There's an art to copywriting.
But it can also be boiled down to a science. And in science, only experiments yield results. So take a second and think about what leaves you scratching your head the most with your business.
For most people, it has something to do with proving the worth of their offer.
Maybe their business isn't established like some of their competition. Maybe they don't have the trust that comes with doing more business for a long time.
Or maybe it's just plain hard to actually prove how solid their offer is. It can be any number of things, and they eventually give everyone headaches.
Well, that's where case studies come in. They work as a sort of proof, where your work can be seen as a successful experiment.
They're also one of the best ways to show your prospects whether you're right for them. And with the right mindset, you'll know exactly how to show them that you are.
Of course, any kind of B2B writing is extra difficult, though. You're talking to people who know business. They know how to sell, what to watch out for, and all the tricks you can usually pull out of your sleeve.
So it's really important to keep it original and remember that you're writing for someone who knows their stuff.
But it's always possible, and it's always worth it. Case studies offer value unlike anything else and give you more potential than you might think. Let's see just how they work and how you can master them.
Maybe case studies aren't your cup of tea, or maybe you're a wiz...
One thing's for sure, they're super effective in getting conversions if you know what you're doing. In fact, it's estimated that up to 78% of buyers use case studies when making buying decisions.
But even though the concept is simple, case studies are hard to master.
Too many entrepreneurs make the mistake of adding 3 or more case studies on a single page. And far too many think that linking out to these case studies is all it takes...
But without the proper context or audience, it all goes to waste. A SaaS client won't care about a case study for eCommerce.
It'll touch on points and context that are completely irrelevant, and therefore, useless.
On the other hand, when you do match people's industries, a case study on SaaS becomes this powerful tool for conversion.
Suddenly, they can relate to the content, they imagine themselves being on the receiving end of such impactful results, and BOOM...
You see, unlike testimonials and reviews, case studies take things up a notch. In a review or testimonial, a customer leads with emotion. If they're happy about the results, they let people know. That's the objective.
But with a case study, it's all about the data itself. Percentages, scope, numbers, results. You know, everything that you actually care to read, if you're a business looking to hire another business's services for something serious.
So, case studies are critical. But in order to use them to the best of your ability, there are a few things to cover.
A very important aspect of case studies is the proof of value that they provide. You typically want to angle a case study toward a client who's in the middle of the funnel and is getting ready to make a decision.
And proof is mainly what a case study is about. It should drive home the reality of your offer and just what you have to give to your prospect.
It shows exactly how you solved a problem for a previous client and how they benefited. But it also details how you got to that solution, which is very important.
Without explaining the process, it can sound far-fetched or readers could be led to believe that the solution is harder or more time-consuming than it is.
And it's still not enough to just have details. You need real, indisputable facts and data.
For example, saying this wouldn't be very effective, "We created a high-converting landing page."
Instead, you can change it up and add detail for a much better statement, "We created a landing page that converted prospects by x% over y weeks, for an increase of z%."
You have to add data wherever you can if you want your case study to do its job.
Because, after all, if you can't prove that you can help your prospect, they probably won't trust you or have any interest in your offer.
But you're in luck, a well-crafted case study gives your offer all the authenticity it could possibly need. And everyone could stand to gain something from coming off as a little more authentic.
There's a reason why you listen when your friends mention a certain restaurant, competitor, or coffee stand...
It's in our human nature to pay attention to recommendations for things that interest us. When they say a business is killing it out there, you pay attention, and you take their word on it...
At least to a pretty solid point.
You see, it's no secret that every business is trying to make money and stay alive ― yours included. And that's where case studies come in.
Case studies, when paired with the right audience (remember our SaaS example from earlier), make you relatable to prospects with similar problems. They detail exactly what types of problems you solve, and how.
But you can't lead with it.
If you're currently linking out your case studies early on in an email nurture sequence, you're actually coming on too strong.
There's a time and a place, so the first step is to get customers to like you. Give them loads of upfront value, giveaways, freebies, and useful downloads or audits. Whatever is on-brand and helpful to your audience.
Something they want.
That way, when you link out to the case studies, they're already going into them with a good impression of you. From there, the impression can only get better, thanks to other customer feedback about your process.
In other words, it takes time to build trust, you don't just demand it from the start. But despite that time commitment, it's worth it. It might be hard to justify at times but consider how big businesses have become household names.
They kept working at building that trust and getting their name out there and eventually people know who they are and exactly what they do.
Your offer is amazing already, and hypotheticals and testimonials can illustrate some of the value. But with so much established, trusted competition you have to work harder than ever to prove yourself.
You know just how much work it is to run a business, and writing case studies is no different.
People need proof. And you probably want the same proof when you're making any purchase. You want the best but there are so many options. So what you need is proof of quality to seal the deal.
Things like reviews, testimonials, any kind of real-life examples.
Sure, you could sell a banana saying it's good, and that would be true. But what if somebody else is selling a banana and they have customer quotes about how good it is?
Well, you could do them one better and write a story about your customer's banana journey, about how much that banana enriched their life. That's what you want a case study to do.
The main function of a case study is to lay out exactly how you helped your client solve their problem. From identifying the problem itself, figuring out a solution, how you applied the solution, and the resulting benefit.
It's a pretty straightforward formula that works like a charm.
But it's just as important to write a compelling story. Because what's better than an actual, relatable success story?
I never played hockey but I sure enjoyed seeing the Mighty Ducks prevail in the end after all their hard work.
One last, very important thing to note is that case studies should only be presented to people in the same niche. If not, they'll just fall on deaf ears.
So you have to make sure the right people are seeing it if you want results.
Think about it, with all the industries and niches around there's so much ground to cover. You can't expect to get everyone, so you have to be very specific about who you're presenting to.
Now that you know why a good case study is so important, let's get into how to write one. You're off to a good start if you understand the concept. But there are a few steps to make sure your case study is as polished as possible.
These are all critical steps to take and keeping them in mind will ensure that your case studies soar. And they're all non-optional, but each adds so much to a case study you wouldn't want to omit them anyway.
Take a minute as you read them to really understand why they're so important and what role they play. Each step plays a crucial role in your case study's effectiveness, and all of them should be taken into account.
First thing's first, and surely you know all about this already...
That's right, you need to figure out who your audience is. To write a solid case study it might be a little easier than usual to identify your target audience.
Since you're writing about a success story, think about your previous and current clients. Who are they and what is it that you've done for them? The answers to these questions should determine who you're writing for.
Say you helped a client boost their engagement by 40%. If that's the story you end up choosing then it would make sense that it would appeal to anyone struggling to reach their engagement goal.
Relatability is truly one of the most important parts of a good case study, so always right with that at the forefront in your mind.
But it can't be stressed enough that a case study should focus on one group. They have to be in the same industry or niche otherwise the information is totally irrelevant to them.
You won't be able to appeal to everyone, but that's fine. You can focus on other groups and other features of your business in other case studies.
Now it's time to pick a client you'd like to write about. The best practice is to determine the client you helped succeed the most. Not just a work in progress that's on a fast track to success.
Ideally, you want to choose your most successful clients. But any of them will do if you want to focus on a certain aspect of your business that you're trying to drive more customers to.
But no need for your case study to encompass everything you do. Because you really run the risk of writing an ineffective case study if you try to focus on too much.
So your best bet is likely to be focusing on one thing you do, then focus on something else in another case study.
Just keep your ideal buyer in mind and figure out what you can do and have done that'll help them the most.
Once you pick a client, the next step is coming up with questions for them. Things like what their problem was, why you were chosen to solve it, and how you ended up helping them.
Make sure to ask people from every department as well. Everyone has a different perspective based on what they had a hand in, and you want to get as much information as possible.
A success story is usually interesting, but that's because it's told that way. It's not like hearing about somebody doing a good job is necessarily exciting to anyone else. So that's why you have to pull the reader into the story.
What you'll need is a clear message, a theme, that you're conveying. This should be prevalent throughout the story itself, which should be compelling.
This means you need to include some conflict, trials, and tribulations. Something that keeps readers interested until the payoff.
But without proper structure, even the most interesting and engaging story can fall flat. So what you'll need is to follow a very basic story structure.
You need something to hook the reader at the beginning. Once you've done that, you should lay out the conflict. What problems does the protagonist face?
Eventually, you'll find yourself at the conclusion or the results of your work. But it needs to be a conclusion you helped bring about, so incorporate your role in the story.
Essentially, it's all about how you helped your client reach their goal.
What really brings this all together is emotion. Without it, the story doesn't stand much of a chance of engaging the reader.
And what you really need is to engage the reader so they fully digest what they're reading and actually care about it.
People choose the path of least resistance. At least most do because it's natural to want things to be easy. The case is no different here.
If your case study isn't clear or it takes too long to get to the point then you definitely lose your reader's attention. Worse than that, you can lose their trust.
So your main goal is going to be to tell them all they need to know. Nothing more, nothing less. Case studies are concise and get to the point right off the bat.
Because of that, it's essential to highlight your results in some way. Putting them in their own box or section, making the text stand out, anything that catches the eye.
In addition, bullet points are great for case studies. They break paragraphs and make it easy for readers to get the gist without even trying.
Readability is the name of the game and anything you can do to streamline your case study will serve you well.
Simple formatting and writing are good, that much is clear. But it's important to remember to use simple words as well. Make it readable for anyone at any skill or experience level.
You want to reach as many people as possible and it can't do that if only experts really understand.
A common mistake in any kind of copywriting, while slightly unrelated, is writing for yourself or your company rather than the reader. It may sound good but there's just no appeal and it's hard to relate.
And you want it to be easy, right?
But the most important thing is to keep it simple. Less is more in case studies and you're not doing yourself any favors by padding and adding fluff.
Your prospect knows what they want and if it takes too long to find it they know they have plenty of other options.
And that simplicity extends to the visual design and layout as well. You're looking for clean fonts, high contrast, and plenty to catch the eye.
It should appeal to someone just glancing at the page, where something will get their attention and they'll digest the information easily.
As case studies are purpose-driven, they should be as to-the-point as possible. The language should be concise and realistic. They're not meant to entertain, but to educate.
The copy should be as specific to the reader as possible, so make it about them.
There are two proven methods for formatting your case study as well. The first and most common goes something like:
And there's a reason it's the most popular format. It's logical and cuts out any unnecessary parts. Quick and to the point is the name of the game with case studies.
The focus should be on facts first, then relating how those facts can be applied to the prospect.
A more refined way to look at it is:
It's pretty straightforward but the details are important. You want your case study to be as specific as possible, and the details should be presented as such.
All data needs to be presented as specific numbers, like percentages down to the decimal.
The second method is a Q&A with your customer that the case study is being written about.
The benefit to this is an appeal to emotion, so it's best to find a client that's in love with your business and what it's done for them.
Both of these methods have their own time and place so use your judgment to decide which is the best fit for you.
In either of these methods, it's ideal to end with a direct quote from your client. Basically, you want a short review at the very end to sum things up nicely.
With an effective case study you can see how reviews work well, but even better with all the supporting facts.
Now you have a solid case study, but it's not enough to just write one and post it. Just like anything, it needs to be promoted somehow. Thankfully there are some simple and effective methods to use.
SEO is a powerful tool anywhere, and case studies are no exception. When you optimize keywords and search terms you vastly improve the reach of your content.
And for someone ready to pull the trigger, finding your case study might just be the final push they need.
Social media is great as well. So make sure to share on any relevant platforms and include options to share within the case study itself. You never know who you might reach when you spread out to so many platforms.
A blog post can also work wonders when linked with a case study. But don't just copy it word for word, write new copy about the case study and its theme. If done correctly, it can generate some more attention.
Make sure to send the case study to peers in and out of your business as well. They may be inclined to share with others and at the very least can use it to generate more sales.
One final note is to link to the case study from your portfolio. You don't want it in your navigation bar.
In any kind of copy, specifics reign king. But that's amplified in case studies. Without details, you basically have a review or a testimonial. Which are great, but not quite enough to get the job done sometimes.
Anybody could write a dreamy, perfect scenario that never happened. What really matters is showcasing a success story that actually did happen.
Without proof of your abilities and your business' viability, your hard work may end up for nothing.
But people will be receptive when you show just what you can do for them. And that can only happen when you take the time to write a great case study. A case study that they can relate to since it actually makes sense for them.
So with everything fresh in your mind take a crack at it. Chances are you'll like the results you see.
Because if you do it right...
You'll end up with more sales.
But if you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, don't panic. You're always welcome to reach out and I'm always more than happy to lend a helping hand.
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High-converting direct-response copy for growing B2B companies and disruptive digital brands.