Case studies are an awesome way to communicate your specific skills, experience, problem-solving, and effectiveness with your audience. They’re so influential to the customer journey that they’re often used to generate leads or nurture buyers from one stage to the next. Most brands can benefit from using case studies as part of their marketing strategies, but it’s important to avoid the most common case study mistakes as you develop and share them with the world. 

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Here are some recommendations you can use to improve your future marketing strategies.

Top Case Study Mistakes and How to NOT Do Them

Case Study Mistake #1: Long, Rambling Copy that Makes Your Reader Tune Out

Case studies are a wonderful opportunity to showcase how you solved a customer’s problem and the results of your efforts. Yet even though case studies are typically long-form documents, you don’t want so much copy that it loses the attention of your readers.

Instead of long paragraphs of copy that go on and on, try breaking up your content into smaller sections that are easier to digest. Even better, consider how you might illustrate your copy with graphics, icons, or images. Data visualization can make otherwise boring data come alive in exciting illustrations, infographics, and unusual design concepts.



Case Sudy Mistake #2: The Case Study Without a Format

While your case studies do not need a boilerplate, it’s a good idea to stick to a general format. In fact, lacking a formula is one of the biggest case study mistakes that brands continue to make again and again. The result is a study that lacks organization and makes it difficult for the reader to understand the purpose.

Here is a general process you can follow to ensure an easy-to-follow document:

  • Explain the customer’s or client’s problem or challenge
  • Detail how you went about solving it
  • Highlight the outcome or results of your efforts

Once you have those statements in place, you can build out the rest of your content to support them. See Case Study Mistake #1 for ideas on how you can do this with images and graphics.

Case Study Mistake #3: Generic Information That Fails to Convince the Reader

When it comes to case studies, the more specific the information the better. That’s because the main goal of this type of marketing is to convince the reader you can solve their problem because you have done it before – and you’ve proven it with your case study.

For example, if you helped a client increase their annual sales, then explain it in percentages or dollar amounts. If your work prompted more donors to contribute to a customer’s fundraiser, then detail the number of donors or the overall donations and how much they were up year-over-year.

It’s okay if you omit the name of your customer or client from the case study. We see it all the time. You can always say you helped a “furniture store” decrease their turnaround time by X percent. Use specifics whenever possible to support your content.

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Case Study Mistake #4: The Story Is From Your Perspective

It might seem natural to make your case study all about you and what you did, but really the story should not be from your perspective. Rather, it should be from the perspective of your customer or client because they are the ones who need to relate. At the end of the case study, you want your reader to feel like you can solve their problem because you already did for someone else like them.

The more the reader can feel like they are a part of the story you are telling, the more likely they are to engage with you.

Case Study Mistake #5: An Awesome Case Study With No Call to Action

Forgetting to include a call-to-action is one of the biggest case study mistakes we see. Yet it’s one of the most important elements in moving people along the customer journey.

Whether you direct the reader to your website, webinar sign-up, or product demo page, your call to action needs to tell readers the next step to take. Preferably, it should tie-in with the story you just told.

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About the Author

Rob SandersRob Sanders

Rob Sanders is a digital marketing veteran with over 20 years of experience. During that time, Rob has helped a wide range of companies utilize new and emerging technologies to increase sales and profitability. As founder of RSO Consulting, Rob helps clients maximize their digital marketing efforts via SEO, SEM, SMO, and Web Analytics. He is responsible for many facets of the web analytics value chain, from identifying business goals and objectives to developing strategies and translating those into Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Rob also teaches digital marketing and analytics classes throughout the U.S. and abroad. As a contributor for Simplilearn, Rob creates expert thought leadership content on a variety of digital marketing and analytics topics.

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