How to Create a Case Study that Sells

Case StudiesA client asked me to review a bunch of case studies he’d written and give some pointers. They were written well. The grammar and the language were good. But there was a problem. The case studies were not written to be read.

I know that sounds outrageous, and obviously my client intended that prospects would read his case studies, but they just weren’t engaging. They made my eyes glaze over. And, sadly, this is fairly common.

My client used a standard format: problem, solution, results. It’s a nice outline but it’s not enough. So here’s what to do to make sure your case studies don’t fall into the “snore and bore” category.

Write a Story, Not a Study

To get you thinking out of the box, let’s start right at the beginning and re-name them “Success Stories.” I don’t know about you but I read stories for fun. And that’s the approach you need to take when you write what we used to call ‘case studies.’

Reading a story not a case studyYour story is about how someone conquered the obstacles and achieved success. It’s powerful and memorable. Your prospects read it because it’s engaging, but at the same time it persuades them and compels them to take action-– to give you their contact information or to buy now.

A Headline that Intrigues

Your headline has to work hard. You’ll probably be using it on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more. You want people to click through and read your case study. So raise questions, create curiosity, or offer a promise. For example:

  • “How we changed our Landing Page to Increase Conversion by 269%.”
  • “6 Steps that Moved ‘World Travel Guide’ from the 33rd to 1st Spot in Search Engine Results.”
  • “Social Media Doesn’t Work to Build a Home Care Business—and Why this Isn’t True.”

Open Your Case Study with a Bang

What makes a good story? An engaging story starts with a powerful opening that captivates. Immediately.

Why is this so important? Because the reader makes a split-second decision whether or not to continue reading. And sometimes it’s not even a decision. A boss interrupts with their tangent of the day, the phone rings, a meeting reminder pops up on Outlook, or someone yells that there are bagels in the break room. Are your readers going to come back to your story after the interruption?

So what does a powerful opening include? Feelings, conflict and unanswered questions. Reveal the pain that comes from the problem to be solved. Tell your reader about the characters involved. Create suspense. How are they going to get out of this sticky situation? Let the momentum move you through the story.

What was your Breakthrough?

Now your reader is anxiously waiting to hear about your unique approach to the problem. Describe your creative brainstorm, and the people, products and services that turned it into a success.

Trumpet Your Results

It’s not time to be shy. You had some astonishing results–if not, you might want to pick another story. So let the reader know the details. For increased credibility and persuasiveness use specific statistics. For example, “we saved $33,267” or “we increased conversion by 73%.”

Add a Testimonial

Add a heaping spoonful of credibility with a testimonial from the client you were working for. It goes a long way to building trust.

Copywriting—Do it Right

if you’re doing the copywriting yourself, make it as easy as possible. First, interview all the key players. Then get the story down on paper as quickly as possible. Don’t judge your copywriting as you write because it’ll take twice as long.

Edit, Edit, Edit

Cut the fat – excess words. Use tangible words. Prune the flowery adjectives.  Break up long paragraphs into smaller chunks – tasty bites for web scanners.  Add a few subheads as signposts to guide readers through the story. Look for long words, then go to the Thesaurus and find short ones that say the same thing. Eliminate passive language. Keep the story moving with action.

Remember, every word and every line has to NAIL your readers’ attention. The phone’s ringing, emails are invading their computer, their stomach is growling and there’s a pesky colleague is at the door. You’re FIGHTING for attention. Go ahead and grab it, and add case studies to you marketing mix to boost your leads and sales.

If you need help to write case studies that sell, call Carolyn Frith Marketing now at 610-340-0622 for your free 30-minute, no-obligation consultation or email


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