A Great Case Study Makes Love Happen
Love at First Sight
Yes, I confess, I’m what you might call a strategic romantic. I’ve made it my business to study the chemistry of “love at first sight”.
A compelling endorsement
Don’t get me wrong. Of course I want to get my hands on the client’s wallet. I’m in business aren’t I? But tell me a better way of doing that than by buying shares in his love. And that’s what case studies are all about. Next to word of mouth, I can’t think of a more compelling endorsement of your business than a great, well-written case study.
What is a Case Study?
In case you’re wondering, a case study is a story that tells of how a client comes to you with an identified ‘pain’ in their business process; you diagnose the symptoms and action a solution; the results are stunning. Nothing less.
Why would you use a Case Study?
More to the point, why wouldn’t you? What business doesn’t want people to fall in love with who they are? I mean, I read a great case study and think: “Wow ! That’s impressive. I want some of that.” But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself. If you haven’t got the patience to wait for another 15 seconds, jump down the page and look at the example below, and see if old Cupid hits the mark for you.
Where would you use a Case Study?
I visit twenty, thirty websites a day, and I when I say ‘visit’, I actually mean ‘scrutinise’: Is the design intelligent? Does it grab me, or leave me cold? Does the copy articulate a clear sales proposition? Is it engaging? And so on. What I’ve noticed is that while 98% of sites use testimonials, case studies are like hen’s teeth. Don’t ask me why, but they are. What does that mean? It means the door’s still wide open. Put a couple of case studies on your website and watch the phones run hot. Well, hotter than they’ve been running.
The anatomy of a case study
Easier said than done, you’re thinking. I’m no copywriter. Big deal. Not a problem. The formula for an effective case study is as simple as this (just follow the prompts):
- Give a brief background on the client.
- What was the client’s ‘pain’?
- How did you diagnose the problem?
- What solution did you come up with?
- How was the solution put into action?
- What were the results?
Follow these steps and you can’t go wrong.
Just make like a Pro
But showing is always better than telling. So, let’s look at how a Pro does it.
Peter Bowerman has made serious bucks out of copywriting. His www.wellfedwriter.com/blog was judged the Best Freelance Writer’s blog in 2010. The following case study appeared in a newsletter he wrote for UPS (United Postal Service):
It’s late morning. One of your best customers calls – frantic. A key machine on his 24-hour production line just threw a part. With no spares on-site, he’s dead in the water. Overnight me a replacement, he says. I can do even better than that, you reply. Thanks to UPS “next-flight-out” Sonic Air service, the part’s on its way within an hour, and by mid-afternoon, it’s been installed. Production is restored at 4:00 P.M., not 10:00 A.M. tomorrow, saving hundreds of thousands of dollars. Think he’ll remember you the next time the competition comes to call?
Love, not money
As if he wouldn’t. More to the point, not only will he remember you, he’ll tell everyone in his network about the new love of his life. Suddenly UPS will have an extra team of salesmen working for them for love, not money. That’s what a great case study will do, breed salesmen.
Story disables defenses
The key to all this is story. Bowerman succeeds in selling us on UPS’ “next-flight-out” Sonic Air service precisely because he makes it seem like he’s not trying to sell us anything at all, just tell a great little story. Imagine if he’d presented the service via a more conventional, straight sales pitch. Our defense mechanisms would have been on red alert, resisting him every inch of the way. We don’t trust salesmen. Salesmen just want to get their hands into our back pockets. Storytellers, however, they’re cool guys. They give us stuff we love.
Over to You
There it is. Your new vocation is to become a storyteller, of the case study variety. Think of a couple of clients you’ve helped, and the amazing benefit your business has been to them. Then, following our 6-step formula, tell the story in a simple but descriptive way. Now you’ve got a case study ready to go up on your website and charm the socks off your love-struck prospects.
Of course, if you run into any problems along the way, just jump on the phone to Storyfox copywriting. I’ve been writing case studies for a big part of my life. And you’re sure to be safe with me, coz I’m one of those storytelling dudes, just giving it away with both hands. I wouldn’t even know what a back-pocket is.