A client called me up at the beginning of this week to discuss the use of images in the before and after page on their cosmetic surgery website.

They’ve always used images – it’d be a pretty ineffective before and after page if they didn’t – but this particular set of images was from a very successful procedure. This meant that the conversation wasn’t actually “shall we use the images?”, it was “how shall we use the images?” and it got me to thinking (again) about case studies, testimonials and social proof.

So I’m going to go back to my client, and I’m going to tell them we need to test using these images in a case study. Far more in depth than just a set of before and after photos, or a testimonial. We’re going to showcase the great work their surgeon completed, and make sure future visitors to the site can see the benefit of choosing them over their competitors….

But what makes a persuasive case study?

1. Relating to the reader

If your target audience is in the banking industry, case studies about financial customers will likely speak to them on a deeper level than case studies from a restaurant owner. It shows you understand their industry.

Case Studies and Conversion Rate Optimisation - pinterest example - Browser Media

Pinterest case studies begin with a punchy summary as well as highlighting the industry and market.


2. Being thorough

Let your reader get to know your case study customer. Explain who they are and what their business goals are. What were they looking to achieve and how did you help them achieve it? Are they still reaping the rewards now? How so?

3. Being attractive

I mean the case study needs to be visually appealing! I’ve written before about how long reams of text will scare a reader off, so include subheadings, lists and images to spice things up a bit and keep the reader engaged.

Case Studies and Conversion Rate Optimisation - Delete Agency example - Browser Media

Delete Agency’s case studies use lists, bullets and imagery


4. Using real data

This isn’t always possible, but by including detailed figures you can better illustrate just how much you’ve helped your case study customer. If you doubled their sales, does that mean they went from 25 sales a week to 50? Or from 500 to 1,000? Both are good results, but one certainly sounds more exciting than the other!

5. Being specific

Time to talk about exactly what you did. It’s great that you doubled your case study customer’s sales, but which of your amazing services lead to this result? Did you improve their online visibility with targeted linkbuilding? Did you overhaul their PPC campaign? Perhaps you created a lucrative social media campaign via instagram? Sell your services.

6. Testing formats

People like reading stories, but it’s worth testing how you tell that story. Including a testimonial within a  case study brings your reader and case study customer closer together, meaning they’re more likely to relate. Also, some ‘readers’ may prefer a video (perhaps an interview with your case study customer?) or audio, or the inclusion of more imagery.

Case Studies and Conversion Rate Optimisation - aws example - Browser Media

Amazon Web Services include a brief summary, specific numbers, and a testimonial in video format.


7. Standing out

Why go to all this effort only to find visitors to your website aren’t viewing your case study? Make sure they’re easy to navigate to with labels, headers, and/or images to draw the eye and encourage engagement.

Case Studies and Conversion Rate Optimisation - Hubspot example - Browser Media

HubSpot’s case studies have prime position in their navigation.

Do you use case studies?

Tell us how you shout about the great work you’ve done through case studies, testimonials or before/after pages. Perhaps you’ve yet to utilise this as a method of encouraging conversion and would like to speak to us about testing ways in which you can do it?