No matter how clearly you showcase your value on your website, nothing quite converts prospects like a case study.
See, the thing is, prospects want to know that you’ve helped people just like them.
They don’t really care that you’ve worked in the industry for a decade and that you have a fancy degree. They might not pay any attention to your brand colors or the images of people jumping for joy on your home page.
The one thing your prospects want to see before they sign on the dotted line is results.
Through a case study, you can show prospects that you’ve encountered the exact problems they are facing, and you’ve already been there and done that—creating massive success along the way, of course.
This kind of proof not only shows prospects why you rock, it paints a vision of the future they can get behind. If done right, your case studies will target the right customers, and help them imagine themselves getting those results too.
Here’s how to write a winning case study that will have prospects diving for that “contact” button.
Captivate with a bold summary
When reading your case study, this is the part your clients head to first. It’s a great way to condense the important points into three or four sentences.
This summary should be powerful, succinct, and benefit-focused — though it’s probably best to write it last, once you’ve ironed out all the details.
Most people don’t spend time reading on the web. They scan, barely. That’s why the summary of your case study needs to capture their attention right away — otherwise your “readers” may scroll on by.
In your case study summary, be sure to:
- Pinpoint what kind of client you were helping. This helps prospects self identify with them.
- Name the specific problems they were dealing with, and how it was affecting their business.
- Give them a taste of the kind of results they got by working with you.
- Remember that the summary is a…summary. Don’t give away the farm, but use it to pique interest so your prospects will read more.
Share the client’s perceived problems — and their actual problems
After the summary comes the Problem section of your case study. While there are defined areas of the case study (Summary, Problem, Solutions, Results), be sure to write your case study like a story.
What were they trying to achieve? Why couldn’t they get there? Start off by talking about the kinds of problems the prospect was facing – both perceived and actual. Those two kinds of problems can be very different.
For example, the prospect may think that their major problem is that they are not converting enough leads off their website. However, their real problem may be that they are not getting enough traffic to begin with.
By talking about both perceived and real problems, you create an opportunity to show how you clarified and helped right from the start.
Be sure to talk about how these problems were affecting your client. Was it getting in the way of them hitting their goals? Were they losing market share to their competitors? Be specific about what challenges they were facing before you came along.
You’ll also want to make note of the client’s goals. What do they want to get out of all of this? What do they want to achieve? You’ll focus on these more in the Results section of the case study.
Showcase your value with process and solutions
After discussing the problems your client was going through, you get to really shine. Here is where you show prospects how you helped people just like them.
Many case studies I’ve read do a good job of highlighting the specific solutions the company offered. Say, bookkeeping services, for example.
But what they fail to note is their process.
Don’t make it seem like the solution just magically worked as a result of some happy accident. Tell the reader why you picked this specific solution, and your process for implementing it and making it work.
Give an example of other possible solutions you may consider, but tell them why you strategically decided on this one. Or focus on your key 3-step process that is guaranteed to make implementation a breeze.
Whatever your secret sauce is, you want to make sure to highlight it here.
Take it home with outstanding results
The last section of your case study is to showcase the satisfying success of working with you. Remind the reader about the initial goals your client had, and tell them how they were met or exceeded.
Wherever possible include specific metrics and data to prove your point. For example, if your client’s goal was to improve productivity, talk about how many hours you helped them save per week. If the client wanted to make more money, for example, it might be good to point out that you helped them up their revenue by 10% year over year.
The more data, the better.
Check out this case study to see how you can bring it all together.
But here’s the thing – in addition to data, there’s an even more important element you want to make sure is always in your Results section: emotion.
It may sound a bit strange, but be sure to talk about how your clients are feeling after working with you. Do they have peace of mind? Are they empowered to take on new opportunities? Do they have a sense of serenity and security because they know you have their back?
Talking about emotions goes a long way towards helping prospects wish they were in the same boat.
To top it all off, make your results stand out by showcasing any press or awards you’ve won as a result of your work with this client — or with any other clients. You can always include this info in a short bio about your business at the end of the case study.
Regardless of whether you run a content marketing agency, graphic design business, or developer, case studies done well can have a huge impact on landing new clients.
Build your own engaging case study
Ready to jump head first into writing a case study — but don’t know where to begin? Don’t fret. We’ve got you covered.
Download our Case Study Planner to help you write case studies that convert. We include specific questions you should answer within your case study, covering all the details from problem to results.
We also give you insider tips on how to tell your case study like a story, showing you how to flush out the narrative and include just the right details.
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