What Should You Include in a Business Case Study?

Posted by on Feb 19, 2013 in Case Study Writing | 2 comments

Previously we looked at what case studies can do for your business. But how do you actually write a business case study?

Today let’s take a quick look at what you should include in any business case study you write. The structure of your case study is up to you. They can be anything from a few paragraphs on your website to a multi-page report. But no matter how long your case study is, these elements should be included.

  • Problem or Opportunity – This is the unique problem you or your client faced (or a unique opportunity that became available to one of you). It helps if your prospects can relate to this problem. This way when they see how your product or service helped to resolve the issue, they’ll be more likely to give it a try themselves.
  • Your Approach – Here you’ll detail your solution to the client’s or customer’s problem. Or you’ll discuss your approach to helping them take advantage of an opportunity. You’ll talk about the exact services you provided or the product that was used (and preferably how it was used in this case).
  • The Results – Then you’ll talk about the most important element — the results. You obviously only want to publish a business case study when results are positive. Get specific with these. For example, if you helped a customer save $25,000 in overhead costs, you’ll note that. If you helped them grow their profits by 30% in a year, you’ll mention that. This is where you show that your approach, product, or service really works.
  • Testimonials – It’s also helpful to include client or customer quotes (or a single longer testimonial) with your case study. Clients can say things about you and your business approach that would sound questionable coming directly from you. For example, you should keep the case study objective rather than raving about your own work. But in this section, your customers have the opportunity to do that for you.

Remember, business case studies are about taking subjective sales copy and business claims and turning them into real-life results. They’re the ultimate proof of the value you offer to your customers.

Those are the most basic elements of any business case study. But they can certainly include more. Do you tend to include anything else in your business case studies? Tell me about it in the comments.

Jennifer Mattern

Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger and freelance business writer. As the owner of 3 Beat Media she is also an author and active Web publisher behind websites including BizAmmo, All Indie Writers, and The Busy Author's Guide.

2 Comments

  1. Love this post, Jenn. I find that the hardest part about writing case studies is getting the client to measure the results. Not that they are unwilling, just that the might not know how, depending on the type of writing I’ve done for them. I’m writing some web copy for a client’s website right now. She wants it to be more organized and clear, but results aren’t measurable beyond whether she’s happy with it. She didn’t know how much business she was getting from the site with the old copy, so she won’t know whether she’s getting more or not. Thankfully, most clients are interested in measurable results!

  2. What I like to do in those cases, if the client is willing of course, is to suggest split-testing for a while — the old copy and new copy so they can see how each performs. It’s not ideal and they don’t always want to bother. But hopefully at the very least they’ll track results on the new copy and move forward from there. Another option is to have them get some subjective feedback through a client survey before having new copy drafted. It’s not as good as hard numbers, but it can help to identify issues that might be costing the client sales. :)

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