“It’s not me, it’s you.”

Upon the demise of a relationship, this is NOT a phrase you’d want to hear. But when it comes to developing a case study to promote your business, this is exactly what a customer should hear.

Case studies and testimonials are a valuable, impactful tool to help a company promote and sell its products or services. They can be the most influential pieces of content to help successfully push a buyer through the sales cycle. But too often, they come across being less about the customer and more about the products or their makers themselves. And while the company doing the selling may love this, the people doing the buying can feel like they’re not valued and are simply being sold to—and no one likes that.

What works is a more engaged approach that tells a well-rounded story from the customer’s perspective. It’s important to include the following:

  • Information about the customer, including what they do and their goals;
  • A description of the customer’s needs and pain points, specifically as they relate to the project or product at hand;
  • An explanation of the process involved, including a mention (if applicable) where a second look provided a better—and the ultimate—solution;
  • Through the voice of the customer, a narrative of how they are satisfied, including how daily processes have improved and how others have reacted to the change. Include customer quotes, and be sure to weave in relevant statistics that demonstrate success.

Take it a step further: Follow up with the customer six months or a year later to see how the project or product is providing long-term benefits and may have influenced other enhancements.

Nearly as important as the case study itself is the means by which it is shared and delivered. Tried and true are one-pagers that can be printed or downloaded, but prospective customers can be reached through a wider variety of channels than ever before. A visually appealing means of summarizing the case study works best, from a short video to a photo collage via SlideShare, from an infographic to unique social media posts that shed a positive light on your customer. Also successful are “how-to” blogs written and posted by the customer in a manner that allows them to offer advice and tips to others.

No matter how it’s packaged, a case study can help solidify a relationship with the customer, who can be the best advocate for your business. So make it all about them.

What’s your next case study?

Susan (DiMauro) Nasca is Senior Account Exectuvie at AKHIA.