One of my all-time favorite weekend or evening activities is to grab a good book, curl up on the couch, and completely lose myself in a story. If the story is written well, I feel the character’s emotions and get completely drawn into their world. I’m sad when I turn the last page, like I’m saying goodbye to some good friends.
Whether you love to read or not, we all get drawn into stories whether they’re full length novels or brief anecdotes our friends tell us.
It’s human nature to communicate and connect through story.
We relate as we hear of someone’s struggle to overcome a difficulty whether that challenge is as minor as their dramatic retelling of the chaotic morning they’ve had or as major as a life-altering event like the death of a beloved family member.
You can use humans’ love of story as you highlight the work that you do with clients.
If you’ve got a service based business where you are solving a problem for a client, I encourage you to take advantage of the power of storytelling and write up your client’s journey as a case study.
What is a client case study?
Definitions can get pretty technical, but for our purposes, a case study is a brief analysis of a project/work that you completed with a client.
You tell the story of your work together in order to show a real life example of how you were able to actually do what you say that you can do. They add credibility and build trust.
That’s it. Easy peasy.
All of the links on my Portfolio page link to case studies on my blog. In the case studies, I tell my client’s stories, and I follow a pretty typical structure as I do it. And, according to my Google Analytics the case studies on my site aren’t the most often read posts, but they all consistently get traffic.
Client Case Study Structure
You may have heard of the hero’s journey. It’s a classic storyline. If you’re not familiar with it, it goes like this.
Our not-yet-hero (aka your client) has some sort of problem and gets motivated to solve it. When she makes the decision to go forward on her journey, she’s accepted the call and her adventure begins.
Soon, she finds a mentor who gives her advice and tools to navigate through the difficult journey ahead. (That’s YOU, the mentor).
As she travels her rocky road, she faces challenges which she overcomes (because of YOUR help).
Finally, she slays her metaphorical dragon, achieves success, and returns to her former world a changed person. She’s become a hero.
To write up a client case study, follow this same format.
First, introduce your client. What does she do? Why did she come to you? What was her problem that was so painful/frustrating that she sought out your expertise?
Next, explain a bit about the process you use to help her. But remember, it’s her story. How did you guide her through her challenges? How did you support her in helping her achieve her goals?
Finally, share her victory, which is also your victory. How did she feel when she finally solved her problem? What wins did she have?
This is also a great place to share a longer testimonial from you clients.
End it with a call to action. If somebody has just read your case study, related to your client (our hero), and thinks you can solve their woes, then be sure to add a link to your contact page or some instructions on how they can get in touch, whether it’s through email or a consult call.
Who can use the client case study format?
Case studies are great for any business that provides a service.
- Are you a copywriter who’s helped a client tell their story?
- Do you design or develop websites for technically challenged peeps?
- Do you do SEO and get your clients found online?
- Are you a social media maven who gets great results with FB Ads?
- Do you shift people’s mindsets around money, so they increase their earnings?
- Are you a coach or consultant who helps clients decide on new careers? Navigate life changes? Become more productive? Run faster? Sleep better?
You get the idea – this format would work for 95% of coaches or consultants. It won’t work if your clients have personal challenges that would violate their confidentiality if you shared them.
However, if you’re a service provider whose had successes helping clients reach their goals and overcome challenges, write up their stories and highlight them on your blog.
I recommend writing these your case studies up as blog posts, so you can highlight them as a category on your blog. These are articles that you want people to read. If they’re on your linked on your Portfolio page and living on your blog, it also gives them a bit more exposure.
If you’d like some examples, feel free to peruse the Case Study category on this blog. Depending on the project (and probably my mood), I go into great depth or stay pretty brief, but I do hit the entire hero’s journey.
Writing up case studies is a great and pretty easy way to create some solid blog content. You build your credibility, add content for some SEO juice, and give a client some love. It’s always fun to share client successes, so it’s truly a win-win all the way around.
Lastly, have fun writing!