Case Study: How I Used a Case Study to Grow My Sales by 185%

tim sykes

Case studies…You see companies using them all the time, but do they really work?

I wasn’t sure myself, which is why I decided to test them out on NeilPatel.com with these 3 case studies.

The goal was simple: generate more leads.

The results were a bit unexpected. I didn’t necessarily generate many more leads, but I was able to grow my sales by 185%.

Download this cheat sheet to learn how I used a case study to grow my sales by 185%.

Before we get into that, let’s first go over what I learned about case studies. Sadly, most companies don’t know how to correctly leverage them, which renders them ineffective.

Here’s how I optimized my case studies for lead generation:

The optimal case study

For the purposes of this post, let’s use my Timothy Sykes testimonial in which I break down how I made him an extra $1.2 million in profit per year and grew his traffic by 26%.

tim sykes case study

As you can see from the screenshot above, the case study is long. The page keeps on scrolling, and it almost feels like it is a never ending case study.

You probably won’t believe it, but that is the short one. It currently sits at 615 words, while the old one sat at 2,286 words.

The only difference was I went into more depth on the tactics used to increase Tim’s traffic.

tim sykes tactics

Because a lot of people publish fake case studies, I assumed that going into detail and being more thorough would increase conversions. I was wrong. Google Analytics data shows people don’t fully read my case studies.

time on site

Average time: 2 minutes and 27 seconds. That’s how much time people spent reading the 2,286-word-long case study. And when we reduced the word count down to 615 words, people spent 2 minutes and 18 seconds reading it.

In addition to that, shortening the page increased the number of leads we generated by 39%. That’s not a bad lift for just deleting words.

Although that lift sounds great, the number of leads generated by the case study page was so insignificant compared to my minimalistic home page that I decided to keep testing.

neil patel

The main reason the homepage converts so well is because it tells website owners the number of errors they have on their sites, and then it takes them to a lead generation page…assuming they have enough errors.

neil patel reserve

The case study page can’t be this simple due to the fact that it is supposed to be a “case study.”

I tested everything, including showcasing the problem and results at the top, which didn’t increase conversions.

problem

I also tested putting testimonials within the case study to validate my statements, which only helped boost leads by 11%.

testimonial

I added a lead generation form at the bottom, which only increased leads by 8%, but the data wasn’t statistically significant.

lead box

I tested an exit popup, which – funnily enough – increased leads by 64%, but the lead quality was so low, I removed it.

exit box

I even added a scrolling “reserve” button, which helped grow sign-ups by 49% and generated somewhat decent leads.

scrolling button

Although I was able to generate more leads by these conversion optimization techniques, the end result wasn’t that great. The homepage, which generates more traffic and the highest number of leads, has a conversion rate that is 843% higher than the case study page. Plus, the leads tend to be 188% more qualified than the leads generated through case studies.

Through this testing, I learned that case studies can help you generate leads, but they aren’t as effective as simple landing pages, like the one I have on the NeilPatel site.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them. I was still able to grow my revenue by 185%.

Case studies can grow your revenue

Although case studies may not generate you the highest number of leads, through A/B testing I found that integrating them within your sales and marketing process can drastically increase your closing ratio.

For example, I stole this concept from Single Grain: they email you case studies after you have a call with them.

Neil,
Great chatting with you briefly. I wanted to send you some additional information on us so you can gain more context on what we can do. For an overview on us, please feel free to download this.

I’ve attached some PDFs for SEO, Facebook and YouTube advertising. We also do content strategy/content marketing as well so I wanted to show you some examples:

You can find some examples of our infographic work here:
http://blog.kissmetrics.com/infographics/
http://blog.hostgator.com/2013/05/02/a-day-in-the-life-of-the-internet/

As for our blog posts, you can find some examples below:
http://chargeback.com/blog/17-ways-to-make-more-sales/
http://chargeback.com/blog/top-10-ways-to-cut-down-business-costs/
http://wheniwork.com/7-warning-signs-that-your-employees-are-about-to-quit/

For next steps, we’d like to evaluate your business more and get on a scoping call to discuss what we have in mind + pricing. If the scoping call goes well, we can put together a proposal.

For the scoping call:

Are you up for a scoping call? If so, we’ll coordinate and set something up.

You want to attach a few case studies to that email – something Single Grain does as well. I found that by sending emails similar to the one above after calls and including case studies, we were able to increase our closing ratio by 70%.

In addition to that, we started including case studies within our proposal. We decided to run a simple test, in which we included them at the end of the proposal after the signature page.

Why?

Because we found from using Bidsketch that people were passing around our proposal as we could see the number of times it was viewed and from what IP. The issue we had is that we were only talking to one person, so if the decision-makers weren’t on the phone, they wouldn’t get to hear why they should work with us.

By including case studies at the end, we found that it helped build more trust with the decision-maker, which caused a 115% increase in sign-ups.

Conclusion

You can test using case studies to see if you can increase the number of leads you collect. It will likely help, but it won’t be as effective as using simple landing pages to generate leads.

I know what you’re thinking: case studies will bring in more qualified leads, but that’s not always the case. The NeilPatel’s homepage, which is simple and doesn’t have much text, brings in higher quality leads.

This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use case studies. Instead, you need to mix them within your sales process like in the examples above as that will help you generate more sales.

So, how else can you use case studies to make more money?

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Comments

  1. Interesting read. I use case studies in my sales process but have never actually gotten around to testing their effectiveness at different points in the process. It’s definitely something I’ll be testing in future.

    • Luke, I think it’s essential to test at every turn. With that being said I think you’re on the right path. Please let me know what you come up with!

  2. Very interesting points Neil, it seems more is less when it comes to conversions on webpages, but the opposite when it comes to email.

    We’ll test and measure this as we continue to develop our new website before launch. Thanks for the info.

    Josh

    • Josh, Definitely.
      I would suggest testing everything imaginable.
      To your point about webpages/email, it’s definitely true and I have noticed it in my experience as well.

      You’ll find that small updates to the copy and design on a webpage can make a big difference. Please keep me updated on your progress 🙂

  3. Hello Neil Sir,

    such a informative article you posted,

    one thing i would like to say that you cover very interesting points.

    i will focus on above points and will implement as soon as possible to my website.

    thanks & regards
    kapil

    • Kapil, Great!
      Let me know if I can help you along the way. I look forward to hearing what changes you’ve made and how they work out!

  4. Hey Neil,
    Case study really helps in getting sales. Once i wrote an case study on my old blog regarding how i Got 3 lakh page views on a 3 day old event blog and that really got large no. of clicks, social shares and mainly, that case study was the main reason why i am here commenting on your blog. That motivated me. With the help of that case study, i earned nearly 2k$+ within 7 days.
    I don’t know about you, but this amount is really cool for me, ain’t it? For a newbie blogger who is in deep relation ship with seo trying to be professional.
    Thanks for writing.
    ~Nitin Singh

    • Nitin, I think that is a ton of money for anyone, especially because you made it within a week. People want to utilize and be associated with strategies that have been proven to work. This is why case studies resonate with people so well. Keep up the great work!

  5. It’s really an interesting point Neil. I will definitely test it and will measure the success. Hope it will work fine for me as you described.

  6. Hey Neil, know what I just visited your Facebook page earlier today morning and saw the third line in your Cover Image that talked about how you helped Timothy Sykes with his perfect conversions and now I see this blog post. Perfect timing, not from you, but for my inner sense haha.

    Anyway, I feel case studies work because they are nothing but stories about your business, and they are such powerful stories which people can align to easily because of the following reasons:

    First – users land a validated concept that is already working

    Second – they now know that since you have made public your techniques, they cannot go wrong after following your advice.

    After all case studies form a good chunk of $95,000 MBA classes 😉

    One thing that works very well within a case study is inclusion of a very small infographic summarising the main points, not many, but just 2 – 3 important takeaways!

    • Debjit, I like the way you articulated this.
      The step by step process is exactly how I like to go about explaining any strategy.
      You are right on your money with your insights. People want to go with strategies that work. It’s all about iterating and using proven methods to really get the ball rolling!

      • Thanks for your reply Neil. I have helped some of the businesses I work with to increase their conversion ratio simply by replacing the clients page with a testimonials page with not more than 2 – 3 case studies.

        Out of general interest, people tend to try replicating steps outlined in the case study and when they get stuck, they know whom to get in touch with 🙂

  7. Great post Neil.

    One additional idea: You can use case studies as blog posts on a particular topic, including for SEO purposes, to drive traffic.

    For example, Brian at backlinko does that well: http://backlinko.com/white-hat-seo. That’s a case study. The URL is “/white-hat-seo” and he ranks #2 for that term on Google.

    • Devesh, that’s a great example of using case studies to drive traffic. Brian, definitely does that well and his strategies are proven to really help drive traffic. Glad you caught that!

  8. Hey Neil,

    I did some case studies earlier, but did not see if it helped in any manner. You are right I should reconsider using case studies in the manner you suggested. That makes more sense.

    Cheers,
    Deepak

    • Deepak, I think you should definitely test out different variations. What exactly were you doing that didn’t work? Let me know if you need any help along the way. I look forward to hearing from you.

  9. Michael Collins :

    Awesome post Neil, thanks.

    I was wondering, how much cold traffic lands on neilpatel.com?

    Everything I’ve read on direct response marketing says that the longer the sales page, the more it will convert with the most qualified leads.

    I’ve also read your post, where you show that shorter copy does work, as long as it gets the whole message across.

    I admit that when I first saw your neilpatel.com page, I figured it converts so well because of warm traffic – traffic from quicksprout.com, or one of your other businesses.

    After reading some of your recent posts though, it sounds like you might get cold traffic to the page. Do you do any adwords or paid traffic to neilpatel.com, and is that converting well?

    Thanks again Neil, your blog has absolutely improved my life.

    • Majority of the traffic to the landing page is warm traffic. The only paid ads I do are retargeted ones.

      In terms of short form versus long form copy, it depends. As you mentioned it depends on the intent of your traffic and the nature of your product.

  10. Hi Neil,

    Wonderful post indeed. Really informative. I have learned lot of new things here. I would like to implement on my blog. Currently, I am facing a low traffic issue. My traffic is very low.

    I have already prepared with small case study and going to post it day after tomorrow. Let’s see the result ahead.

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful article.

    Have a great day ahead!

    • Nisha, I think the case study will definitely help. You should provide some compelling data to really drive more visitors to your site. If you don’t mind my asking, what is the case study going to be about?

  11. So readers like short case studies toward the end of the sales cycle, right?

    I think it makes sense. People looking to buy something will look for an overview of the thing at first, then any final proofs they read help solidify that initial idea (for the good or for the bad).

    I can tell you, from my experience as a buyer, that while I read anything I can read about something I want to buy, my brain elaborates the pros and cons in the background. If you can convince me 100% on everything and every doubt that comes up in the background of my mind, you won me as a customer.

    Since I’m thinking about adding case studies to my freelancer website, I’ll come back to this post again. Your posts inspire me, Neil. 😉

    ~ Luana

    • Luana, consumers are smart and really want to be convinced before they buy into anything. You are spot on when you say that case studies add that extra push. I look forward to seeing what you put together. Please share it with me 🙂

  12. Hello Neil Sir,
    I did some case studies earlier but i guess it didn’t help me in any way, now i wish it would help me to increase sales the way you suggested it

  13. Wow great post and interesting read! Thanks for the insight once again Neil

  14. I found the Google Analytics data very interesting re. how many people actually read case studies. I really enjoy reading cases studies if I think they provide evidence of the effectiveness of a strategy. But I have just finished writing up one of my own case studies and, yes, it is probably too wordy.

    It’s great that you track results from all the different tests you run Neil. The figures really help to compare the effectiveness of different strategies. A lot of bloggers support the idea of exit popups but your analysis of lead quality puts the 64% lead increase into perspective.

    Very helpful to know the difference between simple landing pages and case studies in generating leads.

    Thanks Neil.

    • Glenys, it’s awesome that you enjoy case studies. I think they really educate your users about your core competencies and how effective your strategies are. I definitely track and keep all test data for future use. Thanks for the feedback 🙂

  15. I like to read case study i m currently in the process of making case study of one of our client….great information from MR PATEL

  16. good article. thanks a lot

  17. Case studies work, almost always.

  18. Hi Neil,

    I thoroughly agree with what you said about testing. Indeed, testing is extremely crucial for any website’s (read business’) success.

    I have been using test-analyze-tweak strategy on all my websites for last several years. And I have reaped benefits of it.

    Thanks for the informative article.

    You’re a star!

  19. i love this one like frozen all the way 😀

  20. Hey Neil,

    I did some case studies earlier, but did not see if it helped in any manner. You are right I should reconsider using case studies in the manner you suggested. That makes more sense.

    Cheers,

  21. It’s really an interesting point Neil. I will definitely test it and will measure the success. Hope it will work fine for me as you described.

  22. Ivailo Durmonski :

    Hey Neil,
    You should promote this article more. It has only 9 tweets 🙂

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