What will make you invest in an offer faster? The person selling their offer to you saying how awesome it is? Social proof detailing how amazing an offer is? Or actual words from someone similar to you describing exactly HOW the offer helped them and the process they had to go through to reach where they wanted to. That’s the power of a case study.
So What Exactly Is A Case Study?
In the simplest terms, a case study helps your clients see exactly how you have helped others like them resolve a particular problem or challenge. It gives them a deep dive into your process and a chance to see it through a more personal, relatable lens. It’s the best proof you can give about your offer/service. You can incorporate it into your website, emails, or social media in a video, graphic, or text format using strategic storytelling.
Instead of you talking about your service/course, it’s a happy client doing the talking for you. And trust me when I say, that makes all the difference in the world. For nothing is more effective at closing sales than a powerfully relatable success story brought about by your offer.
As my fav. Alex Cattoni says…
When the story is about someone else – and what they actually went through—it’s more relatable. It’s more authentic. And it’s more effective.
For a case study to be effective, it needs the right kind of information and structure. Here’s how you get that:
Gather the right kind of information for your case study
While there are a number of ways to gather information from your clients – like questionnaires and survey forms – nothing beats a good old interview. When you’re face-to-face with your client it gets easier to ask follow up questions. And if you’re doing your job right, there WILL always be follow-up questions.
An interview also makes it easier to hone in on the nuances and emotions when they are speaking, allowing you to dig deeper by asking stuff like;
I see you feel strongly about that. What were the particular challenges you faced when trying to do that?
I see that it was a huge challenge for you to do xyz. What steps did you take to address it?
At AOBM, we love asking our clients what their favorite part of working with us is. We’ve received answers like:
- Communication is excellent and I appreciate their flexibility – great listening to understand my brand and also coming up with innovative solutions with me.
- How Lori values my input, supports me reaching my goals, but also knows when to push back when needed.
- that you genuinely care about your clients.
This really calls to the heart of our brand which is all about authenticity, communication, support, and belief in our clients’ work. Hearing it from people who have worked with us just emphasizes these qualities for someone looking for the same.
The elements of a perfect case study
While there is an order to write case studies, you can always mix it up depending on who your audience is or what kind of story you’re telling. Whatever format you use (I have included some examples further down the blog) there are certain elements of a case study that you can’t miss, starting with:
1. A Catchy Headline
David Ogilvy says, “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar..”
While your intention is not to sell anything (or is it?), a benefit-driven headline works well in a case study as opposed to a teaser headline. A person might be too busy to figure out (or read further) what you’re trying to tease. But they will ALWAYS read something that they feel is beneficial to them.
A few things you can include to make a headline more beneficial:
- Numbers. People LOVE numbers. Numbers are solid. Especially if you can back them up.
- Calling out the client and how you helped them.
- The transformation the client achieved.
Here’s an example: How this Etsy coach grew from 0 to over 500 followers on Instagram and made sales in just 3 months organically. You can read about it here.
2. An Introduction
As I said before, like attracts like. Make sure your introduction includes who you helped, a brief introduction to their challenges, what they do, and how. It’s a great place to get your clients to relate to the person in the case study and ultimately, your offer.
3. The problem or the challenge
There is a high chance that the problem or challenges faced by your client before they started working with you are the same as the ones faced by the person reading your case study. So make sure you ask your client about them.
You can ask:
- How their life/business was before they started working with you.
- What their biggest challenge was and how it impacted them or those around them.
- Their fear and motivation.
- Whether the challenge led to any kind of issues or loss. For example, loss of revenue, mental peace, time, or something else.
Make sure you get answers to:
- Their life or business before you/your offer came into the picture.
- Solutions they tried before you that didn’t work.
Really hone in on how it affected them. And don’t forget to follow up!
4. The solution
This is where you dive deep into your process and the steps you took to resolve your client’s challenges.
- Did you face difficulties along the way? If yes, how did you overcome them? Don’t forget to tune in to the emotions of how the client felt when working with you.
- What were the steps you took to get them from A to B? How did the client react during each step? Were they happy?
- Where did they have moments of struggle? How did working with you help them overcome that struggle?
Remember, you’re telling a story. So make it as evocative as you can without losing clarity.
But before that..
5. Find out what convinced them to work with you
What made them decide you were the right person to help them? What was the point at which they decided they needed a different kind of help…your kind of help.
This’ll not only help you get into the minds of your ideal clients and understand what makes them tick but also create a really nice bridge to introduce your offer. A.k.a your solution.
It’s also a great place to go deeper into the reasons why the solutions they tried before you didn’t work. What led them to choose you over others in your niche?
This’ll help you highlight your uniqueness without being braggy about it.
6. The results
Once you have shown what working with you looks like, it’s time to focus on the results.
- What did your client gain after working with you?
- How was their life transformed?
- How did they feel after working with you?
Show off those amazing results with impunity. Throw in a direct quote from the client or a non-refutable statistic that emphasizes the difference you made for them.
Remember to be as specific as possible.
7. A strong Call To Action
Now that your reader is moved by your client’s story and primed to believe in you and your offer, it would be a waste of space not to lead them to more information about you.
You know, in case they want the same results for themselves.
That CTA can look like:
- A link to your sales page
- A button to schedule a call with you
- A contact form
Whatever it is, you need to tell them exactly what action you want them to take.
When writing a case study, remember to:
- Record the interview to review later. If needed, use a transcription service like otter.ai to make it easier.
- Ask open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions. This makes it easier to follow up.
- If you don’t get the answer to your question the first time, try approaching it from a different angle.
- Keep your introduction short.
- Don’t forget to follow up after each question. Dig deeper!
- Make sure you’re telling a story instead of just spouting facts and statistics. Although facts and stats help too!
- Always ask for written proof, screenshots, statistics, or testimonials that you can sprinkle throughout the case study to make it stronger.
- Make sure your case study doesn’t read like a big wall of text. Break the text with images or negative space.
- Don’t be afraid to use bold, italics, or colors to highlight different aspects or important bits of the case study.
Case Study Examples
Below you’ll see different formats, storytelling styles, and varied headlines of some of AOBM’s and HubSpot’s most successful case studies.
How this Etsy coach grew from 0 to over 500 followers on Instagram and made sales in just 3 months organically by AOBM
Written and designed as a PDF, we email it to our clients if requested. It follows the standard case study format of challenge, solution, and results, but it doesn’t lack storytelling. Note how we have sprinkled the proof of transformation and quotes from the client. Our copywriter also managed to really hone in on the challenges that are relatable for many of our audience.
WordPress Website Launch: Voice & Public Speaking Coach by AOBM
While not your traditional case study, this blog post works well in convincing people about the transformation we can offer when redesigning their website. If you read it, you’ll notice how we have touched on both direct and indirect benefits of working with us – including the non-tangible benefits like guidance, confidence, joy and relief.
How Handled Scaled From Zero to 121 Locations with HubSpot
HubSpot handled the introduction of this case study by focusing on the CEO rather than the company itself. Leading with a story on why the CEO thought Hubspot could help. Take a look at the catchy subheaders too! They also use a video in their case study, to really engage the visitors as they read it. Who said case studies had to be all text, no fun?
You’ll see how each case study is written and designed differently, keeping their audience in mind. Try to see the commonalities of each and compare it with what I wrote above.
Here are 28 more case study examples
So there you have it. Your guide to writing the perfect case study. And if you need any help with that, you know where to find us!
Amazing OBM is a boutique digital marketing agency serving coaches and course creators. We specialize in social media and email marketing, websites and landing pages, and launch management services. To chat with us about implementing a marketing strategy for your business, schedule a free consultation.
Show Off and Show Up with the Perfect Case Study
May 5, 2023
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