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A Step-by-Step Guide to Writing Member Case Studies.

Discover why case studies are essential for membership organisations. Learn how they showcase achievements, build trust, and attract new members.

Updated: 20/06/2024

Imagine this: a prospective member visits your organisation’s website, searching for proof that joining will truly benefit them. They’re looking for more than just promises—they want evidence of success. This is where case studies become a powerful ally.

Case studies are more than just success stories. They are dynamic narratives that showcase real-world achievements, illustrating how your organisation has positively impacted members within your community. From building trust to attracting new members and retaining existing ones, case studies are a cornerstone of effective membership marketing.

In this guide, we’ll explore why case studies are vital for membership organisations. We’ll dive into their role in demonstrating social proof, highlighting member achievements, building trust and differentiating your organisation. We’ll also provide a step-by-step approach to writing compelling case studies that engage your audience and support your membership growth strategies.

Let’s dive in and explore how you can leverage the power of case studies to strengthen your organisation’s brand, attract new members, and engage your community effectively.

Why are member case studies important?

Case studies serve as a powerful and versatile content marketing tool for membership organisations, for example:

1. Demonstrating real-world success (Social Proof)

Case studies provide tangible examples of your membership organisation’s success and impact on individual members or businesses within your community. These real-world success stories help build credibility and showcase the value your organisation brings to its members.

2. Highlighting member achievements

Case studies spotlight your members’ achievements and accomplishments, fostering a sense of recognition for them and demonstrating the practical benefits of being part of your organisation.

3. Building trust and credibility

Membership organisations often rely on trust to attract and retain members. Case studies serve as social proof, offering evidence that your organisation delivers on its promises. Potential members are likelier to trust an organisation with a track record of success and positive outcomes.

4. Addressing pain points and challenges

Case studies allow you to address specific challenges or pain points your members may face. By showcasing how your organisation helped overcome these challenges, you demonstrate your understanding of member needs and ability to provide solutions.

5: Providing educational value

According to a HubSpot survey, 68% of marketers find case studies effective for generating leads and providing educational value, making them a valuable tool for educating both current and potential members. Case studies offer insights into best practices, strategies, and innovative approaches, serving an educational purpose that benefits current members and attracts new members seeking industry-specific knowledge and expertise.

6: Differentiating your organisation

Every membership organisation is unique, and case studies allow you to highlight what sets your organisation apart. Whether it’s your approach, resources, or the collaborative nature of your community, case studies help differentiate your organisation from others in the industry.

7: Fuelling content marketing

82% of marketers actively use case studies in their content marketing strategies (HubSpot Blog). Why? They provide shareable, relatable content that can be disseminated through various channels, such as social media, newsletters, and blogs. This continuous flow of valuable content keeps your organisation at the top of your target audience’s minds.

8: Attracting new members

According to the Search Engine Journal, 50% of consumers say that reading case studies and reviews influences their purchase decisions, making them a powerful tool for attracting new members by showcasing positive outcomes. Potential members often seek evidence that joining your organisation will bring tangible benefits, and case studies serve as a persuasive tool by highlighting the positive experiences and outcomes of existing members.

9: Member engagement and retention

Sharing success stories within your community fosters a sense of pride and engagement among existing members, reinforcing their decision to join the organisation and contributing to long-term member retention. Organisations with strong content marketing strategies, including case studies, experience a 27% higher retention rate, highlighting their role in continuous member engagement and retention​ (HubSpot Blog)​.

How to write a case study: Step-by-step

Get the idea? Great, let’s put it into practice using the following step-by-step guide to write a compelling case study that will engage your audience.

1. The foundation

A successful case study goes beyond a simple testimonial by illustrating how you met your customer’s needs and helped them achieve their objectives. Start by getting your ducks in a row.

  • Who are you targeting? With any marketing content, you must have a desired reader in mind.
  • What’s the key message? What is the most important message a reader should take away after reading the case study?
  • Working title. Choose a title that will hook readers into reading your post. Scribble some down below and pick a favourite. Don’t labour over it; you can always change it later.

2. Map it out

Before you get into the nitty-gritty, sketch out your case study. Don’t go overboard with copywriting; just jot down your ideas to give yourself some structure.

  • Customer/business name: This is pretty obvious – the full name of the company or brand represented in the case study.
  • The problem/challenge: Before you get involved, jot down a few bullet points about your customer’s problem.
  • Your service or solution: Again, just a few lines or bullet points briefly outline your solution to your customer’s problem.
  • The results: A summary of the main points of the solution and an affirmation of the key messages.

3. Introduce the customer

Set the scene with a few sentences about the customer, their industry and how good they are. 

  • The biography: Write between 2 and 5 sentences about the customer, their industry and their success story. 
  • Include bullet points where appropriate. 
  • Make it punchy: You must convince the reader that the topic is worthy of their attention and not a ‘time sink’- unless it’s a fun waste of time, in which case you must sell the fun aspect.
  • Include names: People in the organisation you worked for/with to provide your solution.

4. The challenge

Now, let’s look at the situation that led the customer to your products or services.

  • Include a subtitle: Break up the text and give the section a subtitle. If in doubt, go with ‘The problem’.
  • Detail the problem: Think of the resolution they are trying to achieve. 
  • Describe your customer’s situation before they approach you. If possible, include numbers and statistics.
  • Alternative solutions: If they hadn’t found your product or service, what would they have had to do to solve the problem? How hard would that have been?

5. Your product or service

Now, it’s time to look at how your product or service solved the customer’s problem.

  • Subtitle: It’s all about breaking up the text again. If you can’t think of a better one,’ The solution’ will do.
  • The solution: Describe your product or service and how you or your customer implemented it.
  • Details! If possible, include numbers and statistics to give hard facts to the story.
  • Alternatives: Did the customer look elsewhere for a solution? Why did they choose you? Be specific!

[Tip] Include links to your website’s product pages or another conversion page that can encourage the reader to become a customer.

6. Resolution, results and ROI

So, how has the customer benefitted from implementing your product or service?

  • Subtitle: You know where we’re going here! If in doubt, try ‘The results’
  • The solution: Describe the success your customer experienced and how your product or service contributed.
  • Be specific: Mention the return on investment or another measure of profit /prosperity. 
  • Plans: Include any plans the customer has to use your products in the future.

7. Supporting information

Here are a few other things that will help add value and support your case study.

  • Images: Content with images gets 94% more views than those without. 
  • Quotes: Remember those contacts earlier on? Try to get a quote from each of them, or write one and get their approval. Make it as easy for them as possible to get their best contribution.
  • Credit where it’s due: Providing references to partners, suppliers, etc., is a great way to build authority into your case studies. Can you think of four supporting sources supporting your key messages in this case study?
  • Customer’s website: Well, you want to give them some attention!

8. The finishing line

Time to dot the i-s and cross the t-s

  • The killer title: Now that you have written your case study, you might need to revisit your working title. While keywords are important, a title must be written with humans in mind. Make the reader curious enough to click, so be specific.
  • What is your ‘call to action’ (CTA)? If your case study is compelling enough, your audience should be willing to take some form of action after reading it. This could simply be sharing the post socially, or it could be a more direct action like an enquiry, another download or a willingness to enter their personal information into your database. So make a note here of what the action should be
  • Find an editor. If you publish the case study yourself, at the very least, spell-check your document. There is nothing like lousy spelling to reduce your credibility online (yes, we all make mistakes). Once that’s done, proofread the case study yourself, look out for bad grammar, and double-check the infamous ‘your’ and ‘you’re’, which readers love to call you on.
  • Once you have made any changes, you can ask someone else to read your writing and make suggestions. A fresh pair of eyes may highlight obscurities or inaccuracies that can be improved.

9. Gain approval

Don’t be tempted to publish a case study without getting approval from the customer. But make sure you follow an editorial process to maximise the chance of approval. We suggest the following method:

  1. Draft: Use the pointers in this guide to draft your case study.
  2. Initial approval: Send the draft to your customer and get their OK in principle.
  3. Finalise text: With a green light (and a copywriter), write the final case study.
  4. Final approval: Send the case study to your customer for final approval.
  5. Publish and repurpose: Make as much use of it as possible.

10. Promote and repurpose

Having created a great case study, the content should be repurposed for use in several ways, including:

  • Lead magnets: Asking a prospect to provide their name and email address to access or download the case study is a great way to create leads.
  • Blog posts: Using the case study as web content to educate prospects helps drive traffic and boost SEO.
  • Presentations: Repurposing case studies as presentations (or Slideshares) to create visual marketing assets and support lead generation.
  • Social media- publishing: case studies on social media (or linking to them) helps feed your lead generation funnel.
  • Email: Sending case studies to email subscribers builds your brand and educates prospects.

Over to you

In conclusion, case studies are an effective way to showcase members’ achievements and strengthen your organisation’s overall brand, trust, and appeal within the industry.

As you create case studies, we hope this step-by-step guide provides a systematic approach, from laying the foundation to gaining approval and promoting the content through various channels. By effectively leveraging case studies, your organisation can celebrate its achievements and attract, engage, and retain a thriving community of members.

Chief Tea Boy and Marketeer

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