Effective Case Studies: 4 Tips for Telling Customer Stories

Consumers today do a tremendous amount of research before making a purchase. For everything from vacation rentals to tax preparers and restaurants to bath towels, the opinions of others factor heavily in the purchasing decision. We all want to know what other people thought of a product, service or destination, as it provides us with a certain reassurance that we’re making a good choice.

Once upon a time, these recommendations came from our neighbor or friend. Now, thanks to the internet, they can easily come from around the world in the form of reviews, testimonials and case studies. For businesses looking to create case studies, there are certain approaches that work better than others for attracting attention, engaging your audience and convincing them that your business is the best solution.

Here are four essential tips for success:

1. Find the right customers. In the rush to create case studies, some brands make the mistake of accepting a testimonial from any happy customer. But not all customer stories are created equal. While the criteria for case study subjects will vary among businesses and industries, there are a few overall guidelines to follow beyond customer satisfaction. First, look at results. How impactful has your product or service been to a given customer? Are there real numbers to share to quantify those results? For example, saying that your business saved a customer money isn’t enough. Prospects will want to know how much they saved. Also, look at how relatable a customer is to other potential customers. If they are representative of your typical customers, the case study will resonate more than if it profiles more of an outlier.

2. Think like a reality show producer. In other words, put the problem first. Many marketers make the mistake of getting too detailed in setting up the background of the company being profiled or the individual person sharing their experience in the case study. While this information is important to set the stage, the problem or challenge should always come first. That’s the part that your prospective customers will relate to. Seeing, for example, that a company being profiled has a problem with effectively onboarding new employees will resonate with prospects who share the same challenge. That problem, and you should paint a vivid picture of it, will be the hook that grabs your prospective customers and draws them in to find out what happens next.

3. Tell the whole story. While the problem is a key element of any customer case study, be sure to tell the whole story. To be complete and effective, a case study should have sections that outline a customer’s challenge, the solution to that challenge and the results achieved by that solution. Utilize customer quotes to bring the sections of the case study together and to humanize the story for your audiences. Also, provide a glimpse of the future in every case study. Will the customer purchase more of your products? Will they utilize a new feature or service? Show that you haven’t just gained the customer’s business, you have earned their loyalty.

4. Offer a variety of formats. What format comes to mind when you think of a case study? If you thought of a PDF, you certainly wouldn’t be alone. It’s one of the most common case study formats, and a good one at that. But to garner attention and play to different learning styles, try thinking outside of the typical case study box. As the popularity of video grows, so too does the video case study. Video is adept at capturing attention and is an effective medium for telling stories, including those of your customers. An infographic is another interesting format to try, particularly in cases where you have a lot of hard numbers to share. Regardless of the format you choose, make sure that it’s well-designed and professional, so it represents your brand well.

If you’re ready to tell your customer stories in an effective, appealing and impactful way, Evoke Idea Group is ready to help. With more than 22 years in business, we know what it takes to tell a good customer story to create a great case study that attracts attention and converts prospects. Find out what we can do for you in a complimentary consultation. Schedule yours today by emailing hello@evokeideagroup.com or call 630-879-3846.


About Evoke Idea Group

Evoke Idea Group is a full-service design and marketing creative agency providing award-winning marketing communications and graphic design solutions since 1996. For more than 20 years, we’ve helped mid-to-large sized B2B and B2C companies, marketing departments and breakout companies captivate and convert customers through print and digital campaigns. We’re based in St. Charles, Illinois (approximately 40 miles west of Chicago), but serve a wide range of clients on a national, regional, and local basis.

We are in the business of bringing awareness to brands and helping to grow companies through strategic marketing, advertising, web design, video and graphic design services. Our fresh, creative approaches are translated through: graphic design, logo design, website design, advertisements, infographics, digital marketing, social media marketing, web banner ads, print materials, flyers, case studies, sell sheets, posters, brochures, branding and identity, brand guidelines, packaging, trade show booths, exhibit graphics, video, and animated motion graphics.

Our full-service advertising agency provides freelance marketing communications and graphic design solutions in St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, Aurora, Naperville, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Elgin, Schaumburg, DeKalb, Joliet, Chicago, Chicago Suburbs, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, Will County, McHenry County, DeKalb County, Cook County, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, the Midwest, USA and worldwide.


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