How to write a compelling case study

An image consultant had paid thousands to have her website redesigned, and wrote all the copy herself. Despite getting 200 hits per week through Google Adwords and Pay Per Click campaigns, she had no enquiries for two months. I rewrote some key pages, recommended some design changes, and she received six enquiries in the first week including a great corporate opportunity.

That’s a true story, and an example of a case study on the ‘Results’ page of my website.

In this age of ‘social proof’, what someone else says about you is more convincing than anything you say yourself. So, if you’re not using case studies and testimonials in your marketing, you’re missing a trick.

Potential clients judge you by the success you’ve already delivered for others, so it’s good to tell stories of similar cases that they can identify with.

Collect at least three case studies showing the range of situations where you can help. Perhaps one for a small job, one medium, and one large (or whatever makes most sense for your business).

The best case studies are written in the story-telling format of problem:solution:results. State what the situation was before you got involved, what you did, and what changed as a result of your intervention. If possible, include a quote from your client in their own words, endorsing the difference you made.

Highlight the key facts so people can read them at-a-glance. Include specific numbers e.g. xx% saved, £xx generated. If your case study is long and detailed, add bold sub-headings to aid skim-reading. Maybe even include an ‘executive summary’ paragraph as the introduction. And get it designed using your own or copyright-free images to add visual interest.

It can be hard to write your own case studies, as you already know what happened, can be ‘too close’ to the situation, and can’t always put the story into language that your prospects will respond to. So do consider asking a professional copywriter (like me!) to interview your clients and write the case study for you.

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