How to write an effective case study

Andrew Neitlich

Thanks to the reader who asked for this topic.

Case studies are a great way to tell your story to prospects and clients in a way that concretely shows your value and results. Here is what every case study should have:

1. Start with a compelling, results-driven headline. Avoid: “Website redesign for bowling alley.” Instead go for: “Bowling alley generates 50% increase in new bowlers with web site we designed”

2. Your first paragraph should focus on a summary of the case, focusing on a one-sentence description of the problem, and then how you solved the problem.

3. Define the problem in more detail.

4. Define your solution. Avoid technical jargon. For Web Designers, a before and after — along with your logic — works well.

5. Define the results. Here it is best to have the client provide a quote testifying to the results. That increases your credibility 100%.

6. Have a side bar that summarizes the case (the way magazines have boxes with large text and summaries for readers who just want to skim).

7. Provide facts and figures — especially about saving or making more money.

8. Speak in their language not yours. Unless your prospects are technical in nature, don’t get into Cold Fusion, Active Content, etc. Instead, get into how they can now update their site whenever they want, saving thousands in costs….

9. Break up your text with compelling sub-heads. Again, don’t write: “The Problem.” Try something more interesting, like: “How do you get bowlers to visit a website?”

What else?