Does anyone else love a good courtroom scene?

The way the lawyer we’re rooting for slowly gets more and more information from a witness to win a case. Maybe it’s my love of films, but I love movies with a great courtroom scene, where the hero finally manages to get the truth they were looking for out of a witness.

It’s not always like the movies, but lawyers, in reality, are incredibly methodical in how they interview witnesses to achieve the answers they want (or don’t want) to help them win their case.

But did you know you can apply the same type of model they use for conducting case study interviews?

Follow these tips on how to conduct a fantastic case study interview.

Plan out your goal

A lot of time you may be tempted just to pick up the phone and call that one customer who just loves you guys and would gush about your services for an hour.

But resist.

Whenever you are creating any marketing material, you need to step back and ask yourself what your goal for the case study is.

What do you want the result of this case study to be? Increased sales? Validation? Product awareness?

If you blindly charge into a conversation with a client and don’t know what your end goal is, your case study is not going to achieve what you were hoping for.

Picking one purpose for your case study to serve is going to increase its effectiveness. When you dive in deep to a company’s story and how your business helped them in a very specific way, it’s more impactful.

Map out your interview questions

Say you’re a home remodeling business, and you want a case study that highlights how the cabinets you use are a cut above the rest. You’ll need to make sure you ask questions that target that goal.

The next step is mapping out your questions.

Start by looking at your goal and figuring out what specific questions you can ask your customer that would lead them to talk about what you want them to talk about.

Most the time, the client you’re interviewing doesn’t understand the goal you’re trying to achieve, or might not see the value in talking about the particular part of your business you want them to focus on. If you don’t prompt them to speak about the specific part of your product or service you want them to focus on, then they won’t talk about it.

Sit down and write out 5 questions on how you’re going to direct the interview.

The types of questions you ask should be like these examples:

  1. What was your life like before our product/service?
  2. Why were you unhappy with your previous solution?
  3. Why did you decide to use our product/service?
  4. What was the result you experienced?
  5. Why would you recommend us to another person/business?

You’re guiding the person you’re interviewing to tell their story with a clear before and after. The before and after is the most critical point of the conversation, as there needs to have been a dramatic change from when they used your product or service.

Be careful not to strongarm or force your customer to make statements they are not comfortable with. If you chose the right person to interview you shouldn’t have to force them to share their story.

And never, NEVER fabricate statements from them. There’s nothing worse than publishing something and having that client become angry with you for putting words in their mouth. Try and be as accurate as possible.

You need a pull quote

It can’t be understated that you need to include a pull quote in your case study.

Pull quotes are used as an attention-grabbing quote usually accompanied by some graphic or image near them. This is used to draw in your reader’s attention and elevator pitch for your product or service.

In the list of number questions I mentioned above, this quote would come directly from you asking your customer you interviewed for the case study why they would recommend you.

Usually, if you’ve led the interviewee through all the questions phrased in a way that would bring out the goal you’re hoping for, you’ll get an excellent pull quote.

After walking them through telling their story with using your product and service, they should have their creative energy focused on what you did for them enough to create a fantastic endorsement.

In the end, the person you interviews story should endorse your business without blanket statements of “They’re the best!” or “Great to work with!

Ideally, you want to strive for something more meaningful than that. Statements like “I hated my kitchen before and was dreading the cost of remodeling. They made me fall in love with my cabinets again while staying under budget.”

If the person you interview had a transformative experience working with you, then you want their case study to reflect that.

Not sure how to develop a compelling case study?

If you want to see how your peers have solved their marketing and website problems, take a look at our portfolio, and see what others have said about the result.

And if you want to learn more about what steps to take with your marketing initiatives, or would like a free consultation, contact us here.