Write impactful case studies

30th April 2013

Case studies are a great way to prove you can add value. In fact, they’re often the best method you have. After all, showing you’ve delivered value before is more persuasive than explaining your process, your number of offices or the fact you were “founded in 1922”.

However, case studies are rarely as impactful as they could be. Here’s how to make yours better:

# 1 Flip the order. The usual case study format is (1) explain the background (2) explain your approach (3) list the results. But people switch off during communications. So, this order puts your main point (the results) at the end, when they’ve stopped listening. So, start with the results you triggered, and then work backwards.

# 2 Improve your title. Reinforce the results you caused by including the best one in your title. After all, which would you rather read “Case study – X plc” or “How we reduced X plc’s costs by £25million”?

# 3 When writing, have a clear Call To Action. Make it easy for people to get in touch, by giving a person’s name/number to contact, plus the benefit of calling… “To discuss how we can reduce your costs, call Jane Doe on [Jane’s contact details]”. This is much better than (1) no Call To Action or (2) just a generic office number.

# 4 When talking, say “you”. When you’re discussing your case study, add context by linking it to the other person’s key need… “We can help you reduce your costs here. In fact, during my recent work with X plc, we saved them over £25million using techniques we could deploy with you. What happened was…”

It’s important you do all four with your case studies. The reason? People buy if they know you can improve their future. If you’re not careful, your case studies can focus on the exact opposite – your past. How can you make yours more compelling?

Action Point

Two actions this week:

  • If you use case studies, review them in light of the four points above. How can you improve them?
  • If you don’t use them, start doing so! Use the points to help you write them.

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