How to Write a Lead-Generating Case Study Like a Pro

When it comes to what B2B marketers view as the most effective marketing materials – case studies and whitepapers are almost always near the top of the list.

These published success stories demonstrate and promote the possibilities of your product/service to your prospects. And they double as bona fide testimonials that prove your worth instead of just a bunch of flowery BS.

But with so many companies putting out case studies, what separates the truly effective from the truly horrific?

There are a few steps to keep in mind when creating one for your business, and we are going to go over some key pointers below that will start convincing and converting your website traffic into hotter leads.

Outline

Tell them a story.

Throughout human history, we have been hungry for compelling stories. From cavemen grunting and acting out how they killed that night’s dinner to a modern-day comedian spinning a yarn about a recent night-shift visit to Wal-Mart, if a story is being told, someone is willing to listen.

So to keep your case study from boring your prospects into running away from your site, draw them in with some narrative to go with the impressive numbers and results you are sharing.

courtesy of flickr

courtesy of flickr

Here are some narrative bullet points to keep in mind:

  • Introduce your protagonist.
  • Explain their problem or obstacle.
  • Describe their original attempt and failure at solving this issue.
  • Detail the odds they overcame and how the solution aided the protagonist in exceeding their goals.
  • Let them explain the success of the campaign in their own words.

Keep the spotlight on the customer

This corresponds with the narrative points outlined above. But you must keep the focus of the study on the issues and SUCCESS of the customer. Don’t put all the spotlight on the greatness of your product.

Your solution armed your client with the opportunity for success. But for the case study keep your audience’s focus on the success of your client.

Also, explain why the customer was originally looking for a new solution and how/why they decided to go with yours. Let the reader connect their struggles with what your client was up against.

Pitch your solution and implementation

This is your big chance in the case study to sing the praises of what you do. Let your audience know how bad ass your solution can be without toning it down.

You should be enthusiastic and promotional in this section.  Nothing to fear, because you’re going to back up your claims in your next section.

Share the mind-blowing results

Go into the story of how your solution solved the customer’s problem with some narrative and load this section with all of the specifics of your client’s success.

Give the readers all the numbers you can – sales growth, ROI, revenue, company growth, etc. Your audience will be convinced only if they can see the hard numbers of what they can expect from going with your service. Many readers will jump straight to the section of what they can expect to get from your business.

Don’t forget to include the client’s testimonial and photograph, so your audience can further relate and trust the results of their campaign.

Format

Catch the skimmers

As the person writing this, it seems absolutely crazy to think that there are people out there who won’t read every single word in this post. Right?

But sadly, those are the facts. The Nielsen Norman Group released some research that found online users read – at most – 28% of the words on a web page with 20% being more likely. And that same research found that scanning was extremely common for higher-literacy users.

The majority of people actually making the decisions at the companies you are targeting will likely not read all of your content, so you’ll need to cater to them. Catch the attention of those looking for the highlights of what you are really saying.

You may have seen these skimmer-friendly suggestions a million times before, but I’m hoping the millionth and first time will get you to actually use them.

  • Headlines
  • Subheads
  • Pull quotes
  • Infographics (a couple free sites that I recommend you create these in: Easel.ly and Infogr.am)

Make readers stop scrolling and say, “Wow! Where do I sign-up???”

Yea, that subhead is a little sensational. But if you stopped to read this section it worked, right?

A couple pointers to keep in mind when crafting effective headlines:

  • Make it unique and overly specific.
  • Make it useful to your customer.
  • Make it urgent.
  • Tell the truth – back up your claims because no one enjoys reading copy completely unrelated to a misleading title.

Grow Your Business

There are a number of ways to go about capturing leads from those who have read your case study. But I’ll go over a couple that have been working well for us.

a. Have prospects opt-in with their email address for the full study. This process will lose you some potential readers by adding a barrier to entry. But you’ll be able to start an email marketing campaign and score these leads much higher since they have demonstrated interest in your services.

b. Advertise your product/services with the readily available study. At the end of your study, include a section with a special offer only available to those who click that link. Or just make an offer to set-up a phone call if this sounds like it makes sense for the reader’s business. Check out Leadboxes for help creating opt-in boxes.

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So, now you have a few tips to keep in mind when creating a case study for your business that will start convincing and converting your website traffic into hotter leads.

Now I want to hear from you:

What tips and tricks do you have for writing case studies?

One Responseso far.

  1. Jordan says:

    I have never tried a full on infographic before, but I always use charts and graphs to represent the data, otherwise they would be too boring! As for tips… I am a big fan of super specific headlines with a $$ amount in them. “How a client saved $536,950 by ……….”

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