Unless your case studies show your potential clients that you’re capable of solving their problem, they are nothing but wasted space on your website.
Your website’s copy certainly helps — but case studies provide an extra layer of credibility. Interested prospects, B2B decision makers, do their due-diligence by reading your case studies.
Love them or hate them, case studies make up some of your most important marketing materials as a consultant.
Our portfolios are our best tools of inspiration. They show the client what could be. They show him what others have done. Our examples of our best work paint the picture of the beautiful world on the other side of his pain. Inspiration is the primary role of our website, our brochure, our sales collateral and our in-person portfolio review. It need not even be our own work that we show here to inspire the interested, just inspirational outcomes.
-Blair Enns, A Win Without Pitching Manifesto
Portfolio, case studies, whatever you want to call them — they have a central role in helping you win new work.
By the end of this article, you will…
- Know how to turn your past case studies into top-lead generating pages on your website
- Have a repeatable framework for writing your all of your case studies to attract new clients
- Learn how to tell stories through your case studies that make your prospects want to work with you
Winning New Clients Through Your Case Studies
Charlie Munger on attracting clients:
“It’s the work on your desk…It’s the work on your desk. Do well with what you have and more will come in.”
Your current and previous work are powerful ways to win new work. Your website is the perfect place to show use case studies to generate new leads.
Your base studies page, the page that hosts your various case studies, is not complicated. Your goal with this page is to get your prospect to click on one of the case studies.
Use attention-grabbing, relevant imagery, and an enticing headline to persuade your prospects to click on and read.
It may be also worth writing a headline focused on the primary benefit or problem you solved in the case study. This would help intrigue your prospects into reading on.
Your case study “pages” — where you write each individual case study — is where you’ll focus to create engaging material that helps you win new clients.
For each case study you’re going to use a framework that follows these guidelines:
1. The Brief
The brief is where you explain the situation that your client was in before working with you. This is your opportunity to explain the problem that your client faced.
If you bring up a problem that your potential client is facing, then this will grab their attention and they have a much higher chance of reading the entire article.
Because you understand your target audience, you know some of the problems they face in their business. This should make up the majority of your brief.
2. My Approach
If there’s any other page on your website where you get to talk about your process, it’s right here.
When they’re reading your case studies and the section where you talk about how to solve the problem, they’re interested. Chances are, they’re willing to give you more than 30 seconds to read some more into your expertise through your processes.
In 250-500 words, outline the main points of your process. Talk about how you solved the problem using your expertise.
3. The Result
The result is where you explain the business outcomes you helped your client achieve.
Use relevant numbers. Tie your solution back to the brief, showing you solved the problem. Talk about the difference your unique expertise made in their business.
In doing so, you’ll provide the “good ending.” And you’ll have painted a picture for your potential client how life can look like after working with you.;
And this is the perfect place to show your client’s face, their testimonial, and a link to their website to facilitate their success.
You can name these sections The Brief – My (Or Our) Approach – The Result, but even better if you can give them appropriate headlines. Grab their attention.
(You can see this in action at ConsultantWebsiteTemplate.com/Case-Studies)
Best Consultant Case Study Pages
Although a few of these examples are in industries outside of consulting, these are prime examples of case studies that will help win you work.
Notice that patterns throughout these fantastic case study pages.
The Ethercycle “Work” is the first menu tab on the website — and for good reason. Their case studies are top notch.
On the “Work” page itself, you see an attractive image, compelling headline, and a “call-to-action”. Not all these are case studies and not all they need to be. These call to actions range from listening to the podcast and viewing their websites. Their most powerful project have case studies available.
On their individual case study pages, you’ll notice a pattern. Despite making attractive looking websites for these businesses, the case study is focused on business outcomes. The case study makes specific reference to increases in sales, ROI, and revenue growth. These are exactly what all their potential clients will care about.
Matt’s “Work” is framed with his primary benefit: Stories of how my best work helped business grow.
Stories — he’s using his previous work to tell stories.
Best work — he’s only writing case studies for his best, most marketable work.
Helping businesses grow — that’s what he does, and that’s how he’s going to win potential clients; by showing them how his work can help their business grow.
On the individual case study pages, Matt features a lot of images, headlines, and text. He tells a story through his project, writing out the benefits of his work in each paragraph.
By the end of the case study, the potential client knows the problem Matt solved, how he solved it, and what he’s been able to create for his client.
Hinge’s “Growth Stories” names their case studies using a powerful word: growth. All their services (branding, copywriting, marketing) are tools to help their clients grow.
The case stories page is simple, attractive, and compelling.
On the case studies themselves, they get straight to the point — testimonials and results. They feature a powerful testimonial from their CEO as well as the results they’ve achieved for their clients.
These simple case studies do a great job of painting a picture of how working with the firm can help their business.
Do’s and Dont’s
DO: Use testimonials on your case study page.
What better way is there to cap-off a case study than with a picture of your client you worked with, and the testimonial they’ve given you as a result of your work on the project?
Forget about a “testimonials” page — use your testimonials liberally throughout your case studies. Back up your case studies with evidence from your clients.
If you have video case studies, even better. Put them on each of your case studies.
DON’T: Dive too deep into your method and process.
On one of the main of the errors consultants make with their case studies (and website in general):
Being in love with your methodologies instead of focusing on showcasing how you help improve your clients’ condition. Not realizing that your site is not about you but about your clients.
-Chad Barr & Alan Weiss, Million Dollar Web Presence
Of course, your case studies page is where you can dive into your methodology and process, as it’s a central part of the case study…
…but if it makes up the bulk of your case study as opposed to the problem you solved and the business outcome you provided, it won’t be effective.
Give a brief outline of your methodology and process, but focus more on the story you’re trying to tell. Highlight the business outcomes, not your process.
Next Steps: Publishing Your First Case Study
If you haven’t written any case studies for your website, or your current case studies could use some work, refer back to this post and write or re-write one case study.
Take your most successful project and run it through this framework. In 750-1000 words, take your potential client through the brief, your approach, and the results.
You don’t need to turn every single successful project into a case study. But if you have 3-6 case studies that follow this format, these case studies will not only demonstrate your expertise — but market your business for you. They will serve as some of your best marketing material on your website.
And remember — when writing these case studies, reach out to the client’s you worked with. Make sure you use the words they use when describing their problem and how much better their business was after working with you. This will ensure the copy in your case studies resonates with your potential client who’s reading them.
Getting them to share it with their network will bring prospects to your website.