A Dead-Simple Guide for using Case Studies to Boost Industry Authority
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The most widely underused asset for building a business, in affiliate marketing, seems to be case studies.
The creation of case studies do require the extra effort but the fact that so few affiliates employ this method of lead generation is astounding and giving it a shot, in your business, could provide major benefits to your bottom-line.
In this piece, you’ll learn the how, what, and why of case studies for effective lead generation.
A little bit of work will go a loooong way, check it out …
For Your Consideration: The Humble Case Study
Case studies are in-depth pieces that hold massive value because they provide potential customers and leads with the ability to take a glimpse into your business model; it is, in essence, a long-form sales letter that uses the vehicle of content to push your message and call-to-action.
The allure of creating case studies, as an affiliate marketer, comes from knowing that you’re able to leverage your connections in order to aid in building your authority.
In essence, a case study comes across as a testimonial of your work and knowledge. Since it’s being told through your point of view – you’re able to sculpt the “testimonial”.
Next time you’re browsing for a service, take a look to see if there are case studies to be found, give them a read, and weigh your decision with the business pre and post consumption of the study – I’ll bet you’ll feel more inclined to do business with someone that can provide cold, hard facts than those simply listing their services on a portfolio.
Going Meta: A Case Study about Case Studies (via QuickSprout.com)
Yes, this will be a pseudo case study on a case study. Getting a little ‘meta’ here, aren’t we?
Quicksprout is the blog by Neil Patel – a serial entrepreneur behind CrazyEgg and KissMetrics.
Like all blogs, it got its humble start and began to pick up traction through the use of stellar content.
However, it’s not the blog posts that should catch your attention but the multiple call-outs and usage of case studies which Neil uses to drive leads to his business (KissMetrics and then later to CrazyEgg).
Right at the top of the page you will see he uses HelloBar to draw attention to a case study he created based around his work for Techcrunch.
There are a few things going on here:
- A boastful headline (big numbers, quick results)
- High contrast to the link (through the use of HelloBar)
- A landing page to display the case study
Rather than doing the case study and releasing it as a download (PDF) – Neil puts it out in the open for anyone to see (especially those coming through search). He follows the key design features of a landing page so it pops out and draws your attention.
The most interesting part of the entire study is the fact that it’s still jam-packed with great information so even if you don’t inquire his services – you’re still getting a lot of great information which … as you could guess … builds his authority.
Neil was able to leverage his work and connections with TechCrunch to create a case study that would have any business owner piqued with interest.
On an additional note: Neil is also using a webinar to share a case study on how he built his KissMetrics website in traffic – again, it’ll be a case study with a finely-tuned message but remain resourceful.
Crafting the Right Case Study for your Business Goals
This post isn’t to boast about Neil – it’s about helping you in your affiliate marketing business.
Affiliate marketing is a little different when it comes to using case studies because you don’t necessarily have ‘clients’ to base the piece around … but you do have results.
The point of using case studies, in affiliate marketing, would be to encourage readers to click-through and convert on the resources you mention.
That’s an obvious and you may be wondering what makes it all different than just slapping together an eBook, video series, or email course.
Let’s cut to the chase and get right down to business …
1. Select an area of your work that you feel most comfortable and accomplished. Better yet, start a new project in an unrelated niche which will convey your skills go way beyond your comfort zone and previous contacts and connections.
2. Compile a list of your affiliate resources used to provide results. These will be the items you subtly promote as you take the reader through the case study; they will be ‘no-brainer’ decisions (for the reader) since you’re explaining how they were effectively used to reach the results.
3. Write, edit, and publish your case study as a landing page. Include additional multi-media elements to keep the visitor engaged with the content. Work around your story of how you achieved the results and share your resources a key moments (generally after an amazing fact or result).
The case study isn’t entirely tutorial-based but it’s also not selling an information product.
What you’re doing is, in some way, telling a story about an entity (which happens to be your work, in this case) where the reader can dig through and see your results on your end and within the project.
Just remember that the goal of the case study isn’t mere education but to close a sale.
Figure out your visitors’ needs, do the leg-work to solve the problem, display your results via case study, and collect emails/conversions/followers based on claiming authority.
Real-World Examples (Study and Learn)
Explaining case studies is a little difficult so I’d like to share three, worthwhile examples which should give you a complete understanding of the format.
Pay attention to key elements such as the CTA, designs, story, testimonials, and other items part of the sales funnel. Write some notes and then get a start on your own.
Click on the images to see the full posts and studies.
Final Words about Case Studies
It’s unlikely that 99% of affiliate marketers will utilize case studies in their business but that’s a great thing. Those that do take the time to piece one together will definitely gain an edge within their niche.
Try to make your next piece of content be a case study.
Most of your long-form posts will already have a large majority of the required items to form it into one so do the extra work and complete the process. Get it up there on a landing page, use call-outs to draw some attention, and drive those leads!