Case studies help you show off your business acumen, provide social proof by highlighting customer experiences, and offer insight into your excellent problem-solving skills. But wait! How do you write a case study if you don’t have any metrics to share?
There are many reasons you might not have metrics readily available…
Your client isn’t great at tracking metrics
You contributed only one component to a much larger project
The client’s goal was never to directly influence traffic, leads, or revenue.
The client isn’t willing to share metrics publicly.
Thankfully, it’s 100% possible to write a killer case study without a ton of metrics. In fact, sometimes numbers aren’t the most reliable method for telling successful customer stories.
This post will delve deeper into how to write a case study without impressive metrics. Let’s get started.
You don’t have to say things like “I increased revenue by 100X” to show off the advantages of hiring you. What’s important is that you identify how you solve customer pain points better than anyone else and then talk about it.
Your main benefits might be that you streamlined processes for more productive workflows, were easy to work with, and made your client look awesome internally. Here are a few main values that might be worth highlighting:
Responsiveness – Did you offer your client timely and consistent communication? If your customer had a question, could they quickly get an answer?
Efficiency – Were you able to complete the work quickly? Did your tool make a customer more efficient?
Ongoing support – If the client has additional needs after your tool is implemented or your work is completed, are they able to come to you for more guidance?
In order to illustrate these benefits, get quotes from your customers that show their take on your value.
Even though you don’t need to show any metrics at all, you can get creative to find numbers that show your scope of work. Sharing the size of the company, number of assets created, and length of contract can all help show how trustworthy and efficient you are.
Consider including the following in your case study:
The size of the company that hired you
The number of assets you created
The number of integrations connected
The number of customers reached or size of audience
Your turnaround time
The amount of time saved by your client thanks to the work you completed
What might this look like in a case study? A graphic designer might share that she created 5 different presentations in a tight 3 week timeframe, saving her client 50 hours of time that they spent on other business-building activities. (Source: 99designs vs Fiverr)
I probably don’t have to convince you of the positive impact of endorsements. You’ve read online reviews before making purchasing decisions and asked friends and family for recommendations. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers are more likely to trust non-paid recommendations than any other type of advertising.
But how often are you scanning reviews and recommendations for metrics? Often, you simply want to see someone’s experience so you can understand whether a product or service is likely to solve your problem, too.
When it comes to case studies, direct quotes from customers are often more valuable than impressive metrics. That’s because quotes help prospective customers see how real, live people benefited from your products and services.
Here are some tips for capturing and sharing impactful quotes from your clients:
Ask about specifics. If your client says “this helped us save time”, ask more questions about the time saved. How much time was saved per day or per week? What was the client able to get done because of the time saved?
Keep quotes short and punchy. The shorter and more specific the quote, the better. Generally, a 1-2 sentence quote is best.
Edit as needed. If the client goes on and on and on about how awesome you are, it’s great for your self-esteem, but not for your case study. Edit out the parts that aren’t as impactful.
Here’s the best insider tip I can give you as a copywriter. Creating an impactful case study— one that gives a prospective customer a glimpse of what’s possible when working with you— is all about storytelling.
This is true whether you have metrics to add to your story or not. Regardless of how you approach your case study, you always want a case study to tell the story of what it was like to work with you.
Every story has a beginning, middle, and end. In the case of a case study, think of this as challenges, solutions, and results. It can also be thought of as before, during, and after.
Here are a series of questions to consider to get you thinking like a storyteller:
Where was your customer beforehand?
What were they struggling with?
How did these struggles and challenges negatively impact them?
How did they find you?
Why did they choose you over other options?
What was it like to work for you?
What did you do for them?
What was the outcome after working together?
What were the results of that work?
What’s possible now that you’ve worked together?
Here’s the main takeaway. Writing a case study isn’t all about numbers and metrics. The customer-driven story of your successes will go above and beyond when it comes to capturing new clients.
You’re awesome—you don’t need impressive numbers to prove it.
For more detailed information on how to write a case study, check out my DIY Case Study Kit. It provides strategy, interview questions, email templates, case study design templates, and more.