by Juan Robin II
With small businesses spending an average of $75,000 a year on their digital marketing plan, most companies want a solid breakdown of what they’re paying for. Most small businesses don’t know what SEO does, just that they need it. Creating a strong SEO case study can not only close leads, it can earn trust from your clients.
Search engine optimization is now a three letter acronym that falls on deaf ears. Explaining to your clients in a concrete way how your services can help them will make them listen more closely. In order to sell to a less informed client, you need to change your approach from what you’d offer to a client in the tech industry.
If you want to learn to make a strong SEO case study, you’re making a great decision for your business. Follow these 10 steps and you’ll connect with clients in a powerful way.
1. Write A Narrative
A strong story is a great way to share information. Stories can connect with people emotionally and draw them into what you’re trying to share.
Start by describing the kinds of problems your client is facing. Compare their struggles with those of their competitors. Compare those stories to how you see the business’s current problems bearing out.
Talk about how the solution you propose addresses that struggle directly and how it positions your client ahead of competitors. Talk about how the process of implementing this solution should go.
Close it off with a list of positive results and make it read like a real narrative rather than a list of dry facts.
2. Great Headlines Matter
You need your clients to read your SEO case study or else your work was for nothing. In any industry, a strong headline still matters. Make it hit heard and give a taste of what your readers are in for.
It can be a little bit campy as in “How Company X Managed To Go From #10 to #1 In The Industry In Three Years”. Everyone loves to hear their own name and executive teams will feel the same way about their brand name.
3. The Rules Of Journalism Apply
Those questions of who, what, where, when, why, and how are all relevant to your SEO case study. List in detail who your client is and what the main problems and solutions were.
Decide where to start with the process of implementation and explain why you used the strategies that you decided on. Let them know what the process looks like and when you expected to see a noticeable result.
Close it off by telling them how their company changed for the better in the end.
4. Let Them Behind The Curtain
Since companies spend so much money investing in their digital marketing departments, they want to know where the money is going. You’ll find even the most hands-off companies will want to know what your process looks like.
Just like any relationship, transparency matters. Let them into how your team works and they’ll give you their trust. Remain opaque and risk having to answer 50 questions a day for the next several months.
5. Show The Metrics
Most people aren’t impressed with big talk. They want to see results and they want the numbers to back it up. If you managed to increase their traffic through your SEO program, let them know how much.
Show money spent, money earned, and money saved. The more concrete your numbers are, the better they’ll connect with management and executive staff. Add a figure to measure customer satisfaction with the changes and you’ll be able to win over people at every level of the company.
Tell a story of what you spent your money on and what results you expected. Compare it to market trends if you exceeded what was expected and show that off. You’ll surely win over converts during that meeting.
6. Make A Schedule
Set realistic expectations for every client. Be conservative with your estimates and be honest. Lots of companies will promise all kinds of results they can’t deliver.
Be as transparent as possible and let them know what they can expect. Work hard to over-deliver, but set goals that you know you can meet month after month. This too will help build trust.
7. Compare Results
Let your clients know what other clients have seen and what can be expected. Show them the extremes of both and what is typical on average. Let them know what they can do to help the results take hold so that everyone is working together toward a common goal.
Help them to find out more about how SEO and design solutions can be used to build a company’s brand.
8. Stay Relevant
While you might know what is good in general, you need to be listening to your client. Understand what they need and respond to their feedback. While you might be impressed by another company’s success story, they might not find it relevant.
Make sure every scenario is relevant to their success.
9. Be Concrete With Sources
Once you start gathering data from implementation of your SEO case study, show how you got those results. If you’re still in the preliminary phase, stay concrete.
Be concise with the data. If you can fit it into a simple chart or graph, don’t add extraneous facts. While you should be transparent, you should also know when you could steer your conversation into the weeds.
10. Make a Thoughtful Conclusion
Your conclusion should have concrete answers in it but it should also leave paths for continued success. Leaving a few paths to pursue will allow you to give your client options without determining their future. If they follow the steps you’ve laid out incorrectly and fail, you don’t want them blaming you.
Make Your SEO Case Study Speak To Everyone
Your case study will be ready by people at all levels of the company you’re working for. Make sure that it can make sense to anyone who picks it up. Don’t get lost in unnecessary terminology or when terms are absolutely necessary, include a footnote to define the term.
If you’re looking for easy ways to communicate SEO terms, check out our glossary of definitions.