How to Write a High-Converting Case Study %!s(MISSING)

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The majority of content marketers are concerned with traffic. They create more content for more keywords in the hopes of increasing sales, and the competition is fierce. There are only so many spots on Google’s front page, right?

As a result, smart marketers are looking for ways to get more from their existing traffic. How to keep them engaged, convert more, and interact faster—anything that will help them gain an advantage over their competition.

What can you do to gain an advantage? Consider story studies.

They are intended to help you not only write case studies that convert sales and close clients, but also to drive more traffic to your website. Using this method, I was able to generate $3 million in client requests from a single post. To get you started, I’ll walk you through the method below, demonstrate how we use it in our own company, and then break down each step so you can write one for yourself.

What exactly are story studies, and how do they work?

Story studies can be used to convert readers into buyers.This is how they work: You begin with a typical case-study result obtained for a client or customer. Then you include a narrative as well as actionable advice. You take the reader on a journey through the process and problems as seen through the client’s eyes.

You begin with the problem, the issues it caused the client, the struggles they had to overcome, the emotions they felt, and the process they used to achieve their results. You break it all down and explain 99% of the steps they took.

This method is effective for several reasons:

It addresses the four possible reasons you might be losing a specific customer.If someone does not accept your offer, it is usually due to one (or more) of four factors. They either need to be reminded, are skeptical and require more proof, do not trust you or that it will work for them, or they procrastinate and abandon it. However, because of the structure of the story study, it provides a solution for each reason you may be losing that customer.

It generates traffic and backlinks.You add value to the content by showing the entire process of how the client obtained the result. It becomes a resource that people link to and share, resulting in increased organic traffic and rankings. Even better, because they can see the analytical evidence, it helps to convert skeptics.Because it is emotional, it connects with the audience.Copywriters have known this for years, but the more an audience feels, the more likely they are to respond to a call to action. Case studies are short and feel all about the service provider, whereas story studies feel all about the reader and their problems.

And that’s what your audience cares about. Not about you and your offer, but themselves and their problems. The better you can help them connect the dots, the easier it is to make the sale. In fact, in a recent quote by Michael Brenner, former CMO of Nielsen, he states that:

The biggest mistake that brands make today is making it all about themselves… you have to make the customer the hero of the story. The elements of any good story are a hero and a villain – the customer and their problem. You should spend 90% of your time letting your audience know that you feel their pain.

How In 14 days, I used story studies to generate $3 million in client requests.

I used to run a small ad agency that specialized in paid traffic a few years ago. Rather than putting all of my eggs in one basket, I wanted to investigate the implementation of content marketing for our company. I reasoned that if it worked well, we’d get traffic, and worst-case scenario, it’d help convert more customers.

Why? One of my major issues was that we would have a lot of back-and-forth conversations with clients, explaining what we do, how we do it, and so on, before we would make the sale. So I came up with the idea of writing a case study with a twist. I would not only share the campaign’s results, but I would also write about how we arrived at those results. Better yet, I would frame it from the client’s perspective so that it would resonate with the audience.

The outcomes were bizarre. Within two weeks, it had been read 50,000 times and resulted in 300+ client requests. Not only that, but it was voted one of the “Top 10” marketing articles of all time on inbound.org and continues to generate client requests to this day.

The story study not only pre-sold our audience, but it also made the process much faster and more automated. Someone would read the article and then contact us to collaborate. So there will be no more back-and-forth emails.

Since then, I’ve used this method for other case studies with amazing results. This case study on paid content promotion, for example, has over 100 linking domains, which helps to drive traffic and rankings. Doesn’t seem like much, does it? However, Backlinko discovered that 94% of articles have less than one backlink in a recent study of 912 million articles.

Ready to try this out? Here are the six steps to follow.

Step #1: Interview the client

The story study takes the reader on an emotional journey. They connect with the hero of the story, their problems, their struggles, and the path that they took to get the result. Because of this, you need to know more about your client and their background.

You need to ask them the following questions:

  • What was your end goal?
  • What was the problem that was stopping you from getting there?
  • How did that make you feel?
  • Had you tried to deal with this problem before?
  • When did you realize that this was a problem?
  • What happened to make you want to fix it?
  • Looking back, what was your biggest struggle with solving it?
  • Where there any particular challenges or frustrations?
  • Did you have any doubts or worries about solving this problem?
  • Now that you’ve solved this issue, how do you feel it tied into your end goal?
  • How did you know you had succeeded?
  • What are your results now?
  • How do you feel now?
  • How has your life changed?
  • What would you tell people just like you who are still struggling with this problem?

Each of these questions will help you find the information you need to make sure that your content resonates with you readers. I highly recommend that you interview them over Skype, so you can record the conversation. This will help you to not only remember the clients answers, but to also see the language that they use to describe their issues. Copywriters call this ‘mirror language’.

Why should you care? Because explaining the audience’s problems in their own words, helps them feel like you have the best product or offer for them.

Step #2: The headline

Case studies are all about results and solutions. They need to connect with the reader and their issues right now. So a good headline is:

‘How to get X results in Y time, while avoiding Z problem/objection’

This speaks to your audience and stands out. If they have that problem or want to achieve that goal, you now have their attention.

Step #3: The introduction

The introduction follows a standard B.A.B sequence:

Before – The reader describes their problem in their own language.

After – What do they want to achieve?

Bridge – How the results were accomplished, how that ties into the reader’s goal, in a certain time frame.

capturing more emails

This is short and to the point. It helps the reader know that this article is relevant to them, and it hooks them in. So, they keep reading.

Step #4: Emotion, proof, and context stacking

Humans work off a system of stimulus and response:

  • We enjoy something, and we want more of it.
  • We feel pain, and we want to remove it.

The goal of your case study is to get your reader to do something. They should read it and then want to take action. So, how do we do this? Well, in story writing, they build tension. They develop the character and the world, so you care about the end result.
We do something similar. Our goal is to stack the problem, then stack the desire for the result, all while ‘setting the scene.’ We want them to feel so emotionally invested that they want to keep reading and then act on your call to action.

It looks like this:

  • Introduce the hero of the story:
chapman retargeting
  • Set the scene, share the hero’s situation at the start of their journey, and stack their unique problems that tie into the overall issue.
  • The incident that caused them to take action:
case study set the experience
  • Share the results, how it was solved, and any additional benefits:
case study results

By doing this, the reader is invested and they feel that connection. Not just for the hero of the story, but they also see themselves in it. By this point, they want that same transformation.

Step #5: The ‘how-to’ steps

The how-to section makes up around 80% of the article. You break down the entire process into fine detail, step-by-step. Each step looks like this:

  • What you’re doing.
  • Why you’re doing it.
  • How to do it.
  • Transition to the next step.

You follow that pattern for each step that your hero took to get the result. Go into detail about each thing that they need to do. Not only that, add images for context and to remove any ambiguity or ‘what-if’ questions that might stop your reader from taking action.

recording video walk-through

This will help convert those skeptics and worriers They see how it’s done and why it works. This not only builds trust and sales, but it actually shortens the amount of interaction that you need with them. They know what they’re getting and how it works. Now, they just want to buy.

Step #6: The call to action

This is quite possibly the most important part of your entire guide. You always need a call to action. If you want them to buy from you, to book a call, to set up a meeting, or anything at all, then you need to ask them to do it. It’s as simple as:

  • Recap the end goal, the pain caused by the problem, and where they want to be at the end of the process.
  • Ask them to take the action.
  • Show them how to take the action.
case studies what you need to know

Easy right?

Now, it’s your turn

Story studies might seem overwhelming, but they do get easier. All you’re really doing is adding a narrative, some plot points, and some actionable advice. You simply follow this structure, answer those questions, and you have all you need to write one for your own business or even a client.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and write your own story study now, and before long you’ll see more sales, backlinks, and traffic.

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