Today’s IT buyers are picky. They know that solving technical problems and issues requires extensive expertise and experience and they have plenty of potential vendors from which to choose.
At the same time, many MSP companies fail to provide a proof or any other indication of such expertise.
In this post, we’re going to help you change that.
We’ll show you how to create a case study that’s going to convince new clients to hire you, instead of your competitors.
What Exactly is a Case Study?
I admit, the term case study gets thrown around a lot these days.
Some businesses use it to describe results they achieved for their clients. Others, substitute it for testimonials.
In truth, however, a solid case study (or a success story, as it is also referred to) aims to meet two objectives:
- describe the problem a particular company needed to overcome, and then,
- shows how your company solved it for them.
Typically, such document uses data and stories to illustrate the journey from a customer’s pain point to a solution. Take a look at this example case study from an IT company.
(Note, the screenshot below shows only a section of the case study. I recommend you visit the page to view the entire document.)
Note how its authors divided the case study into five distinct parts, each describing a different aspect of the process:
- Client profile,
- Technology supported,
- A solution, further broken into two sections: Initial Needs and Evolving Needs, and finally,
Later in this guide, we’re going to show you more ideas to organize your case study into a coherent story.
For now, let’s discuss how a case study could help your IT firm specifically.
And as a matter of fact, case studies deliver four benefits:
They help showcase your expertise. Not to mention that seeing the actual results, you’ve delivered immediately positions you as an expert in the prospect’s mind.
Offer social proof. A case study provides concrete examples of companies that have hired your IT firm in the past. But unlike a list of client logos on the site, a case study makes your customers real and helps prospects relate to them.
Endorse your company. After all, although it focuses on the client’s story, the document presents you as the expert.
Case studies also convince a person to hire you. Finally, a solid customer story should provide the final argument for a person to inquire with your company.
But do case studies work?
Let us answer this with the data.
According to the most recent Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Benchmarks Report, case studies are the 2nd most popular content type, with 73% of marketers using them to generate more sales.
Moreover, the report found them also the second most effective content type amongst the most successful companies. And that certainly speaks for something.
Finally, according to the 2014 B2B Technology Content Survey Report (source), case studies are in the top 5 of most influential content types in the marketing process.
In the following section, we’ll discuss how to get started with creating a compelling case study for your IT firm.
How to Create a Case Study That Will Convince More Clients to Hire Your IT Company
We’ve already shared with you an example case study structure above. But given that there are other formats you could use, let’s talk briefly about what elements a case study should include.
#1. A client overview that introduces the client and offers background information about them.
Such introduction doesn’t have to be long. But it must help a prospect to familiarize themselves with your client and their business.
#2. Problem overview, describing the challenge your client faced when they approached you.
Here’s another example:
Notice that, instead of just naming the problem, both companies provide extensive background information about it. This way, they help a prospective client put it in a broader perspective and show how such issues relate to many aspects of a business.
#3. The solution, explaining the approach your company took to overcome the client’s challenge, without going too deep into the actual results.
An important thing to remember about this section is, that, although it focuses on your work, you should create it from the client’s perspective.
Take a look how brilliantly this site does it – although they talk about themselves, the copy still reads as if it was about their client. The inclusion of a client’s quote also helps put it from their perspective.
#4. Results. In the previous section, you outlined your ideas and the process you’ve used to implement them. But for the case study to have the highest impact, it needs to close with actual results you’ve delivered.
This is where you need to be highly specific, and list tangible outcomes your work has delivered. Include numbers, stats, and data, if possible.
Although not required, some marketers prefer to include a short client testimonial at the end of the case study.
It allows them to give the final word to the customer and highlight the benefits of working with you.
What information do you need to gather for your case study?
Many businesses concur- writing case study isn’t that hard. Getting the right information from clients is.
To help you simplify this process, here eight questions that will help you collect the insight necessary to write a cohesive and engaging case study.
- What goals did you hope our services would help you achieve?
- What was the direct problem you were trying to solve before contacting us?
- Have you considered other solutions before partnering with us?
- What outcomes have you seen as a result our work? (Note: these could be both tangibles [i.e., reduction of support costs] and intangibles [i.e., increased customer satisfaction])
- Could you share some statistics about the above?
- What you like and what you dislike about our process?
- Would you consider using our services again?
Note, these questions will only help you collect the right information. However, you will have to compile it into a structure similar to what we outline above.
Luckily, we structured them to make it as simple as possible to do so. The three opening questions focus on customer pain points and their story. Questions 4 and 5, on the actual work you’ve done, and the final two, on your process and how your client perceived it.
All that’s left is to take this information, and structure it, using the formula we’ve outlined above.
Best of luck!