How to write a Case Study
CASE STUDIES - AUDREY HEPBURN HAD THE RIGHT IDEA
Have you noticed how few businesses bother with Case Studies? They seem to think that all that's needed to open the floodgates of customer enquiries is to tell the world how great they are. Sure – promoting your products or services matters. But there's much more you can do to draw in your potential clients - adding Case Studies to your website being a prime example.
Let the lyricist, Alan Jay Lerner, explain.
He wrote the words for My Fair Lady – a musical I've always adored and have enjoyed at least eight times. With so much of the story being about language, this should come as no surprise.
The musical features a song which tells us all we need to know about Case Studies. Don't believe me? Take it away Audrey Hepburn.
Wasn't that great?
And here are the lyrics -
Got the message? You can devote as much of your website as you like to the irresistible features and benefits of your services and products.
But what many of your potential clients are actually crying out is ...
We're not talking testimonials here. Yes, they have their place on your website. They represent your client's personal reflection of the job of work you carried out. The trouble with testimonials is that they're not always believable. Case Studies are different. They're serious, authoritative, packed with facts – no 'dressing up' with sales fluff.
Case studies tell it as it is
They tell a story (and we all know how important stories can be in getting a message across).
The story they tell is from your client's perspective. It isn't salesy – it's informational. You're educating your reader, warming them up with facts, answering their questions, overcoming their objections.
In a Case Study, you explain. You objectively set out the client's problem (their 'pain point'). Then you describe how you dealt with the problem, before concluding with the outcome – how your skill and effort improved your client's 'life'.
Size doesn't necessarily matter
There doesn't have to be a set length for your Case Study. It can be brief –
Mike Hannity was hopeless at public speaking – he was crippled by nerves, lack of confidence, shyness. Then he undertook our Present Yourself with Confidence course – eight weeks of strategic, individually tailored coaching. Within weeks, Mike was speaking more confidently. Look at him now! He's happily presenting to Boards of Directors and conferences across the UK. His career has taken an upturn too, with Mike recently appointed as Head of Sales.
Or – your Case Study can run to thousands of words. What matters is that every point you cover is relevant and serves to further convince your reader of the wisdom of doing business with you.
Whatever the length of your Case Study, it should adopt the same structure –
The Client – a bit about them and their sector
The Challenge – What issue did you address?
The Solution – What did you do to resolve the issue? What processes, techniques and know-how did you apply
The Outcome – What medium–long-term impact did your work have on your client's business?
To be effective, your Case Study doesn't only need to be well written. Design is critical too. You need to support your facts with images (perhaps 'before' and 'after'), diagrams and charts. You need to employ all the techniques of formatting –
- Heading and sub-headings
- Bullet points
Of course, Case Studies aren't only a great tool for your websites. They're perfect in print. Add them as individual sheets in your pitch folder.
Just remember what your Case Study is for. You're trying to prove to your potential client that everything you crow about in your marketing is true.
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