Tips for writing impactful case studies

June 7, 2018

Case studies are your secret sauce.

Your website copy may be sparkling, your imagery on point, your video slick, but it’s only half the story. Short testimonials or longer case studies from clients who have experienced your service first-hand are what bring it to life. They prove what you say you do works, and that you can be trusted.

This is especially important when your service is financial planning because, as you know, the benefits are intangible and based on emotion. So even if you manged to convey ‘peace of mind’, ‘relief’ and ‘control’ in an authentic way elsewhere, it’s still just you doing the talking. However, coupled with a well crafted case study, that message is suddenly much more believable.

But they have to be handled carefully

To get the most out of your case studies, they need to be strategic. They need to confirm the claims you’ve already made, cover any final objections your clients may have about trusting you with their hard-earned money, be interesting, and sound genuine.

This may sound like a tall order, but this framework might help:

  • Problem – What the reason they came to see you?
  • Insight – What did you do for them?
  • Solution – How do they feel now?

So a testimonial such as:

“The friendliness and expertise we receive from Bert makes any contact a pleasant experience.”

Is a missed opportunity. It’s bland, passive, and the sort of thing you expect to read. A much more powerful one is:

“I hated my job but wasn’t sure when I could stop working. Bert looked at my finances and realised I could retire two years early.”

Go Bert!

And the reason? This quote is showing a transformation.

There was a problem and Bert solved it. Who doesn’t want to read about how you changed someone’s life? Especially if you feel this person is like you.

What’s great about testimonials like this is that your reader has become so engaged they haven’t realised they’re being sold to. The story is about the client, yes, but it’s Bert who comes out smelling of roses here (and the one who’s going to be cashing in).

But this kind of case study isn’t going to come from copying and pasting feedback from Vouched For.

Really punchy case studies come from choosing the right people and asking the right questions. Getting clients to open up isn’t easy, but if you’re looking for specific responses rather than one-word answers, you have to roll your sleeves up and get in there, Kate Adie style. A good place to start is:

  1. Choose the right people – a good mix who can show the breadth of services you provide, the age range and life stages you serve.
  2. Ask the right questions – getting people to talk about specifics will make it sound real.
  3. Listen for the juicy soundbites – these are going to be what hooks your reader in
  4. Edit for waffle – we’re looking for substance and interest, not something bland and glossy

Rather than relying on Vouched For soundbites – where the most recent one might be August 2016 – you now have a strong set of up-to-date stories that you use in a number of ways. Which brings me to my final point.

Where you put them is almost as important as what’s in them

They’re not just for your home page – a quote added to your ‘Contact’ page for example works to dispel any last-minute hesitations your white-hot prospect might have about hitting that ‘submit’ button. Then there are presentations, brochures, pop-up stands – anywhere your prospect is.

And if you’re really serious about this, you could of course get your client to say these great things on camera. But that’s a slightly different kettle of fish.

So what are your case studies like? Thick and tasty, or watery and insipid?

If you don’t have time for all that Kate Adie, I can do it for you.

I don’t have a case study about how good I am at case studies, but I know the questions to ask, how to handle people sensitively, and the information needed to complete your story. (And I used to be a journalist.)

Even if you had time, you might not be the right people to talk to your client anyway because you may be too close to them to get to the emotional juicy bits. They’re more likely to open up to someone who is acting on your behalf – in a professional and sensitive way. My clients are often very moved by reading about what their clients have to say about them – you might be intrigued to know what they’d say about you.

Website for KFAWhy not take a look at some of example case studies on my latest website, brand and video project for Kennedy Financial? And if you like what you see, why not give me a ring?

Especially if your name is Bert..!


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June 7, 2018

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