The 7 questions you need to ask to write an effective case study

Case studies are one of the most powerful things you can add to your site to really get prospects motivated to work with you. But few people utilize them. Even fewer have good ones, because writing good case studies can be hard.

I did say ‘write,’ and while written case studies are good, I think a video testimonial from a happy client is infinitely more powerful than a written case study.

When you see a video of a happy client you get to see the emotion and make a better connection. This extra emotional connection means prospects are more likely to trust you. With more trust from a prospect, it’s much more likely that they’ll be willing to make a purchase from you.

Case studies and testimonials don’t have to be hard though. Let me get you started by offering the seven questions you need to ask your client to get the information you need for an effective case study.

You can jump to the end to see a video call I did with a recent client to see the question in action.

1. What fears did you have before we started the project?

You’re fooling yourself if you think a client isn’t worried about the service they’re going to get when they come to you. So many prospects have been burned by previous contractors who took their money, did a bit of work and ran.

Maybe it wasn’t that bad, but the project was months behind.

Whatever the fear is, we start with it because showing there were fears and talking about how you made the client feel comfortable in the midst of the fears is powerful.

2. What challenges did you face as you looked for a service provider?

Next up is more about the problems with finding someone to work with. A recent client of mine shared how most of the people she talked to spoke like nerds, and she had no idea what they were talking about.

It’s 100% likely that your prospects are also encountering challenges as they look to hire someone for their project. They’re pretty likely to be the same challenges, so call them out, because in a second you’re going to get your happy client to tell your prospects how you overcame those fears and challenges.

This was based off my book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche. Get it now, to learn how to put case studies to work for you in your business.

3. How did our firm address those fears and challenges?

Now your client gets to brag on you a bit as they talk about how you addressed the challenges. This is exactly what your prospects want to hear as they look for a service provider.

They’re going to hear that the fears they have were addressed by you. Your prospects are going to see that if they work with you they are in good hands, because you dealt with the fears and challenges of a past client.

4. How did you feel the bumpy patches of the project were handled?

Bumpy patches happen in a project, so just get it out there. It’s not the fact that a bumpy patch happened that’s a problem, it’s how you deal with it that shows what type of business you run.

In a recent case study, my client talked a bunch about how she never felt like she was alone in dealing with any problems. She had me to make sure it got taken care of.

When your prospects hear that you handled the rough patches well, they’re going to trust you even more. They’re going to feel confident they aren’t in it on their own like they were with previous freelancers.

5. Which parts of the project went better than expected?

Now your prospect gets to brag on you a bit more and describe the awesome parts of the project. This is where prospects start to see themselves having an awesome project with you.

Don’t be afraid of this question, even if they don’t have anything. Ask the question, and edit it out later if necessary. This is where I always got most afraid when I started these interviews, but that’s just imposter syndrome rearing its head. You’re talking to a happy client, so something went well or they wouldn’t be that happy client.

6. How did working together help you increase revenue (or save time)?

Now it’s time to get practical. How did your work help your prospect’s business be more awesome? How did it bring value to their bottom line? All prospects want to see practical positive benefit so they know they’re not throwing their money away on a pipe dream.

The biggest problem here is that if you didn’t start by making sure there was value at the beginning of the project, they may have no idea if there was any return on investment. Make sure you only do projects with a clear ROI for your clients.

7. Why would you recommend us to a colleague?

Many people here ask “Would you recommend working with us…” and the problem is that all the client can say is ‘yes’. They’ve answered the question and you have almost nothing of value for a case study or testimonial.

That’s why we ask “WHY would you…”. Now they come up with more reasons that you are awesome. By using WHY you get told that you made your client always feel like they were in good hands. They get to really brag on you and your services.

From now on, at the end of every project, ask the client if you can do a video testimonial with them. They may say no, that they don’t want to be on video. That’s totally okay. Still ask them if you can have the conversation and let them know you won’t publish it for anyone else, you’ll just talk and get feedback on your business.

Most clients are going to be happy to give you a video testimonial though. Use them and display them proudly on your site.

Here is a recent video I did with my awesome client name Sarah where I worked through the questions above.

This was based off my book Finding and Marketing to Your Niche. Get it now, to learn how to put case studies to work for you in your business.

photo credit: toomuchdew cc

%d bloggers like this: