How To Write A Case Study
This blog post was updated by the author on 11/23/2020
Trying to close a sale or convert a visitor to your website into a customer? When customers are getting to the nitty-gritty of a significant business decision, hesitation and second-guessing often happens. It’s during this period a sale can go belly-up and you can miss out on a sale. It’s times like these it pays to have an ace in the hole, something that can provide some peace of mind to a hesitant potential client and give them enough faith in your prowess to give you their business. Like a case study.
A case study is a perfect way to showcase your past work and successes to a potential client and help them visualize and contextualize the impact of working with you can bring about. A strongly written and constructed case study relies on specific facts, figures, numbers and charts to tell a story from the perspective of a customer. This is a much more identifiable format than presenting a prospect with product information, full of industry jargon they don’t understand.
In this way, you can present your successes in a way that doesn’t come across as boastful or braggy. What you are giving them is just straight fact.
Case studies are not industry specific. Most companies can benefit from having a case study or two, but they are particularly helpful for coaching or training organizations, manufacturing companies and other technical services.
Once it’s been written, case studies can be used in a variety of different ways. They can be posted to your website blog or even given their own special landing page. Send potential customers links to your case studies after conversations as a follow-up or even in a proposal. You can also put them in a document to physically hand out.
How do you write a case study?
So, what does it take to put together a compelling, useful and convincing case study? It’s a lot easier than you may think. Like blogging, you don’t need to be the greatest writer in the world to tell an interesting story. A case study should be brief, no longer than a page or two. You can handle that right?
Here’s what you need to get your case study started.
1. Find Your Story
A case study, at it’s core, is really just a success story. The first thing you have to decide is what story you want to tell. Look back on your past work and projects and decide which one would make for the most compelling case in your favor. The project you decide upon must have been one with strong results and was a great success (duh) and should be one you are proud enough of that you are willing to hang your hat on as a watershed event for your company.
2. What Was the Problem?
Once you have the story picked out, it’s time to talk about it. Narrow in and elaborate on the problem, issue or obstacle your client faced and how it negatively impacted their business. It’s important not to gloss over this part. Going into detail about the issue faced can be a powerful part of your story. Others who read this case study in the future may be facing a similar obstacle and it will resonate all the more.
3. What Was Your Solution?
Here’s the best part: where you get to talk about you and toot your own horn. Without giving away all your secrets (you still want the reader to hire you, remember?) talk about how you solved your client’s problem. It’s important to be specific here. This is a hard sales pitch, so don’t pull any punches when you talk about the hard work you put into the project. Talk about your work process, analysis of the situation and the steps you took towards helping your client overcome their obstacle.
4. What Were the Results?
Wrap up your case study by detailing the impact your hard work had on the client’s situation by going over the results. This is another area where you should be as specific as possible. Use strong words like “improved”, “increased”, “reduced” and “avoided” to really help get your point across. Support your claims with exact figures and numbers and, if possible, include graphs and charts to further reinforce your results and give the reader a visual representation of your success to walk away with. If you are able to get one, this is also a great place to include testimony from the client featured in the case study as further reinforcement.
Once you have written your case study you need to decide what to do with it. There are a couple ways to share your examples of success with the world and prospective customers, but here are the two routes I would recommend.
1. Build out your portfolio page
Once you have a handful of case studies written, dedicate an entire page to your website to showcasing your work. A portfolio page is a great cornerstone page to include on your website that will no doubt draw interest from prospects checking out your services. A portfolio page is a great page to be able to link to in drip campaigns to prospects as well to help them see the advantages and opportunities that are possible if they ultimately work with you.
2. Turn them into downloads
If you have the ability to turn your case studies into more than just a landing page, you open up an opportunity for new lead generation on your website. Converting case studies into attractively designed PDFs that live behind a contact form gives you the ability to identify visitors who are specifically interested in the kind of service detailed in the case study. Whether they are in a similar industry or looking for the same service, knowing who downloads your case studies, as opposed to just looking at them on a portfolio page, gives you additional relevant information you can use when following up with them or deciding what kind of drip campaign to put them in.
want to write your case study?
Check out our portfolio page to see our work and get ideas for your own case studies.
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