You may have noticed that some brands use success stories or case studies as social proof.
Sometimes testimonials are not enough and prospects need more robust evidence to proof how great your service or product is.
Case studies also help to clarify the message and are particularly useful in B2B.
Particularly when we sell software, an innovative product or a specific service, explaining in more detail how that product or service helped a customer solve their specific problem can be what prospects need to take the decision.
There are case studies which are mega detailed reports which take up several pages and others that are more specific which summarise only the problem and the result.
In this post we will see some examples of case studies/success stories to better understand the structure they should follow.
As with everything related to words, it’d be convenient to count with a copywriter to write them.
A copywriter knows what’s important to highlight and what can be left out in each case.
They know how to choose the right words, so the case study provides better results.
Let’s see now the steps you should take to create great case studies and some examples.
Are you staying?
Choosing the client
You may have many clients who are highly satisfied with the results obtained after using your product or after working with you.
But when choosing one of them, you should look at certain criteria which will ensure the case study is a success.
Criteria for choosing the perfect client for a case study or success story:
– The client is highly satisfied (Elementary, my dear Watson)
– The client represents your ideal client (or that area on which you want to focus your efforts)
– They have obtained specific and verifiable results after working with you
– They have worked with or used a competitor’s product and switched to your brand. This would be the perfect case!
Once you have chosen the client you need to be prepared not to waste anyone’s time.
Have your questions ready and let the client choose the best time for an interview. Better to do a video call or meet in person. This way the client can elaborate and provide more details.
If you just send a questionnaire you run the risk the client will never reply or they won’t include important information. In a conversation you can always ask more questions when the answer is a bit vague.
Now let’s see what kind of questions you should ask to obtain powerful answers for a compelling and enlightening success story.
The kind of questions you need to ask to create a success story
All the success stories we find on the internet follow the old “Before and After” narrative.
What we aim to do when writing a success story is to help the prospect imagine how your product or service can improve their lives.
You want to show them: “this customer was in A as you are now and thanks to this product they’re now in B which is where you also want to be”.
So when writing a success story we need to start with the problem.
I rectify, we should start, as always when we write a piece of copy, with an exhaustive research of the challenges, objections and wishes of our prospects.
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Once we know really well which are our prospects’ struggles and wishes, we can ask the right questions to the client we’ve chosen for our success story.
You should choose a client with whom you’ve worked recently because you will know exactly what situation they’re in when they contacted your company and they will also have a much more vivid memory of that transformation.
Write a script to make sure you don’t leave anything out and make sure you ask open-ended questions that need more than just a yes or no answer.
Here are some examples of the kind of questions you need to ask the client to describe their situation before working with you and the transformation they have experienced afterwards:
- What specific problems did you have before you decided to look for a solution?
- At what point did you realise that you had to do something immediately to solve those problems? Was there a “turning point”?
- What factors played an important role in your decision to choose us?
- What made our product or service different from others?
- What was your experience of working with us after you bought our solution?
- Did anything about working with us surprise you? Did it exceed your expectations?
- Was it easy to implement our product or service in your workflows?
- How long did it take before you started seeing positive results?
- What kind of benefits have you gained from working with us? Can you detail them as much as possible?
The success case will always follow the following structure.
– Problem or better called Challenge
Let’s take a look at an example to make it clear.
On Accenture’s website we find good success stories. Accenture is a consulting and digital solutions company.
With their success stories they explain in a clearer way (with examples) how they can help a company to obtain better results.
Call for change
Keeping metro commuters comfortable in the summer heat is no easy task. It can take huge amounts of energy to power the ventilation systems that keep the air flowing and the temperatures down. Metro de Madrid knew this better than most.
Notice how they use clear language, without technicalities that are difficult for the average citizen to understand, because we should always aim to write copy which is understood by everyone and not just by experts.
Our buyer persona may be the director of a company that doesn’t necessarily need to know all the technical aspects of their activity.
When tech meets human ingenuity
The Madrid Metro Ventilation experts worked with Accenture Applied Intelligence to develop a system that took inspiration from an unusual source: the coordinated foraging behavior of a bee colony.
That’s the solution. See how they use a simile to help prospects better understand the solution, comparing it with the coordinated foraging behaviour of a bee colony.
With this simile they also confirm a suspicion we all have, that much of the innovative technology man has created is inspired by nature.
To tell us about the results they use simple icons and headlines.
See how they provide specific data – with percentages and number of tons – of the improvements obtained.
As you can see, the success story demonstrates with a real example how Accenture can help a company to solve a specific problem, with a clear, specific and descriptive language so everyone can get it.
They also take the opportunity to market their advanced technology and equipment.
Storytelling in Success stories
Success stories are useful to convince those prospects who need a final push.
Because they have doubts and need to clarify them. By reading the details of why a company with a similar problem to theirs got the results they are also looking for they will get the final nudge they need.
Moreover, success stories follow the structure of any story. People like stories, especially those that end well.
They all follow the same structure: Challenge-Struggle-Triumph
The hero of every story suffers from a difficult situation but in the end, he wins. This kind of story gives us hope because we think that we too can achieve big things and get out of a problematic situation.
Let’s look at an example where they use storytelling elements to tell a success story.
Scape the City is an organisation which offers a Start Up accelerator program in the UK.
In the program page, we can find a few success stories told in only a few lines of brilliant compelling copy.
This is a good example of how we can write great copy to tell a story without having to add too many details.
Every success story follows the same structure as that of a tale.
The heroes found themselves in an undesired situation and they scaped to make their dream come true.
If you are thinking to found a start up you will identify completely with these protagonists and will feel compelled to do as they did and join the program.
Look how they add details of their success, yearly revenue, reach, etc.
Being specific always help to be more compelling.
Success stories can also be presented in video format.
The video can include parts where the customer talks about her experience as well as demonstrations of the service or the solution.
It can be done in webinar format as Scandit does, a mobile scanning software company I write copy for.
It can also be presented in downloadable pdf format as Kira Hug, an American copywriter does.
Both in video and pdf or directly on your website, the structure will be the same: Challenge-Solution-Result.
I hope I have helped you understand how you can create a success story with your best clients and thus demonstrate that your brand transforms businesses.
See you around!