Four best practices for case study design

Create case studies that win new business and inspire customers

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Jonathan Anderson
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Any SaaS company worth its weight is blogging, Tweeting, emailing, and creating killer landing pages. So, when aggressive content marketing is the norm, how do you set your product apart? The key is in demonstrating real value, not just talking about it.

Enter the case study! Case studies leverage real customer success stories to showcase what your product can do and to provide insight on how you operate as a company. They’re the Yelp reviews of the business world, and they work. Not only do case studies work as a sales tool to attract new customers; they inspire current customers with new use cases.

Of course, in order to inspire anyone — prospect or customer — you have to get your case studies right. Let’s take a look at a few best practices for case study design in order to make the most of yours.

Choose the right customer

Your case study design should feature a customer who is a champion of your product, someone who’s willing to speak to its benefits and to recommend your product enthusiastically. Check with your sales and customer teams to see who might fit the bill.

You’ll need to approach customers about potential case studies at just the right time. Approach them too early, and they won’t have any measurable results to share; too late, and their stellar experience will just be a distant memory. If you nail it, though, your case study subject will have some cold, hard data to offer on how your product impacted them.

In order to get customers to sign on, make sure they know they’ll be the hero of the story. A case study is meant to be mutually beneficial, increasing brand awareness for your customer while building trust in your product.

Stick to a structure

Case studies should run anywhere from 500 to 1,500 words, and to keep readers engaged, you’ll want to break up your case study into sections with subheads. Each case study design should include the following:

  • Title/Subtitle Include your product name, your customer’s name, and preferably a statistic on your product’s impact.
  • Executive Summary — This brief section provides some background information on the customer and sums up the main points of the case study to draw readers in.
  • Challenge — Detail the problems your customer was facing that caused them to turn to your product in the first place.
  • Solution — Which features did your customer adopt to address their challenges? Don’t forget to include any relevant links to your product components here.
  • Results — This part is pretty self explanatory. What benefits did your customer see from using your product? The more statistics you can offer, the better!
  • CTA — What purpose do you want your case study to serve? Are you looking to sign readers up for free trials, or do you want them to read more about a particular feature? A button at the bottom of the page may not be enough, so spell it out for them.

Create an appealing case study design layout

You’ve already used subheads to break up the text, but a little investment in graphic design will make your case study even more pleasant to read. Consider including the following elements to draw readers in while keeping them focused on the details that matter:

  • Colors, Fonts, & Shapes — High-contrast design elements will make your case study pop. Just be sure to strike a balance between visually stimulating vs distracting.
  • Charts, Graphs, & Icons — Show off impressive results with line graphs and pie charts, or simply present statistics in colorful icons.
  • Fast Facts — Create a box to present at-a-glance information that readers can skim.
  • Pull Quotes — A direct pull quote from the customer breaks up text while offering a stand-out testimonial for your product.
  • Multimedia — Consider video as a way to convey customer emotion better than text alone. Infographics can be a big winner for sharing and for SEO.

Get your case studies noticed

To distribute your case studies, make use of your email list, mention them in blog posts, link to them on social media, and build a killer case study landing page. But our favorite way to get your case studies the attention they deserve is by alerting users in app, when they’re already engaged with your product.

Candu offers no-code templates for getting the word out about your case studies with feature cards and announcement bars that live within your product.


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