Measurable results put the ‘success’ in customer success stories.
Hard numbers are especially powerful; they validate the solutions you bring to the table and establish desirable results that your other customers want for themselves.
So yes, whenever possible, you want metrics that you can assign to case study results.
(That doesn’t mean you can’t create a good case study without metrics. You just need to lean more heavily into the narrative story arc—and apply a few other tricks of the trade.)
So when your customer comes through with great metrics that you can use for your case study, you really want to make the most of it.
Here’s the Case Study Buddy method of leveraging those metrics in full.
Choose your metrics wisely
Which success metrics you choose to highlight should depend on 1) your target audience, 2) the goal of the case study, and 3) the numbers themselves.
1. Target audience
Your target audience will dictate which results you should focus on.
You want to choose metrics that are persuasive, inspirational, and provocative for your target audience, i.e. the people you want to take action after reading.
Say you provide accounting software that makes it easy to bill and collect payments from customers, and your target audience is small- and medium-size businesses.
Compelling metrics might include:
- Average monthly time savings on billing/invoicing
- Percentage increase in payments received
- Before/after days elapsed before invoices are paid.
Note: The size of your customer’s company is an important and relevant detail that you should also include!
Say you provide a STEM after-school program that wants to increase student enrollment and your target audience is parents.
Compelling metrics might include:
- Student grade percent increases
- Number of students that went on to take an interest in STEM post-secondary
- Number of young women empowered to pursue STEM careers
2. The goal of the case study
The goal of your case study will also help you identify which metrics you should emphasize. You might have plenty of amazing metrics to share, but you want to choose metrics that will help you further that goal.
Your customer gives us an amazing interview about how your solution helped them increase customer retention and decrease churn rates.
However, what you really want to focus on is your solutions’s ease-of-use and how it helps employees save time every day.
In this case, even though the interview metrics are fantastic, you’ll need to shift your focus to success metrics like: software adoption rate increases, percentage decrease in support tickets related to your solution, number of hours saved daily, etc.
3. The numbers
Sometimes, the numbers themselves will guide your writing. Sometimes, the metrics you think are most important don’t actually look all that impressive on paper.
When that happens, it’s time to rethink how you frame the metric, and which metrics you emphasize.
You want to emphasize revenue increases. Your customer states that their revenue went up 5% with your solution.
If the customer is a big company that boasts huge annual profits—and if they managed to get those results over a short period of time—that raw number will be impressive!
But if the customer is an independent Etsy seller generating only $5k per year, a 5% increase won’t make for an impressive (or compelling) headline. Instead, you might shift your focus to other wins, such as…
“How [Etsy seller] Sold Over 5,000+ Homemade Necklaces in 2020 with [your solution]”
“How [your solution] Helped [Etsy seller] Grow Organic Website Visits by 300%”
Get the math right
The math you’ll use in your case study isn’t all that complicated.
But if it’s something you don’t use often (or if you slept through Math 10 in high school), it might be time for a refresher.
Sometimes, your customer will ask that you NOT use concrete metrics in the case study because they feel it gives away too much information.
But they may be okay with you expressing those concrete metrics as percentages.
So let’s take a look at how to calculate those.
To turn a number into a percentage:
You achieved 173 clicks out of every 2000 views of your ad. What is the click-through rate for your ad (i.e. the percent of times that people clicked)?
173/2000 = .0865
.0865 x 100 = 8.65
Your click-through rate is 8.65% (i.e. viewers clicked on your ad 8.65% of the time).
Calculating percentage increase and decrease
Now, let’s turn our attention to percentage changes because you’ll end up using these a lot in case studies.
To calculate a percentage increase:
If your answer is a negative number, this is a percentage decrease.
To calculate a percentage decrease:
If your answer is a negative number, this is a percentage increase.
Calculating percentage point difference
Here’s where it’s easy to mess up.
If you’re given two percentages, you CANNOT calculate the increase/decrease between them using the above formulas.
Instead, you can calculate the percentage point difference by subtracting the two percentages.
For example: If a lead conversion rate goes from 28% to 30%, that’s a two percentage point difference.
(It’s not a 7.14% increase or even a 2% increase, as explained here.)
Or… use a calculator
Having gone through all these formulas, you can also choose to use a calculator to calculate percentage increases and decreases.
Simply Google “percentage calculator” or use this one.
But as your Math 10 teacher might have mentioned while you snoozed, it’s always a good idea to understand the principles behind your calculations, even if you do use a calculator.
Frame your metrics to make them stronger
Sometimes, you’ll choose the right metrics based on your target audience and goals… but that number doesn’t look as strong as you’d like, particularly in your headline.
You can take that number and reframe it to look more impressive on paper.
You can do this in a couple of ways:
1. Turn a low percentage into a more impressive concrete number
If you help a huge company, such as Amazon, increase overall revenue by 5%, that amounts to a whopping +15.7 billion USD. In this case, the dollar value is much more impressive than the percentage.
HEADLINE: “How Amazon Adds Over $15 Billion in Revenue with [Client]”
2. Turn low concrete number into a more impressive percentage
A small company generates an average of $1,000 per month, and [client] helps them increase monthly revenue to $4,000. A $3,000/month increase won’t impress most leads, but a 400% increase or a headline that touts “growing revenue 4x” looks amazing.
HEADLINE: “How [Customer] Quadrupled Monthly Revenue with [Client]”
Include timeframes to make wins stand out
You can do one more thing to help your metrics pop, and that’s add a timeframe to your results.
Helping your customer increase its incoming leads by 200% is impressive, for example.
But if it took 10 years to reach 200%, that’s significantly less impressive.
However, if your customer reached 200% within a week of launching a new campaign—that’s worth sharing!
So this would look something like: “How [Client] Helped [Customer] Grow Leads by 200% in Just One Week.”
Context is important. And if the context makes your case study stronger, emphasize it!
Make the most of your case study metrics
Not every customer can give you the measurable results that you crave.
So when they can, you want to make the most of them.
Choose the right ones, perform the math carefully, and use every tool in your toolbox to make those metrics stand out.
Want to score an A+ on your next case study?
Contact us to start the discussion.