You’ve decided it’s time to create a case study to highlight one of your strategic projects. Your Architecture/Engineering/Construction firm recognizes the benefits of using testimonials on your website and in proposals. Now you want to go to the next step and highlight the project’s success from your happy customer’s point of view.
Where do you begin? Check out this six-step process for developing case studies, and you’ll be on your way to building a case study library to help promote your firm.
Step One: Select a Strategic Project
To get the most benefit from a case study, it should be part of a comprehensive strategy. Review your successful projects and select at least one that will promote your future strategic goals. Multiple case studies in a specific market or for a specialty service will give your firm more credibility.
Step Two: Get Permission from a Happy Client
Ask your professional teams for their input on strategic projects to highlight. Which projects have the best story? In the case study, you want to present a happy client’s challenges and explain how your firm solved their problem. You’ll have a more engaging case study if you have solid metrics and photos to support the client’s comments.
The professional with the best relationship with the client should seek permission and note the benefits of participating in a case study. The happy client’s firm will get free publicity, and the quoted client will get credit for overcoming an obstacle.
What’s required? A happy client will participate in a 30- to 45-minute interview and then approve the draft.
Case studies are most effective when you can quote someone from your happy client’s firm. However, it’s also possible to prepare anonymous case studies where the firm isn’t identified. They may still be valuable if prospects understand why identities must be withheld to comply with industry regulations or other reasons.
Step Three: Write the Case Study
Include your in-house marketers as part of the planning process. Will they have the capacity to write the customer success story, or will you need a qualified freelance writer? An internal marketer will understand the company’s strategic objectives, but they might not have the time or experience to prepare the customer success story.
A freelance writer with case study experience will understand the process and can share their strategic questions for your happy client before the interview.
The case study should tell a compelling story that will build your firm’s brand and resonate with prospects with similar problems. These prospects want to know how your happy client solved the same kinds of challenges that they face.
Step Four: Get Feedback and Approval
Once your writer interviews the happy client and prepares a draft, it should be reviewed by your firm and then by the happy client. Case studies typically are two pages but can be longer, especially if you use a lot of photos and graphs. Your company’s information is typically listed on the last page with your contact information, logo, and perhaps a photo of your primary contact.
Step Five: Design the Case Study
A professionally designed case study is essential to capture a reader’s attention. Elements will include the happy client’s photo, metrics, at least one call-out quote, and photos that help tell the story. You also can include a sidebar to highlight critical elements that aren’t contained in the main text. You could add project specifications, a timeline, associated partners, or funding sources, such as grants.
Step Six: Promote the Case Study
Once you have a completed case study, brainstorm ways to use it. Your seller-doers and business development staff can send it to prospects. You could link to it from a shorter project description on your website or use the information in a blog post. Use the quotes, metrics and photos in proposals. Include elements of your success story in award entries to show how you’ve solved a client’s problems.
Here are some other ideas:
- Use key elements in social media posts
- Link to the case study from your email signature
- Use the case study as the basis for a video script
- Highlight key points in a client interview presentation
Do you want to know more about creating a case study?
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