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12 Steps to Create a Business Case Study That Converts

Learn how to make a case study presentation. Know how to write and structure it, and measure its business value. Plus examples & samples.

Dominika Krukowska

10 minute read

How to create a case study
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Short answer

What are the steps to create a case study?

  1. Determine a customer use case
  2. Go over existing clients that meet the use case
  3. Reach out to the clients that you know are happy with your solution
  4. Set success criteria or KPIs
  5. Set measurements
  6. Set time period for observation
  7. Conduct post interview to assess results
  8. Get data from client - or process data you own
  9. Write case study based on interview and data
  10. Design case study
  11. Get client’s approval
  12. Distribute case study

Most case studies inform rather than engage. They earn yawns rather than trust.

A great product or service is only half the battle; the other half is telling its story effectively.

The problem is most case studies are written to inform instead of telling a story. They are dry as a biscuit in the sun. Throwing numbers and company info at prospects won’t make them care, let alone trust you.

Unfortunately most companies don’t realize they're sitting on a gold mine of compelling narratives - their customer success stories.

Not sharing these tales results in missed opportunities, lower brand credibility, and, ultimately, fewer conversions.

Let me take you on a short guide on how to turn your client victories into captivating business case studies that constantly bring you loyal customers.

Let’s see how to uncover your case study material, how to write irresistible success stories, and how to track their engagement and business impact.

Let’s get started!

How to prepare for creating a case study?

Every customer success story is a marketing powerhouse just waiting for you to unlock its potential.

12 steps for creating impactful case studies:

1. Determine a customer use case

Begin by highlighting a problem that your product or service solved for a customer. This scenario should resonate with potential customers facing similar challenges, ensuring your case study feels relevant and impactful to your target audience.

2. Go over existing clients that meet the use case

Once you've defined the use case, scan your existing client list for a standout example. You're looking for someone who's experienced tangible success with your solution, ideally in a way that's inspiring, unexpected, or dramatic.

3. Reach out to the clients that you know are happy with your solution

When you've found a good match, get in touch. Clients who are genuinely delighted with your service will typically be eager to share their experience, and their enthusiasm can give your case study real authenticity and appeal.

Approaching clients with a request to participate in a case study is not trivial. It requires mutual trust and a good working relationship.

Knowing this full well, our CEO Itai Amoza had this tip to give you:

“Always be grateful to your clients. They are doing you a big favor and you shouldn't take this for granted. Aside from thanking them, offering perks like a discount, a bigger package, or even just exposing their brands to your customers can make them feel you really appreciate they have taken the time to do this with you."

—Itai Amoza, Storydoc Founder and CEO

Itai Amoza

4. Set success criteria or KPIs

Before diving into the creation process, define what success looks like. Setting clear KPIs will provide concrete, measurable outcomes to demonstrate the effectiveness of your solution.

5. Set measurements

How will you quantify success? Will it be revenue growth? Customer retention? Decide on the metrics that best align with your defined KPIs and use case.

6. Set time period for observation

Choose a timeframe that's long enough to demonstrate meaningful results, but not so long that the end of your case study feels disconnected from its start. This period should be relevant to your chosen metrics and reasonable within your industry.

7. Conduct post interview to assess results

Once your observation period is over, interview the client to gather their personal insights and feedback. Their perspective can add depth to your data, providing a richer, more complete picture of their experience.

8. Get data from client - or process data you own

Get relevant data from the client or use your own data to validate your story. Remember, this is not just about showcasing positive numbers, but about demonstrating real, meaningful impact on the client’s business.

9. Write the case study based on interview and data

Create a compelling narrative that weaves together your client’s voice, your data, and your solution. Use clear, relatable language to make your case study accessible and engaging.

10. Design the case study

Pay close attention to visual presentation. Use images, graphs, or infographics to make your data digestible and your narrative visually engaging. A well-made case study design can captivate audiences who might not engage with a text-heavy document.

11. Get client’s approval

Before you distribute your case study, make sure your client is happy with how their story is told. Their approval not only maintains a positive relationship, but also validates the truth of your case study.

12. Distribute the case study

Now it’s time to share your case study! Use platforms like LinkedIn and email to reach potential customers with similar profiles.

If you rely a lot on case studies to oil your sales prospecting cascades, don’t miss out on Storydoc’s case study creator. It lets you make amazing, easily shareable and trackable interactive case studies.

But beyond that it makes your distribution and tracking a breeze by connecting with your CRM and letting you send, track, and personalize your case studies directly from there.

Here's what our Salesforce integration looks like:

Storydoc Salesforce integration

How to write an impactful case study

A customer success story is much more than a recital of benefits and features. It's the narrative of a journey a customer embarked upon with your product or service, overcoming challenges, and reaching their goals along the way.

Contrary to popular belief, these narratives aren't always about monetary gains. Surprisingly, a Gartner study found that only 13% of case studies showcased clear return on investment (ROI) figures.

Instead, these narratives capture the value and positive impact your offerings have on customers.

They play a dual role: for prospects, they showcase real-life instances of your solution at work, aiding informed purchasing decisions. For existing customers, they act as testimonials, validating their choice and accelerating their learning curve.

However, crafting an impactful customer success story that resonates with prospects is an art few have mastered. Research by Gartner reveals that over 90% of case studies miss the mark.

4-step guide for writing compelling customer success stories

This short guide is based on Gartner's content framework. You can dig deeper into the ins and outs by reading our full guide on how to write a case study.

1. Take an audience-centric approach

First, identify your target audience. Understand their challenges and desires, then find potent stories that address these issues in an engaging manner.

Use tools like customer reviews, sales team insights, surveys, and industry trends to comprehend your audience's concerns and needs.

2. Have a clear storyline

Your story should have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Starting with the customer's problem, then detailing your solution's implementation, and concluding with the positive results achieved.

The spotlight should be on the customer's journey and the value they derived, rather than just your product's features.

Here's our recommended storyline structure:

How to write a presentation storyline that creates interest

3. Include relatable elements

Stories that form a personal connection are the most effective. Make your story more relatable by identifying story elements that mirror your prospects' circumstances and demonstrating how your solution can help resolve these issues.

4. Show data-driven results

Use quantifiable metrics like increased sales, improved efficiency, or reduced costs to demonstrate your product's efficacy. Comparing these results with industry standards can further emphasize your product's impact.

Including such data in your customer success stories can significantly reinforce your offering's credibility.

Tips and best practices for creating a case study

Crafting an effective business case study requires more than just laying out the facts. It's about strategically weaving together your narrative to engage, convince, and convert your audience.

Below are some tips and best practices to guide you in creating a business case study.

1. Start with a strong hook

Just like the opening scene of a blockbuster movie, your business case study should begin with a strong hook to instantly capture your audience’s attention.

This could be a compelling quote from the client, a surprising statistic, or a provocative question related to the problem you’re addressing.

Here's an example of an intro slide:

Case study intro slide

2. Use visuals to support your content

An image can save the need to say a thousand words. Use graphs, charts, infographics, or photographs to supplement your text and bring more clarity with less words.

This not only makes your customer success story more engaging but also makes it easier for readers to quickly grasp the key points.

3. Provide an interactive experience

Making your case study interactive will increase its engagement. Consider embedding interactive elements such as videos, calculators, or clickable tabs to enrich the reader's experience.

All this is easily available to you when creating a case study with Storydoc.

Here are some examples of interactive components you can use:

Interactive Storydoc components

4. Make it easy for readers to share your case studies

In the age of digital content, sharing should be as effortless as a click. And this is where Storydoc shines. Unlike static downloadable docs, Storydoc allows your readers to easily share your case studies using social buttons and an email form.

Making this process as simple and hassle-free as possible increases the possibility of your case studies getting shared with the world.

Here's a short guide on how to share your presentations with Storydoc:

Sharing Storydoc presentations

5. Deliver critical messages directly from clients

Include quotes from the client that highlight the benefits and impact of your solution. Authentic testimonials can significantly enhance your case study's credibility and persuasive power.

Here’s an example I like of a testimonial slide:

Case study testimonials slide

6. Be fanatical about clear and concise writing

Avoid industry jargon and keep your language simple and straightforward. The aim is to communicate your customer success story clearly and concisely, making it easy to understand and follow by all readers, regardless of their background.

7. Include a Call to Action (CTA)

Lastly, always include a CTA at the end of your business case study.

This could prompt the reader to contact your sales team, learn more about your product, download a free trial, or any other action that progresses them through your sales funnel.

Here’s how one of our clients added a calendar to book a meeting as their CTA:

Storydoc deck with embedded cale

How to measure case study business value?

Creating a compelling case study is just half of the equation. To truly harness its power, it's crucial to track and measure its performance effectively.

But if you’re using PDFs or PowerPoints for your case studies you’re flying blind. And if you house your case studies on your website you need to set up custom events on Google Analytics 4 or another third party tracking tool.

If you want out-of-the-box tracking and analytics you have Storydoc. You get practical and timely insights into your case study engagement and conversion from the first second it’s published.

Simply send your decks and Storydoc will track every touchpoint, filling your analytics dashboard with real-time customer data.

Here's some of the tracking you get:

1. Engagement metrics

These reveal how users are interacting with your case study. Key metrics include the number of views, time spent on the page, scroll depth, reading completion, and interactions with interactive elements.

High engagement indicates that your customer success story is resonating with your audience.

2. Conversion metrics

Your case study should have a clear call-to-action (CTA), such as booking a demo, signing up, or downloading a resource.

The number of users who take this action is your conversion rate. A high conversion rate suggests that your case study is persuasive and compelling enough to drive action.

3. Lead generation

If your case study is gated (i.e., requires users to fill out a form to access), you can track how many leads it generates. The quality of these leads—how well they align with your target audience—is equally, if not more, important.

Check out this demo of Storydoc analytics dashboard:

Storydoc analytics pa

How to design a business case study?

Your case study design is an integral part of the narrative, and a powerful tool that can either underscore your findings or undermine them. As such, it requires careful consideration and strategic decision-making.

Here are 3 common case study design approaches:

1) Design for a website

Creating a case study directly on your website? Now that's an exciting prospect.

Imagine bringing your case study to life with interactive features, painting vivid stories with data visualization tools, and creating an immersive experience for your audience. The sky's the limit with what you can do.

But here's the problem: it's no walk in the park. This approach needs you to roll up your sleeves and manage this project. It will involve your product marketing team, design team, and developers. No way around it.

It’s like guiding a delivery truck to your destination through confusing alleyways. You know how to get there, but telling it to someone else on the phone and on a tight schedule makes it super frustrating.

2) Design for PDFs

PDFs is a common way to design and distribute case studies. They allow you a free canvas for arranging your content according to your exact vision. But there's a catch…

PDFs offer a horrible reading experience. They were originally meant for print so they were built for one fixed (an A4 paper). That’s not how people consume content in the digital age.

Sure you get full control over visuals and typography, but your audience will hate it. They will struggle to read it on their computer. And on their phone? No way.

Bad content experience is the reason we built Storydoc. So don’t kill engagement with PDF case studies. There’s a better way.

3) Design with Storydoc

Storydoc is an intuitive drag-and-drop case study designer tool powered by AI. You’ll turn hours of design into minutes with smart slides and templates built based on what works in the real world and guided by AI.

You won't need to fuss over code or design intricacies; instead, you can focus on what truly matters - the content of your case study.

It’s a simple and magical way to design captivating content with a powerful narrative at its heart.

You don’t just want your case study to inform, do you? You want it to engage, build trust, and convert prospects to clients. That’s what Storydoc does for you.

Grab a case study template

Starting a business case study from scratch can be daunting, like staring at a blank canvas waiting for inspiration to strike.

But, you can bypass the initial jitters by simply using case study templates.

These templates have been designed for engagement based on real-world insights from over 100K presentation sessions and tried-and-tested for any device. They also come with built-in tracking and analytics.

Grab one!

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Dominika Krukowska

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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