One of the first things you learn in the world of copywriting, advertising and marketing is: sell the benefits of your product or service, not the features. Features are about the product, benefits are about the customer. For example:
FEATURE: The torch has a brightness level of 150 lumens.
BENEFIT: The torch’s 150-lumen brightness level means you can see up to 120 metres, perfect for walking your dog in the woods on a dark night.
Still, telling your customers about the benefits of your product is only half the battle. Customers want to know that you’re telling the truth, that the benefits actually work. That’s why they read reviews and testimonials.
A case study goes further than a review or testimonial. It brings your benefits to life. It dramatises them. Case studies are stories like any other. There’s a hero (your customer), a predicament (their need or problem), a narrative (what you did to meet the need or solve the problem) and a happy ending (your customer’s life has been enriched etc. etc.)
A testimonial is a short, succinct endorsement. But a case study lets readers see your product in action, visualise its benefits and imagine exactly how it’s going to help them.
So what’s the key to writing compelling case studies capable of subtly influencing your readers to love your brand and buy your product?
- Make your customer or client the centre of the story, rather than your business. Tell the story from their perspective, and allow readers to relate to them and their plight. The story should be about their need, their problem, and how you or your product ‘saved the day’.
- QUOTES! Let your customer speak throughout the case study. Quotes let you relay positive opinions about your product/service without needing to back them up, because they’re coming directly from the customer. As with a press release, quotes give a story a human quality and make it more relatable. And always make sure you attribute quotes correctly, giving the full name of the person and their position in the company.
- Be specific. Include facts and figures and tell your readers exactly what you did to solve the problem. General or wishy-washy description will not help readers understand how your product will benefit them.
- Give it a decent structure. Introduce your customer, explain what their problem was and how you solved it, and conclude by describing the outcome and future implications for your client’s business.
- Be clear about the outcome. This is the “happy ending” part of the case study. Readers want to know how it all turned out, and how your customer felt about it, (so make sure you include a quote). The outcome is perhaps the most important part of the case study because it’s the final impression your reader has of your product. The outcome is what’s going to persuade them to buy.
- Pictures. Try to include images of the customer (not always possible, I know) your customer’s premises and/or the project itself. A selection of images will break up the text and add authenticity to the story.
Do you need help writing case studies? I’ve written case studies for a number of businesses, most notably for service management software company Tesseract. You can read examples of these case studies in my online portfolio. For a free, no-obligation quote, please contact me on 07411 331721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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