check your assessment task instructions.)
- presenting the central issue(s) under analysis,
- providing your reasoning for your choices such as supporting your findings with facts given in the case, the relevant theory and course concepts
- highlighting any underlying problems.
- Identify and justify your methodology and analytical tools.This might not be applicable to your assessment, so you will need to check your assessment instructions.
This section is often divided into sub-sections. Your headings and subheadings need to be informative and concise as they act as a guide for the reader to the contents of that section.
- Summarise the major problem(s).
- Identify alternative solutions to these major problem(s).
- Briefly outline each alternative solution where necessary and evaluate the advantages and disadvantages.
- Depending on your assessment criteria, you might need to refer to theory or professional practice here.
Note that as a case study is based on a specific situation, it is difficult to generalise your findings to other situations. Make sure that your discussion focuses on your case and what can be learnt from your specific case analysis for your stakeholders.
- Restate the purpose of the report
- Sum up the main points from the findings, discussion and recommendations.
- Restate the limitations if required.
- Choose which of the alternative solutions should be adopted.
- Briefly justify your choice, explaining how it will solve the major problem/s.
- Remember to integrate theory and practice as discussed in your unit with respect to the case.
- If needed, suggest an action plan, including who should take action, when and what steps, and how to assess the action taken.
- If appropriate include a rough estimate of costs (both financial and time).
This section is sometimes divided into Recommendations and Implementation with details of the action plan placed in the Implementation section.
Recommendations should be written in a persuasive, audience-centred style that communicates your suggestions clearly, concisely and precisely .
- List in alphabetical order all the references cited in the report.
- Make sure to accurately format your references according to the specified referencing style for your unit.
8. Appendices (if any)
- Attach any original data that relates to your analysis and the case but which would have interrupted the flow of the main body.
Ivančević-Otanjac, M., & Milojević, I. (2015). Writing a case report in English. Srpski arhiv za celokupno lekarstvo , 143 (1-2), 116-118.
Take it further
Buseco: report writing.
This resource is designed to assist you in completing a business report. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes annotated examples with written feedback.
Engineering: Lab report
This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to turn practical work and lab experiments into a written lab report.
Engineering: Technical report
This resource expands on the general report structure and provides useful tips and examples on how to write a report for key stakeholders, using experimental and practical data.
This resource provides information about what reports look like in IT, and how you might consider structuring your IT report. It includes student samples for each possible section of an IT report, along with video and written feedback.
MNHS: Health sciences case report
This resource provides a guide to approaching and structuring a patient-based case report. It includes an annotated example with written feedback.
MNHS: Comparative report
This resource is designed to assist you in completing your Comparative Report [CR] for Integrating Science and Practice [iSAP] assessment tasks. It provides a guide to approaching and structuring your report and includes an annotated example with written feedback.
MNHS: Psychology case report
This resource provides detailed guidance on the structure and content of the psychology case report, with numerous examples from the recommended reading.
Science: Lab report
Your feedback matters.
We want to hear from you! Let us know what you found most useful or share your suggestions for improving this resource.
What is a Case Study - How to Format, Plan, Write, and Avoid the Common Pitfalls (With Examples)
Did you know that 80% of B2B buyers stated that they referenced case studies during their buying research?
A case study is an in-depth, long-form account of the history and evolution of something. Most commonly, it describes how one company or organization has solved a specific issue over time.
What Is a Case Study - Definition
A case study is a type of content that tells the story of one or more people or organizations and their experiences with a particular topic or product. How? By providing an in-depth analysis of how one company solved a problem or achieved success. It can be a detailed account of the implementation process, interviews with past and current employees, and other qualitative research methods.
Pros of Case Study
A case study is a type of content that can be very useful for businesses. It offers an in-depth look at the experiences of a specific individual or group and can be used to learn from past mistakes.
Pros of case study content include:
- It's informative: Case studies provide valuable information that can help readers understand how a business or product works.
- It's engaging: They are often well-written and easy to read, which makes them enjoyable to consume. It makes it ideal for attracting attention from potential customers and leads.
- It's believable: Case studies refer to real-life events, which helps make them more believable than other types of content. Case studies are easier for readers to connect with the stories and learn from them.
Restrictions of Case Study
- They're time-consuming to produce: Creating a good case study takes time and effort, which may not be feasible for all businesses.
- Interviewers' responses are subjective.
Case studies can be helpful for businesses in marketing and SEO because they show how one company did something different than others and how this affected their results. However, there are some challenges associated with them that you need to take into account if you want to make them work effectively: it can be challenging to find participants who match your target audience; it's often hard to keep things secret until the right moment; data needs to be carefully selected so as not to reveal too much information prematurely; stories need to be well-written and engaging.
Some tips for overcoming these challenges include using reliable data, employing interesting storytelling techniques, and being careful about when and how much information is revealed.
Case Study Format
Title - gives essential information to readers on what to expect in the case study.
Summary - describes what you will discuss in the case study. Typically, a summary consists of 2-3 sentences introducing the thesis and summing up your case study.
About the subject - introduce the person or company you worked with.
Problem - defines the problem and challenges a specific group of people faced before using your product. Also, this section should include the goals and objectives the customer targeted.
Solution/Your Product - this section outlines the solution your product has provided to solve your customer's problem.
Results - decorate your case study with statistics and concrete numbers to showcase the success.
Quotes - include customer quotes to strengthen your social proof.
Conclusion - summarize the core points from your case study.
CTA - push your readers to act.
What Are the Benefits of Using Quality Business Case Study
Tells compelling stories.
A case studies a well-written narrative about a particular product, service, experience, event, etc. You can use it to illustrate a point, demonstrate the effectiveness of a product, or promote a company.
Case studies are helpful for marketing because they tell compelling stories that help people understand why something works or how something can benefit them. They also provide an opportunity to show off the company's expertise and highlight the benefits of using their products.
By using high-quality case studies, businesses can improve their reputation and brand awareness. They can also attract new customers by demonstrating the value of their products and services. In addition, case studies help businesses learn from their mistakes - which is essential for continual improvement in any business sector.
Offers Practical Solutions
Quality case studies can offer customers a wealth of practical solutions for their problems with the help of some products.
Provides Social Proof
It convinces a person to make a purchase or adopt a new lifestyle behavior. For example, if you're selling products associated with working out, you might show the results of customers who have used your product. Or, you might use testimonials from happy customers to convince potential buyers that your product is worth buying.
Builds Trust and Knowledge Around the Brand
Case studies help build trust between businesses and their customers and look at how the business functions. They allow customers to learn more about the company from the inside out. In addition, case studies can help promote goodwill between businesses and their customers by demonstrating that companies take care of their clients.
Businesses should consider creating case studies if they want to improve their relationship with their customers or if they want to combat negative public opinion. With high-quality case studies, businesses can create lasting memories with their customer base that will benefit both parties involved.
Quality case studies can improve a website's SEO by increasing the visibility of the content and improving the click-through rate.
Case studies are a great way to show off your company's best work and demonstrate how your products or services can benefit customers. high-quality case studies tend to have higher click-through rates, which helps them rank higher on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Overall, using quality case studies can help your business achieve better rankings in search engines and increase traffic from web searchers.
How Do You Conduct Research for Case Study?
Meet your customers.
You can conduct customer research in different ways, but the most common methods are surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observations. Surveys are the simplest form of customer research because they are typically short (few questions), self-reported, and anonymous.
During Interviews, you ask questions on specific problems or topics.
Focus groups test different marketing messages with a group of people who represent a cross-section of their target market.
Observation - businesses watch customers in action and learn what motivates them or how they interact with your product or service.
Ask Relevant Questions to Discussion Groups
When conducting research, it's important to ask questions that will help you answer the question you're trying to answer.
When conducting research, it's important to try different methods and sources of information so that you can get an accurate picture of the situation or topic at hand. There are many different ways to research a topic, and each approach has its benefits. For example, if you try to find out how people feel about a product or service, interviewing customers may be your best option.
If you want to learn more about a specific company or industry, reading articles written by experts might be the way to go. Whatever approach you choose, make sure it's relevant to your project. If not, you may wind up spending more time searching for information than actually getting results.
By asking relevant questions when conducting research, you'll quickly identify which methods will work best for answering your question and get started on compiling the data needed for your project.
Record the Interviews
To conduct effective case study research, you'll need to record interviews with your participants. This will help you capture their thoughts and opinions about the case study, as well as any insights they may have that you didn't expect.
It's important to remember that everyone has a unique perspective on a case study. By recording interviews with your participants, you'll get a complete picture of what went on during the case study and how it affected them. This information can be invaluable when it comes time to write up your report.
Find Main Problems
When conducting research, identify the problem your target audience faces. It will help you create solutions that are relevant and useful to them.
When you're trying to solve a problem, you need to know what it is that your target audience is experiencing. By understanding struggles, you can develop solutions that address those issues specifically. You can also use this information to improve your overall marketing strategy by creating content that addresses the needs of your target market.
For research to be effective, have a clear idea of what you're looking for. You should also be prepared to test different solutions for the best one(s) to emerge. By following these steps, you'll be able to find the answers you need and produce content that resonates with your target audience.
How to Structure and Plan the Case Study Writing?
When creating a case study, keep in mind the following factors:
1) The purpose of the case study - What do you hope to achieve by writing it?
2) The target audience - Who is this case study intended for?
3) The format - How will readers be able to access and read it?
4) The timeline - When did this event happen, and what was happening around that time?
5) Sources - Where did you get information for this case study?
6) Writing style - Which style suits your case study better formal or informal? What kind of tone you should use?
7) Organization - Is the case study well-organized and easy to follow?
8) Editing - Did you go back and make any changes after you completed the case study? If so, why?
9) Graphics - Do any graphics or images help illustrate the points made in the article? If so, where did you find them, and how did you use them?
10) Titles - What should be included in a title for this type of content?
11) Headings - Are all headings relevant to the content, and do they help readers through it?
12) Links - Do links within the article lead to other pages on your website that will provide more information or help viewers take action?
13) Length - How long should a case study be?
14) Conciseness - Does every detail need to be included for readers to understand what happened and why it matters?
How Do You Write a Case Study Text?
Describe the user problems and interests.
Always keep users' problems and interests in mind.
After users read the problem that resonates with them, they will stay on the page longer and feel that the company is familiar with their pain points. That way, you will take steps closer to credibility and trust.
It's crucial to keep your writing style concise and easy to read. This way, readers will understand everything without a struggle.
Offer the Solution
A case study is a type of content that businesses use to demonstrate the benefits of their product or service.
A case study offers a solution to a problem that the reader may be experiencing. This content can help people learn about a new product or service and decide if it's the right fit for them.
Define Your Role in Solving the Pain Point
A case study helps businesses understand their customer's pain points, which can then help them solve those problems. By telling the story of how a business or individual solved a problem, customers can learn from the experience and benefit in some way.
A well-written case study will provide valuable insights for your audience and help you stand out from your competition. By taking the time to write one, you can not only improve your website's SEO but also increase your brand awareness.
Show Your Results
A case study is a narrative description of how your business or product succeeded. You should demonstrate how your business or product works and how it can help other companies. Therefore, you will have the chance to attract new customers, increase sales, or improve marketing efforts.
So, back up your success story with numbers and the impact it had on your client.
Make Your Copy Scalable
With so many businesses producing high-quality content, it's hard to stand out. But by making your content easy to read and share, you can attract new readers and followers who will appreciate your work.
There are a few things that you can do to make your copy more scalable. First, make sure that every piece of content is well-written and error-free. Second, use short paragraphs and sentences that are easy to follow. And finally, keep all of your information organized in an easily-accessible format.
Bring other people's thoughts and perspectives to your case study. The visitors have already read your interpretations, and now you should let your client speak.
Quotes diversify your content and provide the social proof, back-up by the client that what you state in the case study is true.
Use Professional Words
When you write about your business, it's essential to use professional words and phrases. Your case study should be formal, impersonal, and backed up with stats.
Pitfalls of Writing Case Study
Jargon does not match the case study writing style, and Jargon can be confusing for those who are not familiar with them.
It also may lead to unintentional miscommunications between businesses and their customers.
Not Showing Results Backed with Numbers
A poorly written case study will lack evidence, which makes it difficult for readers to believe the claims. Without concrete data or examples, it's hard for readers to conclude. It makes it difficult to convince potential customers to take action based on the information provided.
Bad case studies also hurt search engine rankings because they often clutter up SERPs with irrelevant content. Thus, it is more difficult for customers to find what they're looking for which could lead them to other, better-quality sources of information.
To avoid damaging your brand and SEO efforts, ensure all your case study content is well-written and backed by solid evidence.
Not Including Customer Quotes
When including customer quotes in your case studies, you're providing valuable information to readers. By showing how your product or service has helped others, you're demonstrating the value that content marketing can provide.
Case studies are an effective way to demonstrate the benefits of a product or service. By quoting customers who have used your product or experienced your service, you're providing readers with first-hand testimony that helps them make a more informed decision. Including customer quotes also shows empathy and understanding for your target market - two essential qualities l in creating content that resonates with readers.
Quotes from satisfied customers can help encourage other potential buyers to take action and try out your product or service for themselves. In short, customer quotes are a crucial part of any case study.
Writing Like a Sales Pitch
When you write like a salesperson, you may try to convince the reader of your point of view using strong language and forceful arguments. It can be challenging to do this because persuasion often requires distilling complex concepts down into simple terms.
The goal of a salesperson is to persuade the reader of your argument or point of view. Sometimes this is necessary, especially when there are competing points of view. However, it's important not to overuse persuasive language or engage in rhetorical tricks that will only confuse or mislead the reader.
What Are Some Examples of Case Studies?
greatcontent x Lastminute.com
greatcontent x Deguise Toi
Hubspot x Innova Schools Colombia
Optimizely x Electrolux
Adobe x Marriot
A case study is a valuable tool for learning about real-world examples and can be used to help make decisions about products, designs, and business models. When writing a case study, it is important to avoid common pitfalls and to format and plan the study in a way that will maximize its usefulness.
Do you need expert assistance in case study writing?
Contact us now.
Explore related posts
Professional Proofreading and Editing Services
Beauty Content Marketing Strategy + Ideas
- Amazon Content (12)
- Blogging (17)
- Brand Management (1)
- Content Marketing (123)
- Copywriting (26)
- E-commerce (9)
- Fashion (1)
- Finance (4)
- Food Content (2)
- Gambling (4)
- Influencer Marketing (1)
- Localization (8)
- Search Engine Advertising (1)
- Transcreation (2)
- Translation (6)
- Travel Content (8)
- Uncategorized (19)
Learn more about SEO Content
Banking & Finance
Gambling & Casino
Case Study Format Types: Match Format with Business Goals
Explore the different case study format types and their unique strengths & weaknesses. Learn what to consider in our in-depth guide.
9 minute read
What are the best case study formats.
4 best case study format types:
- Problem-solution case study
- Before-and-after case study
- Success story case study
- Interview style case study
Choosing the wrong case study format will fail to achieve your business goals.
The power of case studies lies not in the quality of information they provide but in how they're delivered.
You've put in a ton of work – collected the data, gathered customer testimonials, and analyzed the results, so why trip over at the finish line?
Failing in the delivery can mean most of your effort will go to waste.
The challenge lies in packaging your case study in a way that doesn't present dry facts but tells a compelling story from a credible source (preferably someone your reader sees as their peer).
This post will help you find the right case study format that matches your business goals, so you can deliver captivating stories that engage your audience, build trust, and drive results.
Let’s dive in!
How to choose the best case study format?
Choosing the right case study format isn’t a game of luck, but rather a strategic decision. The format you choose will dictate the flow of your narrative and ultimately, its reception and the impact it creates.
4 aspects to consider when choosing your case study format:
1. Identify your objective
Start by identifying what you aim to achieve with your case study.
Are you looking to demonstrate the effectiveness of your product? Or, maybe you're seeking to showcase a customer’s journey and transformation.
Your objectives will steer you toward a format that best communicates your intended message.
2. Understand your audience
Who are you writing for? Tech-savvy young professionals might appreciate a data-rich, problem-solution case study, while creative entrepreneurs may connect more with an inspiring success story.
Knowing your audience helps you to craft a case study that resonates with them.
3. Contextualize your case
What is the background of your case study? A before-and-after case study might be suitable if your product or service led to a significant transformation, while an interview-style case study works well when the customer's personal journey or experience is especially impactful.
4. Consider the storytelling element
Ultimately, your case study is a story – and a good story needs a captivating plot.
Choose a format that allows you to weave an engaging narrative. Whether it's the drama of problem-solving or the thrill of a success story, your case study should be as compelling as it is informative.
Our recommended story framework:
What are the main case study building blocks?
Creating a compelling case study is about crafting a narrative, not stitching together a sequence of events.
Your narrative must highlight the effectiveness of your product or service by telling a story of intrigue, transformation, and success.
7 building blocks of a compelling case study:
Introduction slide: The gateway to your narrative. Use this to provide context, briefly introduce the subject, and hint at the compelling story to follow.
Company overview slide: Shed light on the company, individual, or situation at the heart of your case study. This helps to paint a full picture for your readers.
Challenge/Problem slide: Bring forward the hurdle or issue that your case study's subject faced. This sets up the conflict that your solution will resolve.
Solution slide: Describe the solution that was implemented. Make it clear how your product or service was applied to tackle the issue at hand.
Results/Outcome slide: Showcase the impact of the solution, ideally backed by hard-hitting data. This is where you highlight the effectiveness of your product or service.
Customer quotes/Testimonials slide: Authentic words from the people who have benefitted from your product or service can provide a persuasive, humanizing touch to your case study.
Call to action slide: Prompt readers to take the next step, whether that's contacting your company, trying your product, or simply learning more.
What are the main business case study writing formats?
Case studies are composed to strike a chord with your audience. But to truly create a melody that resonates, you need to choose the right note - or in this case, the right format.
Here are the 4 main case study writing formats:
1. Problem-solution case study
Think of the problem-solution case study as an epic saga, where your client acts as the hero. It’s the story of how they overcame a great obstacle, becoming better and stronger in the process with the aid of your company’s solution.
By positioning your company as their trusted guide and confidant, you become the Obi-Wan to their Luke, providing guidance and support throughout their journey. This makes it ideal for attracting potential clients or showcasing business adaptability.
- Introduce the client company and their unique situation
- Describe their problem in their words
- Describe the steps taken to solve the problem (your solution)
- Discuss key results and achievements with quantifiable data
- Explain the overall business impact in the client's words
- Provide a compelling conclusion inviting the reader to achieve similar results with your business
See this example by Amazon Web Services demonstrating how they supported Chick-fil-A in developing an AI framework to identify and address food safety risks.
And, here’s a ready-made template built according to this structure:
Simple case study
White glove delivery with a focus on process optimization explained by a compelling story.
2. Before-and-after case study
A before-and-after case study brings out the transformative power of your product or service. It starts by painting a picture of what things looked like before your solution was implemented.
It then describes the implementation process and shows what things look like after.
This case study format appeals to visual learners and can be an especially impactful way to boost sales and customer conversion rates.
- Paint a picture of the company's situation before your intervention
- Discuss the transformation in detail highlighting the significant results and improvements with data and visuals
- Explain the difference your solution made
- Conclude by reinforcing the transformative power of your product or service
A great example is IBM’s case study illustrating Carhartt's transformation into a fully digital business.
3. Success story case study
A success story case study tells the story of how a customer succeeded using your product or service.
It starts with a description of the company and its goals, explains how your product or service was used to achieve those goals, and ends with an evaluation of the results.
This format is perfect for emotionally engaging the audience, showing potential customers how they might achieve similar results and reinforcing your brand image.
Success story format:
- Introduce your contact person (the main character)
- Describe what drove them to seek your solution with emotional language
- Introduce your team (as their guide), use names to make them relatable
- Describe your team’s attempt (as individual people) to address the client’s needs
- Describe your joint journey attempting to resolve their issues (with its ups and downs)
- Describe the moment when you knew you’ve succeeded reaching your destination
- End with an empathic invitation to make contact like “struggling with something similar? Talk to us.”
An example of this is Hotjar’s case study of Brand24 showcasing how Hotjar helped them increase conversions in an easy flowing story that’s easy and fun to read.
4. Interview style case study
An interview-style case study brings authenticity to the table. Letting satisfied clients do the talking generates trust and shows your product or service as used by actual clients.
This format is ideal for personalizing your brand and nurturing potential customer relations.
An example of this is KineMatik’s case study presenting how Marine Atlantic helped them centralize and standardize their project delivery.
Interview style format:
- Introduce the interviewee and their company
- Provide the context or background of their challenges
- Present the interviewee's account of how your product or service helped address their challenges
- Highlight key takeaways and results from the interviewee's perspective
- Conclude with an invitation to the reader to experience similar results
You can watch the case study here:
What are the main case study delivery formats?
While crafting a persuasive and impactful case study is essential, how you deliver that content to your audience is equally important.
3 main case study delivery formats:
1. Written case study
Written case studies have long been the go-to choice. They come in the form of static documents such as PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, Word docs, and emails. This makes them relatively easy to create.
But, as they rely only on text and images to tell a story, they may not always capture attention, engage, or evoke a deep emotional response from your readers.
An example can be Adobe’s case study detailing the role they played in Lenovo’s digital transformation.
2. Video case study
Videos breathe life into your case studies. Mainly used for testimonials or interview-type case studies, they can also portray regular case studies in a dynamic format.
Videos add a human touch to your content and engage audiences on an emotional level. They are especially effective in demonstrating the impact of your product or service in real-life settings.
A great example of this is Amazon Web Services’s video case study on how they helped Zalando improve the online shopping experience.
3. Multimedia case study
As attention spans shrink and digital noise grows, it’s imperative to offer an interactive, engaging alternative to static formats.
Multimedia case studies, like those created with Storydoc or as landing pages, blend text, images, videos, and interactive elements to provide a sticky content experience.
The interactive format transforms your case studies into immersive experiences , holds your audience's attention longer, and helps your message resonate.
It also allows you to control the pace and order of information, leading to a deeper understanding of your case study.
Here’s a great example of a multimedia case study:
UX Case study
This template for case studies in UX and UI comes with tons of space for text and many visual elements such as charts, timelines, or graphs. This one is perfect for those case studies in which you need to explain the process in greater detail.
All 3 delivery formats can serve you well. Just remember, the choice of format should align with your business goals and audience preferences.
Written formats can still be the right choice for detailed communication. At the same time, video and multimedia formats can capture interest and drive engagement in ways that traditional written content cannot.
How do you create a case study format for marketing success?
Step 1: uncover a tale of success.
The first step in creating a case study format that resonates is identifying a success story worth sharing. Look for a customer who has achieved remarkable results with your product or service.
Their journey will serve as a powerful testament to the value you provide.
Step 2: Connect with the customer
Reach out to the customer and initiate a conversation. Express your interest in featuring their success story as a case study. Build rapport and ensure their willingness to participate.
Cultivating a collaborative relationship lays the foundation for a compelling narrative.
Step 3: Dive into the story
Conduct an insightful case study interview to uncover the details behind their success.
Ask open-ended questions that delve into the challenges they faced, the solutions they sought, and the outcomes they achieved.
This step allows you to capture their experiences authentically and gather the necessary information for a compelling case study.
Step 4: Weave the narrative
Begin by structuring the story in a way that engages readers from start to finish. Outline the customer's challenges, the innovative solutions you provided, and the measurable results they experienced.
Use a storytelling approach to make the case study relatable, highlighting the transformation your customer underwent with your assistance.
Step 5: Distribute your case study
A case study's true impact lies in its visibility. Promote your case study across various channels to maximize its reach.
Share it on your website, company blog, and social media platforms. Leverage email marketing to distribute it to your subscriber base with a similar customer profile.
Consider collaborating with industry publications or partners to increase its exposure.
By actively promoting your case study, you ensure that it reaches the right audience and generates the desired marketing success.
Grab any template - create your best case study to date
Now that you know how to choose the right case study format, it’s time to get down to work.
Grab one of our case study templates and cut down the time and effort needed to make a great case study to a fraction of what your company is used to.
Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.
Found this post useful?
Subscribe to our monthly newsletter.
Get notified as more awesome content goes live.
(No spam, no ads, opt-out whenever)
You've just joined an elite group of people that make the top performing 1% of sales and marketing collateral.
Create your best case study to date
Try Storydoc interactive case study creator for 14 days free (keep any presentation you make forever!)