Case Studies As Social Proof

Testimonials are just one means of providing what is in marketing known as social proof – tactics to reinforce brand and product trust with potential customers and turn them into buyers. The other important tactic to this end is the case study.

A compelling case study chronicles the positive impact your product or service has had on one of your existing customers. You can consider a case study an advanced and more in-depth form of the testimonial, since you will be focusing on your customers and will have to work with them.

To get the right case study participants on board, you have to set expectations and determine a well-defined timeline right away. To this end, you have to provide your team with the outline of the project, also called Success Story Letter, which serves to map the entire case study process, from the release form sent out to participants, over the questionnaire and the phone (or even face to face, if possible) interview, to the final approval.

The key segments of this process are the questionnaire and the interview. The former sets the foundation for the latter, so it should be organized in such a way as to allow the interviewer some insight into what moves the customer to engage with the product. The most important thing is to ask for the customer’s expectations, goals and find out how did the product help them overcome challenges or fullfill their needs. This will allow you to ask the right questions in the interview – just make sure to word them so that they are open-ended, so you don’t get simple “yes” or “no” answers.

  1. Once you gather enough answers you can get down to creating the case study itself. Here’s a rundown of how it should be laid out:
  2. Keep the title short and focus on what is the most compelling result.
  3. Follow this up with an Executive Summary, a 2-4 sentences that sum up the entire case, accompanied with several bullet points that display your key metrics.
  4. About your company. Make a short introduction, like you would in your “About us” segment on the website.
  5. Challenges: here you lay out the how the product addressed the challenges your customers faced and the goals that were set out.
  6. How You Helped: This section should include 2-3 paragraphs that focus on describing how your product or service provided a solution to their problem.
  7. Their Results: this is the jewel of your case study – here you show how your product or service specifically helped achieve the goals and overcome the challenges. Make sure to include data and numbers that prove the success.
  8. Supporting Visuals or Quotes: Choose one or two powerful quotes for each section, as well as an appropriate visual that supports and enriches the story.
  9. For best results, none of these sections should be more than 3 to 4 paragraphs long.