How To Write Case Studies

Written by Fraser McCulloch. Last Updated 28th March 2022

I will outline 3 case writing formats I use to create some of my website content.

Website content is the fuel that drives your website and can attract, convince and convert readers and website visitors into prospects and even customers.

These writing techniques are not unique or exclusive to me.

I’ve borrowed and refined techniques to write case studies from others to become a better writer and communicator.

You don’t need to be a copywriter; you need a writing approach and excellent source material to create case studies.

Ready to start creating some case studies?

OK, let’s get started.

Before and After format

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An example of a marketing case study.

A very popular method of writing a case study for web designers and online marketers is to show a before and after situation.

My website previously used a hamburger menu as a tool for navigating my website.

A hamburger menu is a little 3 lined button at the top of a website.

You click the icon to reveal links to other pages.

This menu button usually worked well on mobile and tablet devices.

Two months ago, I changed the layout of my website back to a traditional horizontal menu.

Each link on the menu is displayed in a line horizontally across the top of the website.

This is a screenshot of the menu before.

This is a screenshot of the new menu afterwards.

Using Google Analytics, I displayed the average number of pages website visitors look at.

Since the change in menu design, website visitors now look at twice as many pages, a 93% increase in pages per session.

Thanks to Analytics, I was also able to display the change in goal conversions; an additional 42 conversions, an increase from 23 to 65 conversion or an 83% increase in my website conversions.

I am not sure the change in the menu design is a direct cause of the increased conversion; however, it must have had an effect.

Download: How to write SEO, marketing and website case studies

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An example of a web design case study.

We designed and developed a website for a financial services recruitment consultancy about 4 years ago.

Last year they approached us with a brief to redesign their website.


Before – this is their old home page.



After – this is their current home page.


The old website was designed and developed to maximise job applications from job seekers.

There was a search bar across the top of every page.

This solution worked perfectly well with a reasonable conversion rate of visits to jobs applied for.

But the client wished to address a new business challenge.

They wanted to attract job seekers and companies looking to hire them (to find job seekers and staff.)

Therefore we moved the home page search bar, and users are presented with two options on the home page.

On the left, search for vacancies (the call to action for job seekers).

On the right, looking to hire (the call to action for employers seeking their services.)

Download: How to write SEO, marketing and website case studies

Why and how does the Before and After Case Study Method work ?

People are visual people.

A picture paints a thousand words!

We can process images 60,000 times faster than words.

We can quickly translate our case study results by demonstrating the contrast between the before and after images.

And results are what the potential customer is looking for.

I’ve used the extreme case of poor ‘before’ designs and contrasted them with great ‘after’ designs to illustrate better results.

You can, too, with this approach.

It’s very easy.

Let’s move on to the second case study writing approach.

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The 7 Bags Case Study format

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The 7 bags case study format contains 7 sections for you to follow and complete.

I’m going to use an e-commerce case study to demonstrate.

Ecommerce case study.

Step 1: Write down your target audience

My target audience in this example is Shopify website owners.

You have to be very specific about the audience you will write for.

However, the audience cannot be too small.

In this example, 375,000 businesses host their website with Shopify.

I could be even more specific; for example, fashion brand websites built on Shopify.

Step 2 : Write down the problem

The client told me, “I cannot work out why my website is not ranking better in Google”.

In other words, the website owner wanted to generate more website traffic from Google to sell more products.

Shopify even surveyed their customers who said their biggest business problem was generating marketing and website traffic.

Step 3 : Write down your solution, step by step

I offer a service to audit a website, identify issues and fixes, and a keyword research report outlining ways to grow your traffic from Google organic search results.

The website audit consists of the following work.

  1. I look for duplicate pages to be removed and low quality pages that need removed, rewritten or redirected.
  2. I examine the word count of each page to identify possible improvements.
  3. I run a keyword cannibalisation analysis report to identify pages with clash with each other in the search results.
  4. I analyse the page titles and descriptions of the website and offer worded improvements.

On top of that, I offer a keyword research report service where I show customers what people are searching for and what content to create.

Step 4 : Counter their biggest objection

You have to get inside the customer’s shoes or head and expect them to doubt you.

You have to counter their objection.

Since I know customers can utilise the same research tools as me, this is the biggest objection I have to address in this case study format.

The client responded with this objection when I offered my services to fix his problem.

“I am reasonably ok at keyword research; please find my research attached. Can you improve upon this? I don’t know what else you would discover?

I responded and told him.

“It looks like you are using keyword data from Google Adwords.

You only have a list of 149 keywords.

And your data source is based on advertising results, not organic searches.

I found, from my paid keyword research tools, over 3001 keywords compared to your 149.”

So paying for my services will enable me to identify opportunities you’re not currently aware of or missing out on.

Step 5 : Get a quote or testimonial

It can be tough to get a quote from a client.

I don’t feel comfortable asking customers for quotes or testimonials, but you need them in this process.

Thankfully, the client wrote a case study on a Facebook group with the results my work delivered for his website.

My site traffic has already increased 89% in one month from 827 to 1585 visits.

Organic revenue is up 258%.

Then, one week later, organic traffic up 103% and revenue up 338% month on month”.

Step 6 : Risk Reversal

In this step, you write down how you can reduce the risk for the customer.

It could be a returns policy or a money-back guarantee.

Or in my case, I highlight the customer is already spending money elsewhere and could divert funds to me.

In reality, the customer would not be spending additional funds, simply diverting funds.

“You are already spending money on social apps and social marketing services. 

I can show you that social traffic converts into proportionally less sales than organic traffic.

Take a breather and step back and evaluate your entire sources of traffic and sales and divert some funds in my services for a month or two.”

Step 7 : USP (unique selling point)

Now you write down why any customer in step 1 should choose you.

I have a marketing degree specialising in research and over 25 years of marketing experience working with brands online and offline. No one else can identify easy to rank, high search volume opportunities like me.

Download: How to write SEO, marketing and website case studies

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Search marketing case study

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The next SEO case study does not use the 7 Bags case study technique.

Instead, I wrote my case study outlining the results first, then highlighted my steps to earning the results.

This is what I call a “how-to” case study.

Many digital marketing practitioners are reluctant to show results or outline their steps to achieve results.

And that’s your opportunity to create content to win business that will stand out from the pack.

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Another commerce website case study

Here’s a case study using the 7 bag method for an online retailer.

Step 1: Write down the target audience

We worked with a Shopify website owner.

Step 2 : Write down the problem

One of the biggest problems consumers have with purchasing products online is the shock of seeing delivery or shipping costs.

Since Amazon introduced Prime, they conditioned shoppers to expect free next day delivery from all e-commerce shops.

So imagine a customer’s shock when she sees a product and price she likes, add to her basket, proceeds to the checkout only to be stunned with an additional cost.

Step 3 : Write down your solution, step by step

The solution is to use the built-in Shopify abandoned orders email notifications.

Shopify proclaims that the average recovery rate for other Shopify stores is 7%.

We believed that the default email notification wasn’t a great email to convince shoppers to complete their orders.

So we use a paid-for app to construct a series of 3 emails over a week with different incentives to convince shoppers to complete their order.

We injected humour into the emails, borrowing some content ideas from a skateboarding store.

As a result, we managed to recover 20% of abandoned orders.

Step 4 : Counter the biggest objection

Some business owners aren’t as persistent with shoppers and believe that sending 3 emails is excessive.

You can also recover lost orders and revenue if you set the correct tone of voice in your emails.

Step 5 : Get a quote or testimonial

Recovering 20% of abandoned orders was worth £6720 in revenue in a month.

Pro-rata over a year equates to £80,640 in additional or regained revenue.

Step 6 : Risk Reversal

To invest £600 – £700 per month and recover £6720 in revenue is an excellent return on investment for any e-commerce store.

Step 7 : USP (unique selling point)

Whilst you are busy servicing customers and fulfilling orders, I am a data-driven marketer that can look at all angles of a business and customer behaviour and devise solutions such as recovering around £7000 in revenue per month.

Download: How to write SEO, marketing and website case studies

Why and how does the 7 Bags case study format work ?

I learned this strategy from Sean D’Souza at

Sean was a copywriter from an advertising agency, and he believes that people need to jump over 7 hurdles inside their head before they can trust you and buy from you.

He uses the analogy of removing 7 bags from the baggage carousel of an airport; you can’t move forward until you’ve collected all 7 bags.

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Pain, Dream, Fix case study format


Cold calling people is a real pain when finding new customers.

Two years ago, I was sure that referrals from clients and friends had dried up.

Additionally, software such as Shopify and WordPress meant many businesses used cheaper options instead of hiring me.

  • When a client referred me to another business I was delighted at the opportunity.
  • I held a phone call with them.
  • They discussed their need.
  • They agreed to pay a fee for some initial work.
  • I paid to fly to London.
  • The day before the meeting they phoned and cancelled.
  • I lost a client for no reason I could understand.
  • I lost money on flight costs, 2 un billable days and income.

I reverted to finding lists of businesses to phone.

I was so inexperienced at cold calling that I just froze every time I picked up the phone.


It would be a dream for people to contact me telling me they needed my services.

The dream of inbound leads and enquiries.

Being a so-called expert on lead generation, my website delivered very few enquiries each month.

So I set about fixing my own sales lead problem.

The Fix

I had to decide the audience I wanted to serve online.

  • I had to choose between serving web professionals and business owners.
  • Whilst there is an overlap between both audiences I chose to focus and target web professionals, web designers and developers who ran a business similar to mine.
  • Then I figured out how top websites got their pages ranked at the top of Google.
  • I invested in advanced SEO training and in some expensive keyword research tools.
  • Using keyword research tools helped me to identify what web designers were searching for on Google and how difficult it would be to earn organic traffic.

I was reducing my risk and uncertainty through research.

Then I started to write in-depth content on my website that, I believed, was helpful and a resource for web designers and developers (like me).

  • I shared and gave away all the knowledge and experience I had.
  • This lead to my web pages being very long articles.
  • My web pages average 3150 words.
  • Then, I changed my email and web form supplier to Drip.
  • I placed email forms throughout most of my web pages and offered a downloadable resource on each page.

As I write this article in December 2017, I’ve had 91 people in the last month subscribe or contact me in the previous 30 days.

When I compared this statistic with 2 years ago, I received 1 enquiry per month on average.

Download: How to write SEO, marketing and website case studies

Why and how does the Pain – Dream – Fix case study format work ?

You have a headache; that’s pain, right?

Please make this headache go away and make me feel better; that’s the dream, right?

Take an aspirin, Advil or Nurofen or Paracetamol; that’s the fix, correct?

People use Google to get answers to their questions, and many questions are also problems; in some cases, a pain.

So the Pain – Dream – Fix is a strategy to demonstrate that you understand their problem and the outcome they wish.

The Fix is your answer, preferably a step by step guide, to make the pain go away.

Notice in my case study above that I’ve tried to tell you a story of the pain I was experiencing.

I’m trying to encourage someone else to relate to the story who has a similar situation or pain to draw them into learning about the fix.

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How to write case study summary

Writing a case study is your opportunity to showcase your expertise and skills or your method of solving problems.

Potential customers want to learn how you can solve their problem and want to know that you’ve tackled this problem before.

As the managing director of a fashion chain store once told me, de-risk my investment, and I’ll work with you.