Case studies are an essential component of law firm marketing. There are few better ways to demonstrate your experience and make potential clients buy into the results you can obtain for them. A well-written case study is relevant to almost any audience across your client personas. For those just getting to know your firm, they provide a brief, relevant overview of what your service offers; they give those further down the funnel a final push with a story they can relate to; and they delight your existing clients by exhibiting their success.
Case studies aren’t always easy to create though – they take time and many people struggle with crafting a compelling case study. Thus, we’ve compiled 15 tips to help lawyers write winning case studies.
What is a Case Study?
Simply put, a case study is a self-contained story about how a real client overcame their problem with the help of your law firm. A well-written case study reads like a journey with a beginning, middle, and end. The highlight is the protagonist (the client) achieving their goals and overcoming their challenges.
An impactful law firm case study accomplishes a few main goals:
- They build trust through social proof.
- They tell a complete story – showcasing the original problem, the strategy devised to solve the problem, and the journey to success.
- They demonstrate to future clients that you know how to achieve targeted results.
- They are effective marketing across several platforms and channels, including search and SEO, email, and your website.
A case study is not an in-depth white paper, a document that gives away your “secret sauce”, or an advertisement. Case studies are not press releases or vehicles to talk about your own services. At the heart of the case study is the client journey (not your own).
Why Are Case Studies Important?
One of the most important aspects of building relationships with your audience is being able to prove your value proposition with action. People don’t want to take a gamble that the lawyer they’re signing on with is actually going to get the job done well. Nowadays, consumers are used to reading online reviews, watching vlogs, or going to online directories before making a purchase. The same is true of those looking to purchase services too. Potential clients want to be assured that they’ll be in good hands and the easiest way to prove you can handle their case is by showcasing similar cases you’ve successfully handled in the past.
15 Tips for Your Best Law Firm Case Studies
Without further ado, here are 15 simple tips to make your case studies a powerful asset in soliciting new business.
1. Get Permission from Your Client First
You’d be surprised how often businesses leap to publicize their client successes without asking them first. Don’t do this! It’s a quick way to lose trust. Make sure to get your client’s specific permission before you start writing and run the case study by them before publishing. It’s courteous to allow them to make any edits they’d like as well before publishing.
2. Be Realistic About the Goals for Your Case Study
Don’t be disheartened if a case study doesn’t perform as strongly as your best content. They’re not supposed to. Law firm case studies are designed for audiences that are already strongly considering your services, which is a smaller but more qualified audience.
3. Identify a Compelling or Unique Narrative for Your Case Study. Tell a Story
People enjoy reading a story. Just as any good story has a beginning, middle, and end, so too do the best case studies. Follow the classic narrative arc, a literary term for the path a story follows (i.e. rising action, climax, and resolution).
4. Identify Your Law Firm as the Supporting Character (not the protagonist) in the Case Study Story
You want your reader to visualize themselves as the protagonist of the case study. For this reason, your law firm should always be positioned as a helping hand that assisted the real hero of the story – your client – in overcoming their obstacle. Be direct in showcasing how you helped them overcome their struggle and alleviate their pain point.
5. Write About a Case Your Ideal Client Can Relate to
The main goal is for your target client to relate to and identify with the problems encountered by your case study’s protagonist. What is your ideal client’s most commonly experienced obstacle? If you have multiple audience personas, identify case(s) that each persona can relate to and go from there.
6. Follow the Proper Format
Follow the format of Situation, Solution, and Results. Situation is where you break down your client’s background and the problem they’re facing. Make sure to characterize the client in line with your audience personas and make their pain points clear. The Solution is where you come in. Give a step-by-step overview of your solution to their problem. And Results is where you break down the resolution. Make the emotional payoff and success clear in this stage.
7. Simplify Your Case Study
Rely on succinct sentences and short paragraphs, and cut anything inessential. Your case study should speed readers along and be easy to read. The ideal length of a case study should be 500-1500 words. Don’t bore the reader with excessive details.
8. Avoid Legal Jargon
Similar to the point above, your case study should be easy to read and follow. While it’s important to speak about the legal case, avoid using intense legal jargon that the average person won’t understand. If you do use any legal terms, make sure to break their definition down explicitly.
9. Make Sure the Formatting is Easy to Read
Utilize content formatting elements such as headings, images, bulleted lists, and bold and italicized text. These formatting elements will make your case study easier to read and provide SEO value for the page.
10. Include Quotes and Testimonials from the Client About Results
Quoting your clients in their own words will make the case study even more relatable.
11. Test Varying Formats to Appeal to Different Types of Learners
Your case studies don’t necessarily need to be written. Test out different formats. Podcast, video, or infographic for example.
12. Make Them Easy to Find on Your Website
Your case studies should be easy to find right from your homepage. Make them accessible in the drop-down menu, for example. We also suggest linking your case studies right from your practice area pages.
13. Optimize for SEO
Optimize your case study for search. Include relevant keywords in the copy, title, meta description, and URL. This will help your case studies be indexed by Google while also showing off your expertise which is an important part of Google’s algorithm.
14. Include a Call-to-Action
The goal of your case study should be clearly thought out. Consider what action you’ll want users to take. Remember: those reading your case study are probably warm leads. Make sure to always include a relevant CTA at the end of your case study.
15. Promote Your Case Study
Your case study shouldn’t just sit on your website never to be thought about again. Promote your case study on social media, email, or even in your newsletter.
For one thing, if you’re not currently creating case studies, it’s time to start! They can offer value above and beyond what many content forms can, and can reach your audience at any point in their decision-making process. If you already create case studies for your law firm, use these 15 tips as a checklist for each one you create. If you do, you’ll be sure to create more interesting and engaging case studies that help bring in new clients.
Do you need help writing an impactful case study? We’ve got the largest cadre of legal writers and journalists in the industry, helping to take your idea and write the content as if you had the time to write it yourself. Let our experienced content professionals help you tell your story. Contact us today for a consultation.