I want you to think back to a time where you did a thing — maybe at work, maybe not — and it was great.
It was so good that your client, or team, or boss, was super happy. You felt satisfied. You showed everyone that might have been interested.
Got that picture?
Right. Now think of what it might mean to have done that but realised a long time later that it started as something else. Crazy, right?
I did that in 2015 or 2016. I worked on a project that was a free download. A honeypot, if you like. Marketers call them ‘lead magnets’: In exchange for someone’s email address, you give ’em a freebie.
It wasn’t until later that I saw it for what it was: A case study.
It was so good that every single person who read it wanted to book the client.
It was built on a compelling, true, story of someone the client worked with. It told his story about how he’d bought a house using his entire budget, without getting it inspected.
The problem was that, because he didn’t get it inspected, he didn’t know to make a lower bid for the property. Even if he’d bid a hundred thousand lower, he’d have won it at auction.
Then afterwards, he had to somehow find almost another hundred thousand to fix the problems that emerged. Problems that the inspector would have found ahead of time.
It is an incredibly compelling story, because it’s like an onion. This amazing thing happens, boom! Then a small problem, and a bigger problem, and a bigger problem again. The designer who worked on it did an amazing job of capturing the emotional tension throughout. (Thanks, Lucinda!)
As a case study, it was incredibly effective — in testing.
The trouble was, the client didn’t end up deploying it because of tech issues.
If he had, he would’ve been fighting people away.
Such is the power of the right case study. It creates suction and draws people into your vortex.