Marketing Copywriting, Maslen on Marketing

How to write case studies

I spend a lot of time telling you to focus on benefits in your copywriting. And it’s true, benefits make the sale. However, you can bring your benefits to life … dramatise them … with a case study.

Case studies take time and effort to write. But the impact they make on your website, brochure or sales pack repay the effort many times over. Why?

Because your reader, rightly, perceives the case study as the truth.

Here is where you give them disinterested testimony that your product or service works. Best of all, case studies follow many of the rules of storytelling.

You have a protagonist (hero) – your customer. A predicament – the problem or challenge they were facing. A narrative – what you did and why. And a climax – how things turned out.

Five tips for a good case study:

  1. Try to tell it from your customer’s perspective. And use real people, preferably with photos. (Not all clients are happy to give you a mugshot, but always ask.)
  2. Include as many concrete facts as possible. Explain specifically what you did.
  3. Use original photography wherever possible. Library shots detract from the impression you’re trying to create – that this is what happened to a real person or organisation.
  4. Use quotes from your client. You will need to interview them to get the story and a flavour of their world view. This is an ideal opportunity to introduce a different tone of voice within your still-correctly-branded case study.
  5. Ensure that it’s clear how the client benefited from your expertise, product or input. That way you can give your reader a clear idea of how THEY would benefit. (See, I can’t stay away from the B-word for very long.)

And I’m telling you this because?

Whether you’re writing for the web or traditional print media, your reader is increasingly cynical about ‘marketing speak’ and unsubstantiated sales claims [Er, I think you mean ‘boasting’ – Ed.]

Case studies provide a neutral look at how your business makes its customers’ lives easier or more enjoyable. And, with reference to April’s issue of MoM, they are also a wonderful place for a little stealth selling.

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