Advertising Case Study Template

Compelling case studies can help you convince potential customers to start to use your product.

This is especially true if your case study subject is in the same industry or is the same size as your potential customer.

There’s just one problem.

Writing an excellent case study is hard.

So we thought we would help lighten the load for you.

This post contains 35 case study examples across a variety of industries to help inspire your content writers.

Plus, we’ll walk through a step-by-step process on how to write a case study of your own (using one of two different template styles can grab for free).

Create Great Marketing Case Studies With Four Free Templates

Before we get into the post, let’s not waste time giving you what you came here for.

That’s our marketing case study templates, right?

In this, bundle, you’ll get:

  • Three Case Study Templates (Print or PDF): Use this Word template to create a case study you’ll either print or make available via PDF. We’ve included three copies in green, red, and blue header colors.
  • Case Study Template (Web): Use this template to write your case study content as a web page.

Grab them both and following on with the rest of this post.

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What Is A Case Study?

According to Top Rank Blog, a case study is:

“An analysis of a project, campaign or company that identifies a situation, recommended solutions, implementation actions and identification of those factors that contributed to failure or success.”

Here’s a case study video example from a brand you might even be drinking right now (if we had to guess, we’d say marketers love their Starbucks):

TL;DR? Check out this Slideshare if you want a quick overview on developing case studies:

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7 Steps To Writing a Strong Case Study

Writing a case study involves gathering all the information you need from your organization, your client or a customer, and then formating into an easy to read document.

Here are the seven steps you need to follow to write a full study.

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Step One: Finding the Subject of Your Case Study

The first step in any case study writing process is deciding who you want to write about. It could be your organization, a client or a customer.

Some criteria to keep in mind when you’re selecting your case study subject is:

  • If you’re working with a customer or client, how much do they use your product or service?
  • Has there been a dramatic result since they started working with your organization?
  • Have they used a competitor before?

To find this information, consider:

  • Talking to your sales team to see if there are any prospects who may be willing to participate.
  • Asking your customer support department if they have any exceptional customers.
  • Review recent new customers to see if any prospective candidates have bought from you.

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Step Two: Ask For Permission to Use Their Story in Your Case Study

It’s one thing if you’re writing about your organization, it’s another if you’re writing about customers or clients. Don’t just pull information about them and throw it into a case study.

Ask them before you start.

Create a Permission Letter

If you are creating multiple case studies, design a pre-written permission letter. It will help move your writing process along.

Your letter should include:

  • What the case study undertaking is going to look like.
  • What they get out of the case study.

Here’s a copy-and-paste template you can tailor to your needs:

Hi [Name of person],

Our team is conducting a case study, and we would love to tell the story of [company]. Would you be interested in working with us to create a case study around the use of our product?

Here’s a description of our process and what we would need from you:

What we’d like from you:

  • High-resolution company logo (basically as big as possible)
  • High-resolution images of your team, company office, etc – stories with photos of your team will drive more traffic (people like seeing that there are humans behind a story)
  • Stats: before [Company] / after [Company]

What does the process look like?

  • 1 [phone/video call/coffee] interview with [person].
  • Our team will then take your interview and build a story out of it.
  • 2-3 email conversations may be necessary to gather extra information.
  • Once final draft is complete – we’ll send it over to your team for review.
  • We’ll then finalize the story, create a landing page, and build a campaign around it.
  • Once live we’ll share final story with you (for your marketing efforts)

Average Turnaround Time: 1 month (subject to change based on response times and edits).

What’s in it for you?

  • Perk One
  • Perk Two
  • Perk Three
  • Perk Four
  • Perk Five

Best regards,

[SIGNATURE]

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Consider Using a Legal Release Form

Another potential step in the process is asking your case study subjects to sign a legal release form so you can use their information.

You do not have to take this step in your case study creation process. If you do decide to have your subjects sign a form, consult with your legal team first.

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Step Three: Send Them An Introductory Questionnaire

Once your client or customer has agreed to participate, you should begin to format your introductory questionnaire.

This questionnaire will help you get the information you need to shape the story of your case study.

Some potential questions to include could be:

  • What problem did you experience before using our product/service?
  • Why did you select our product/service instead of a competitor?
  • How did our product/service solve a problem you were experiencing?
  • What are your goals as a business or organization?
  • Are you comfortable sharing data and metrics demonstrating your success?

You can adjust your questions based on how your customer uses your product to get specific answers or quotes that can be highlighted in your study.

Recommended Reading:40 Content Writing Tips to Make You a Better Marketer Now

Step Four: Format Your Case Study Interview Questions

Once your client or customer has completed your initial questionnaire, it’s time to draft your interview questions.

Asking quality interview questions is critical to ensure that you get the information you need to write a full case study. Remember your clients or customers are busy, so you don’t want to have to ask for more details multiple times.

Based on the responses that you received from your initial questionnaire, you can adjust questions to get any additional information you need.

Here are 25 case study questions to add to your interview.

Getting To Know Your Subject

These questions should be similar to the ones you sent in your questionnaire. These should help you gather any information you may have missed.
Potential examples are:

  • What industry is your company in?
  • How long have you been using our product or service?
  • What is your work process like?
  • How many members are on your team?
  • What goals do you set for your team?

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What Problems Were They Experiencing?

Your case study participants were obviously experiencing some problem before they turned to your organization for a solution. Give the readers of your case study, even more, context by getting as much information about their problem as possible.

Some possible questions to include in your interview are:

  • When did your team first realize there was a problem?
  • What solutions did you try before you came to us?
  • Did your problem happen suddenly or did it occur over time?
  • How did the team come to the decision that outside assistance was required?
  • What factors led to the problem developing?

[Tweet “Writing a case study? Here are five questions to ask when identifying your subject’s core problems.”

What Helped Them Make Their Decision?

Finding out what helped your client or customer decide to work with your company is not only informative for potential new business, but it can help your organization determine what materials to publish.

Try these questions out during your interview:

  • What materials did you read or watch that influenced your decision?
  • What criteria did you have when you were looking for a solution?
  • What competitors did you look at (if any)?
  • How did you convince your team to make a change?
  • What sealed the deal for you when you choose to work with our organization?

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How Does Your Solution Help?

Talk to your customer or client and find out how your solution is helped them fix the problem that they were previously experiencing.

Add these questions to your interview list:

  • What [product/service] helped solve your problem?
  • What did our product or service replace in your current work process?
  • What tasks did our [product/service] simplify for you?
  • How much time do you save?
  • What tasks did our [product/service] eliminate?

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How Did They Implement Your Product?

Another relevant question to ask during your interview process is how your subject implemented your solution into their work process. This could help eliminate nerves from other potential new customers.

Here are some questions to ask during your interview:

  • How easily did your team adapt our product into their routine?
  • How was your onboarding process?
  • What process did you use to switch over to using our product?
  • What difficulties did you face in the transition process?
  • What advice do you have for anyone implementing our product into their work process?

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What Results Did They See?

Results speak volumes so why not let your customer or client data do the talking for you? Remember that you may not be able to gather or showcase all the data you ask for.

Try adding a few of these questions to your list of questions:

  • How much faster are you at completing [task] now that you use our product?
  • How did we help you reach your goals?
  • Did you see any significant jumps in the data that your team collects?
  • How has your productivity changed since implementing our [product/service]?
  • What positive results have you seen?

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Want to keep these questions somewhere handy for reference? Save this cheat sheet:

Step Five: Schedule the Interview

You’ve found your subject, and your interview questions are at the ready. The next part of your process is going to involve setting up your interview.

First, you need to set up a time for your interview on a synced calendar.

Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know you can sync your Google Calendar with your CoSchedule calendar? Learn how.

Then you need to decide how you’re going to conduct your interview. Here are some options:

  • Phone interview. Use a phone call recording app like [Include some options here]. Make sure you have permission to record your call.
  • Video call. If you’re using a Mac, Quicktime makes it easy to record video calls on your desktop for free. Windows users can use Skype.
  • Face to face meeting. If your client is local, this may be the easiest and most personable option.

Once you and your client/customer have decided on an interview time and place, make sure that you have a way to document your interview, either through a recording device or note taking (we highly recommend recording your conversation for accuracy and peace of mind).

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Step Six: Write Your Case Study

Finally, you have all of your information collected in one place. Now comes the fun part; putting it all together into the case study template you downloaded earlier.

Writing Your Title

The first part of any good case study is a catchy title. Your title should include the name of your client or customer as well as their logo. Your subhead should also be short and included information on what product or service they used that helped them solve their problem.

In your template, add your title (and your subject’s logo):


What does a quality title look like? Well, it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should:

  • State who it’s about.
  • Explain what was done.
  • Communicate a clear result.

Take a look at this example from bit.ly:

This title works because of it explains:

  • The problem the company faced.
  • What type of company is involved in the case study.
  • How bit.ly helped them tackle the challenge.

Do This With CoSchedule: Did you know that CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer can help you write better headlines? Try it now.

Executive Summary

Your executive summary should be a two to three sentence paragraph that describes the story of your client/customer. You can also include a statistic or two to help illustrate the success of your case study subject.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

Check out this executive summary example about Patagonia:

 

This executive summary works because:

  • It explains what Patagonia is about.
  • It highlights the problem the company was experiencing.
  • It’s short and concise.

Who is The Case Study About?

The next part of your case study should explain who your case study is about. This is where the information that you gathered from your initial questionnaire would go.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

This one, from a case study about Adobe, is tied in with its executive summary:

Why this works:

  • It explains who Adobe is.
  • It highlights what the Adobe team is already doing.
  • It ties together the problem Adobe experienced with the reason it turned to LinkedIn for a solution.

Problems They’ve Faced

In this part of the study, write about the top two to three issues that your case study participant was experiencing. You should summarize what challenges they faced as well as their previous goals.

Cirque de Soleil’s case study is a great example of address problems a company faces in a case study:

 

Why it works:

  1. The study cuts right to the heart of the problem.
  2. It mentions the specific part of the company that helped Cirque.
  3. It breaks through the fluff and gets the point across right away.

How Did You Help?

 

This section of your case study is going to show off the solutions that your customers and clients use. It should highlight the changes that you’ve brought to their team.

Callaway Golf is another great example of a case study that explains how it’s researcher helped solve their problem.

Why this works:

  • It shows people how LinkedIn has access to Callaway’s target demographic.
  • It explains how they created an app to help solve Callaway’s problem.
  • It explains parts of the data they used to target Callaway’s target audience.

Progress and Results

The final section of your case study should feature the progress that has been made since your customer or client began to use your services. This could be shown through progress towards their goals, changes in metrics they track, and more.

Here’s what this section looks like in your template:

Take a look at the results section in a case study on Weebly.

 

Why this works:

  • The results are one of the most visuals aspects of the case study.
  • They are easy to skim.
  • You can easily tell what type of growth or improvement they experienced.

Using Visuals In Your Case Study

Visuals can help add the extra oomph you need to make a great case study. It can also help make the document easier to skim.

Whether that means graphs, logos, or photos, visuals can make a huge difference.

 

Here are a few extra resources to help you create solid visuals for your case study.

Do This In CoSchedule: You can manage projects and hold your team accountable to meeting deadlines with CoSchedule?Learn how.

Step Seven: Promoting Your Case Study

Your case study is finally complete. You sent it off to your client/customer, and they approved your work.

Now what?

You did all that work, don’t forget to get it out there for the world to see.

Promote your case study by:

The great thing about case studies is that they are an easy piece of marketing material to tack on to any additional campaign.

Do This In CoSchedule: You can plan and promote all your content in one place with CoSchedule? Learn how to create and schedule automated social media promo campaigns in CoSchedule.

What Does A Case Study Look Like? Let’s Look at 5 Examples.

Now that you know how to create a great case study let’s look at some well-executed examples.

Vega Case Study Example

Here’s an example of a case study our team at CoSchedule created for Vega, a customer specializing in premium plant-based lifestyle products. It makes it clear who they are and exactly how CoSchedule has improved their business.

 

Red Bull Marketing Case Study Example

Red Bull is known for its amazing content marketing. This case study from Link Humans turns a typical blog post into a full-blown case study examining how the brand executes its wildly innovative strategy:

 

Automotive Case Study Example

Why does this case study work? It’s about an automotive company, and it’s coming from one of the biggest family brands ever: Disney.

It’s also:

  1. Concise and to the point. There is no fluff that would distract the reader from the information they need to find.
  2. Outside of Disney’s wheelhouse and therefore reaches a different but desired target market. Who would think of Disney as a resource to help craft a new company culture? This case study shows that they can.

Big-Box Store Case Study Example

Target is a big brand box store that is branching out and trying new things to interact with its customers. This case study from TED landed on our highlight list for two reasons.

  1. One is its visually appealing images …
  2. … and the other is the way the TED team formatted the study for the web. It’s short, sweet and broken into easy to skim paragraphs.

Hotel Case Study Example

This case study from Hilton is a great example of how a company can conduct a study on itself. This brief document is a perfect example of how to format a case study for easy printing.

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Now Go Write An Awesome Case Study

The fear of creating a compelling case study is gone. You have great examples to follow and two different templates to help you format the information you gather.

We can’t wait to see what you come up with.

Do you have a question or two about formatting case studies? Let us know in the comments below.

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There is a difference between learning how to create a case study and learning how to create a case study that is memorable. That persuades. That sings from the rooftops, “Just look at these results — you know you want to work with us!”

Unfortunately, many of the case studies I’ve read are boring, self-aggrandizing, and uninspiring. That’s because most organizations know they need case studies, but fall terribly short in execution. 

It’s kind of like that old saying, “It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it.”

There is an art to creating a case study that will be the proverbial milkshake bringing all the prospects to the yard. So, today I’m going to teach you everything you need to know on how to create a case study that attracts the right buyer personas and helps you close deals.

(I'm also going to share my personal, free case study template with you that makes creating case studies a breeze!)

But First, What Is a Case Study?

Before we dive into the nuts and bolts of pulling together your case study, I want to give you a quick refresher on what a case study actually is.

I know, I know; You’re a pro. But in order to write a killer case study, you need to understand its purpose, as it will inform every decision you’ll make as you go through this process -- plus, it's never a bad thing to brush up. 

We all know that case studies are critical when it comes to nurturing prospects through the buyer’s journey. This is particularly true since potential customers are usually about 70 to 90 percent of the way through the buyer’s journey before they reach out to someone in sales -- and by that point, they’re still going to ingest about 11.4 pieces of content before they make their final purchasing decision.

That’s why your content strategy needs to cover more than just eBooks, blogs, and podcasts targeting the awareness and consideration stages. 

When done well, case studies can be invaluable inbound marketing tools during that critical decision stage, when prospects are evaluating who is going to help solve their problem -- and you want them to choose you.

Case studies are also indispensable during the sales process, once a brave prospect has decided yes, they crave the human connection only a sales rep can provide. So, every time you create a case study, ask yourself:

"Would my sales team consider this case study valuable and compelling enough to send to a prospect to help them close a deal?"

If the answer is no, then you need to go back to the drawing board.

Okay, with that out of the way, let’s get to work on how to create a case study…

Step 1: Pick Your Case Study Subject

In my experience, one of the most common reasons a client’s case study has gone off the rails is the foundation of their case study was flawed from the start. In other words, they chose the wrong subject to spotlight.

That’s why you need to vet the focus of your case study before you begin work on it.

Fortunately, there is some good news: When it comes to the scope of the work you choose to feature, size doesn’t matter.

One-off projects (infographics, branding), a short sprint campaign (promoting an event, new content offer), or a long-term, strategic endeavor that took months to complete (website redesign, software implementation)… they’re all viable candidates for your next case study.

But what do the most successful case study subjects have in common? Well, the easiest way to answer that is by telling you what to avoid.

  • The project should not still be in progress. You can’t write aspirational case studies, where there is “hope” or “intent” to bring about certain results. That would be like Michael Crichton ending Jurassic Park while the dinosaurs were still running around, eating people. “Don’t worry, I’m sure someone will get the power back on and save the day. The end.”
  • If your client is not happy with the work you produced, move on. This should be obvious, but given that we were once put in this exact situation (and our client’s client was more than happy to share how unhappy they were during our case study interview), I’m going to throw in this reminder. When it comes to your case study, you should not be the only one satisfied with what you delivered. Even if they are happy, however...
  • If you don’t have results to share, you don’t have a case study. It’s that simple. So, if you’re still in a pilot phase, waiting for results, hold off.

If any of this rings true for a project you’re considering for a case study, set it aside. It’s not case study material. The best case studies highlight completed work supported by measurable results that show how you solved a problem for a now-happy client.

Step 2: Gather Your Information

Once you’ve identified your case study subject, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and go on a fact-finding mission. There are a lot of questions you’ll need to answers before you start working on a draft and you’ll probably need to talk to a number of different people in order to get them.

For example:

  • Which of your personas will this case study target?
  • What problem did your client need solved?
  • Why were you chosen to help them solve it?
  • How did you approach the challenge?
  • What was the ultimate solution, and how long did it take to implement?
  • What benefits or results did your client see as a result of your work immediately?
  • What benefits or results did your client see as a result of your work over time?
  • Do you have a client testimonial?

The goal is to gather as much information as possible across the entire story:

First: Who is your client, and what is their problem or goal?

Next: How did you help them solve their problem?

Finally: Did everyone live happily ever after? Great! Prove it.

"Wait, How Do I Know All of the Questions I Need to Have Answered?"

I am so glad you asked!

To make your life a bit easier, I’ve pulled together this free case study template. It contains every single question you should ask when gathering information for your case study.

The questions are also grouped by where they fall within your “story," and I've included prompts if you feel stuck or need inspiration for certain questions.

One of my favorite things about this case study template is that you’ll be able to spot gaps in your story immediately. Are you light on results? Did you forget to ask for a testimonial? It’ll all be at your fingertips, in a single, well-organized document.

Step 3: Write Your Case Study

With your completed case study template, writing it should be a breeze. But like I said at the start of this, your case study will live and die by your ability to craft a narrative that is memorable.

There are two ways you accomplish this: tone down the fluff and be persuasive.

Minimize Your Editorializing

Whenever I’ve worked on a project I’m particularly proud of, I have a tendency to provide way too many superfluous details.

It’s just because I’m excited, but in the context of a case study, this kind of overeditorializing can make it look like you’re trying to fluff or pad your case study, because your results are flimsy.

Instead, streamline your narrative and your language.

Every detail you include should serve one purpose: to support the thesis of your case study. If it doesn’t, cut it out.

(No one cares if it was raining when you came up with that brilliant idea to drive website conversions, or that your shirt was blue when you thought up that ideal tagline for a new product.)

Also, avoid words or phrases that attempt to influence an opinion, such as unnecessary adverbs or adjectives.

For example, if you’re showcasing a branding project, don’t say the final logo was “beautifully designed.” That kind of statement should only be shared if it’s a testimonial from a client — the client's opinion of your work is the one that matters, not yours.

Put Your Persuasive Writing Skills to Work

Your case study should inspire people to take action. They should want to immediately pick up the phone and call you because they feel compelled to work with you, right?

That only works if you write in a way that is both inspirational and compelling.

Persuasive copy is powerful. Here’s how you do it:

  • Even though you’re telling a story about a specific client, include qualifiers about that them (industry, size) - or their situation (pain point, objective) - that allow a reader to feel like you’re speaking directly to them and the problem they’re trying to solve. They should be able to easily step into their shoes and say, "Hey, that sounds like me."
  • Comparisons, such as metaphors and analogies, can be your best friend in a case study, as they can help a reader accept a certain scenario as being true if it’s related to something they already understand. However, there is one caveat: Don’t use clichés. While they may exist for a reason, science says we are trained to ignore them.
  • Use power verbs. In fact, here are 109 of them, waiting for you to choose them. Power verbs have momentum. Power verbs imply results. Power verbs aren’t wimpy.
  • Don’t use passive voice. Use active voice. (What’s the difference, and why does it matter?)
  • Spotlight data, client quotes and testimonials to demonstrate the effectiveness of your work.

Finally, don’t forget to proofread!

Step 3: Design Your Case Study

Okay, so you have your case study draft in hand, filled with persuasive phrasing and glowing client testimonials. Now it is time to send it to design.

Of course, the end result at this step will probably depend a lot on your brand’s visual standards, but I still have a few tips for you.

If you’ve been blogging or creating content for any amount of time you — and your designers — probably already know the basics.

  • Whitespace is your friend.
  • Include visuals.
  • Break up walls of text with headings, subheadings, and bulleted lists.
  • Call out relevant data points and quotes you want readers to remember visually.
  • Include videos (if you’ve got ‘em).
  • Also, if you have a testimonial, include the person’s name, job title, and their photo. It shows you solve problems for actual people.

When it comes to case studies, design is just as important as the copy itself.

A well-written case study will only be persuasive if you create a piece that is visually appealing enough that a prospect will actually read it. If they don’t read your case study because of ugly, unfriendly design, all of your hard work will have been for nothing.

The format of how you present your case study is up to you, but keep in mind, they should be easy to find and read. Our success stories are on our navigation and they're ungated. (We don't any barriers between prospects and proof that what we do delivers results.)

However, if you decide to go a similar route of creating a case study that lives as a website page, create a PDF version that is easily printed, as well. It should be a document a sales rep can bring to a meeting and walk through in person, instead of having to say, “Oh, I’ll shoot you a link when I get back to the office.”

A Great Case Study Is Worth the Effort

Okay, I know what you’re thinking. “Man, Liz. This sounds like a ton of work.”

Well, yes. It is.

In the world of inbound marketing, it’s not enough to simply create content anymore. All of your competitors are now creating blogs, and case studies, and eBooks. In order to stand out today, you have to create quality content that clearly demonstrates you understand the problems of your buyer personas and how to solve them better than anyone else.

So, again, yes. This process is comprehensive, but only because I want to make sure that you are empowered to create case studies that make prospects want to call you instead of someone else.

Now, get to work!

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