#BGB Tutorial: Writing an Operative SEO Case Study that Closes the Sale

by Tim Wilson · 51 comments

Effective Case Study
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This is a guest post courtesy of Tim Wilson.

As I have yet to really dip my toe into writing case studies myself, this was a good learning piece for me.

I hope it’s an eye-opener for you as well.

And while the focus is on writing an SEO case study, it’s important to note that these concepts are not limited to that and can be applied to case studies for any niche.

Since we’re residing in trust-driven generations where online reviews are now perpetuating many new customer purchases, it’s important to know there are much better resources for determining whether or not companies, along with the products they sell, are legitimate.

One of the more solid methods in getting the point across to customers, while including true-life reviews, is a case study.

Containing loads of information, industry studies, and happy customers, an effective case study will close sales more times than a 5-star website review.

Today we examine how to write an operative SEO case study that closes the sale for search engine optimization companies that can effectively prove their services are better than the competition.

While there are excellent ways to script your case study, we’ll first discuss how NOT to write it.

How To Write Ineffective SEO Case Studies

If that you firmly believe that 20 page case study you’ve just written is the best you’ve ever produced, you should ask yourself a few questions first, before releasing it to the public. (Bias over your own work is natural.)

However there is nothing worse than a case study that is moot, unsellable, or downright tactless.

So ask:

  • Are you using a lot of technical jargon? Many SEO case studies are over-written to inflate the worth of the company, or to make others believe the writer is extremely astute.  Remember, not everyone will understand canonicalization or other technical terms that are normal for you.
  • Does it connect to your reader? Instead of just making pretty charts and graphs which often lack emotion, your SEO case studies need fervent explosions of emotion, so that customers can get an accurate feel for your business.
  • Is it peppered with ads? While putting your name out there is great, adding huge sales banners selling your services on every page will probably get your case study tossed in the trash.

If any of the above sounds even a little familiar, don’t get too down on your writing abilities; simply incorporate the following eight tips into your future case studies and ease up slightly on the sales pitch.

You may just increase your conversions more than you expect.

Use Story-Type Plots

Since there’s still a young child residing within us all, stories are an attractive source of entertainment and, in this case, also a great way to tap into the heart of your potential SEO client.

Painting stories that reflect current issues with search engine optimization, emphasizing how a customer was wronged by another company, and ending with a dramatic finish of how your SEO firm came to the rescue and did the work correctly should be your basic storyline.

Work on addressing your clients’ needs and issues in an epic, story-like fashion that includes writing about:

  • Their imminent frustrations in dealing with an SEM/SEO related issue;
  • Their problems with another company not delivering on what they promised;
  • How you professionally their problem along with presenting potential remedies;
  • How you delivered your reports in a timely fashion;
  • How you accurately measured the improvements versus what ‘was’;
  • While clearly documenting positive client reactions.

Compel Them to Want to Pick It Up

The most obvious point of entry into any book, manual, or SEO case study is the title and subtitle.

The title, in itself, needs to tell your story in one succinct sentence, like:

Witness John Doe’s Firm Use Infographics to Skyrocket Sales 45% in 45 Days.”

Compel the reader to want to pick up your SEO case study and read it cover to cover, simply by scripting a title that epitomizes the story contained within.

Asking The W’s And H’s

Five questions and one perfect statement could stand between your next client and a wasted effort; make sure you establish the who, what, when, where, and why along the road towards how those questions were finalized in the end of the book.

Every journalist knows this writing style is effective in captivating readers, and it could very well make or break your next sale should you lack any or all of these vital questions and facts.

Show Your Work 

During the process of writing your question and answer statements, you need to concentrate on obtaining reader affirmation of your work ethic.

This is done by showcasing how your company can provide SEO services that uses x, y, and z strategies, of which company a, b, and c  failed to implement in their search engine optimization efforts.

Every book likes heroism; this is your company’s opportunity to put on that velvet red cape and fly first-class into the hearts of  your potential buyers.

Include Simple Metrical Data

Without being too technical, your client may want to see examples based on overall advertisement spend; you could state something like this:

“With a budget of $550, we created one press release and one infographic for our client.  After submission to PRWeb, our client received 24,090 hits of which 2.9% converted into sales of more of than $26,900 – just by writing one killer press release and the creation of a single infographic.”

It’s hard to refute factual figures like this, especially with budget versus ROI.  Include simple client data without anonymity; the reader may wish to follow-up and see more results, or talk with the business you did the work for.

Your “Arrived At” Time Frame

After reading your SEO case study, interested clientele may wish to know how quickly you arrived at your results.

Discussing how long each phase of the optimization campaign or traffic increase took will help potential customers estimate their own results and make them eager to get started.

Make all time frames realistic; in other words, pulling numbers out of the sky that simply aren’t feasible will probably cost you that client.

Benchmarking Your Results

Most clients understand that quality results take some time.

If you can provide an overall success time frame for several clients within the niche you have written your case study for, it will help further your case study’s impact.

Reading benchmarking information allows a potential customer to jot down figures and crunch numbers before approaching your company for work.  Make sure this portion of your SEO case study reflects deadly precision.

Target Your SEO Case Study

Customers cannot accurately gauge the potential successes of your SEO firm with their business unless the results they see are results reflected from within their own niche.

When writing your case study, make sure to include data regarding beauty shops if you’re presenting the final copy to beauticians…  and likewise include data regarding auto repair shops if you’re presenting the final copy to auto repair shops.

Customers can be turned off by reading the successes of products or services unrelated to what they sell, which is why you need to script your SEO case studies around the niches that you intend to target.

Remember This

Now that you have read how NOT to write SEO case studies and been given tips you can use inject power into your communications, always remember to write your paper to elicit the response you’d like to receive if you were the potential customer.

  • How dramatic would you expect the finish to be?
  • How large would you expect profit increases to be?

Keep everything factually sound, be prepared to back up your facts with figures, and remember that you are the hero of your own story; work your way into that big reveal instead of pompously announcing it from the get-go.

SEO case studies are meant to build customer relationships; break the ice with your potential clients by giving them something of value  before the ‘courting’ begins.

Over to You

Do you use case studies in your business? Do you feel like they could be written more powerfully and effectively using some of these tips? Please drop your thoughts in the comment section below.

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