Todd Herman is a badass.
He helps athletes and entreprenuers perform at their best.
He wrote The Alter Ego Effect which I loved. And I saw him do an awesome talk at Copy Chief Live.
I went to his site to see if he had full case studies there. Surprisingly, I didn’t find anything.
The only case studies I found were for his 90-Day Year Program. This is an online course that helps entrepreneurs ramp up their productivity.
I’ve heard great things about the program and almost bought it a few times.
The case studies were well done. Here’s a breakdown of what made one of them so awesome — plus a few tweaks that could make them even more powerful.
What’s great about this case study
Todd knows the value of a good case study. So he splurged on high-quality equipment and even spent his own valuable time getting these done.
The interview questions he asked were fantastic. They include:
- Tell me about your background and how you got into business…
- What was your top strategy for getting clients?
- Why did you decide to join the 90-Day Year?
- What problem did you see this solving?
- Did you try other courses or workshops like this before?
- What surprised you about the program?
- What were some of the tangible benefits of the program?
Those are all great for diving into this woman’s journey. I use many of the same questions in my case study interviews.
But where Todd really excels is how he digs deeper with follow up questions.
For example, Todd asked about the struggle Laura (the woman being interviewed) had before she joined the program. Laura talked about how she needed to “get her head stuff right”.
That’s a pretty vague answer. It’s hard for people watching to connect with that. Because “getting head stuff right” can mean different things for different people.
So Todd very smartly drills down on this. He asked her, “When you say ‘head stuff’, what did that look like in your day?”
Laura then went into detail about how she was constantly working and never had a break.
Now viewers who have that same problem will start to go “Oh! That’s exactly how I feel!” And they’ll be hooked because they want to learn how to solve this problem.
And it gets better. Because Todd then goes even deeper. He asks, “How did that affect your personal life? What did that look like?”
Laura then talks about how she’s a mom with young children. And she would have to get up at 6AM to get her kids ready. Then she’d work all day and feel super stressed by the time she had to pick up her kids.
This is fantastic because it raises the stakes. It shows this isn’t just about becoming more productive. It’s not even about growing her business. It’s about her having more quality time with her family.
That’s going to resonate deeply with many viewers because that is ultimately what they want.
Another great trick Todd uses is Summarizing.
After Laura talks, he’ll summarize what she said in a short, clear statement that connects with his audience.
For example, Laura talked about how she had to do everything in her business. So Todd summarized it by saying how she was wearing “different hats” for her business. How she had to wear the “sales hat… marketing hat…” etc.
Many entrepreneurs are in that situation and describe their struggle this way. They talk about having to wear “different hats” so Todd is making sure they clearly see that their problem and Laura’s problem are the same.
After digging into the problem, Todd asks about what other courses and workshops Laura tried. Laura shares how she used other productivity courses but they never helped. This is fantastic because the viewer is likely in the same position — they’ve tried other options but they didn’t work. This helps the viewer see Todd’s program isn’t yet-another system — it’s one that actually gets results.
Following that, Todd asks a few more questions including the best things she got from the program and the tangible results she achieved. All good stuff.
The fact they were able to pack so much into a 15-minute interview tells me one thing: Todd clearly knew Laura’s story before they turned the cameras on.
Having this background allowed Todd to drill into the key parts of Laura’s story quickly.
There are certain places where you can tell this is the case. For example, Todd would tee Laura up to talk about compelling stories, like when he said, “You were actually running 2 business. Tell us what happened to one of them…”
He asked that because he knew the answer was that she closed one of them down because it was a distraction and not helping her move toward her ultimate goal.
If you want a tight 15-minute case study video like Todd’s, it’s critical you do the background research on the person you are talking to before you get on camera. That way you and the person you’re interviewing know the key points to talk about.
When I created case studies for clients like Kevin Rogers, that’s exactly what we did. I did the preliminary interview and sent him a summary of each person’s journey. That way he knew the key points to cover and could get to the meat of the story fast.
So to recap, here are some of the things Todd did to create an awesome case study:
- Invest the time and money needed to make a kickass case study
- Ask great questions
- Ask great follow-up questions that get deeper into the emotions and paint a picture of the person’s journey
- Summarize key points so viewers see how the story relates to them
- Raise the stakes by showing what this story is really about (family)
- Get the full story of your customer before you sit down with them so you can go straight to the good stuff
Now, as awesome as this case study is, I saw a few places where it could be even better. Let’s go over that now:
What could make this case study even better
Here’s a quick list of 6 ways to improve this case study.
1) Start with drama
The most emotionally compelling part of the case study is when Laura talks about being so busy she wasn’t able to spend quality time with her kids. Going into more detail here and painting a picture of what that looked and felt like for Laura would have been great. Many viewers feel some version of this pain and this would agitate that pain. The more they feel that pain, the more willing they will be to buy something that can make it go away.
Along with going into more detail here, I would move this section earlier in the case study. It takes about 4 minutes to get to this because they spend a few minutes going over general background. In my case studies, I cover the background fast and bring the drama front-and-center. This way, people can see this person is like them while also feeling emotionally sucked into the story.
2) Show what makes 90 Day Year unique/better than everything else
We learn that The 90 Day Year worked where other programs failed. But we never learn WHY. What makes this program better than the other productivity courses people try?
Going into detail here would show why buying this program is a logical choice. And giving people a logical reason to buy is critical. It helps them justify the purchase. And if they are in a relationship where financial decisions are made together, it helps them convince their partner this is a good purchase.
Todd could have brought up the specific methods or techniques available in the program and how they helped Luara. That would have helped people see why this program is better than some productivity book.
3) Show how her personal life is different
I loved when Laura talked about the negative impact her busy life had on her relationship with her family. But they never circled back to see how the 90-Day Year solved this problem. They didn’t paint the picture of how she now has fun mornings with her kids or takes evenings off to be with them. There’s no quotes about how she is “finally the mother she always wanted to be”. That could be super powerful but it’s completely missing from the story.
Anytime you bring up a problem the person faced before joining your program, you want to be sure you show how your product solved that problem.
4) More tangible data
Todd asks directly for tangible data and gets a great answer about how Laura doubled her revenue in a month.
But Laura’s problem wasn’t necessarily a lack of income. It was working nonstop. So it would have been great to hear how she cut her workweeks down from 80 hours to 35…. and then hear about how her day-to-day is now compared to what it was before.
5) What fear/reservation did Laura have about joining and how did she overcome it?
This gives you a chance to connect with the same fear/reservations your viewer feels and shows them a way to move past it.
6) What was it like to go through the program? And what big lessons did she learn?
Todd asked about the major benefits of the program — which was awesome. But he didn’t ask about the lessons learned from the course.
This would have been a great chance to highlight the techniques and methods taught inside the course that aren’t available anywhere else. It’s also a chance to actually teach helpful information. For example, they could share an insight or strategy Laura got from the course that helped her save 30minutes a day. That would make the case study immediately valuable. When your case studies are valuable — not just fluffy marketing — people want to consume them and share them. It also triggers “reciprocity.” Your audience will feel more compelled to give you something (like money for your program) because you have already given them something valuable (helpful information.)
How to get awesome case studies for your business
When I do case studies for clients, I make sure to address all 6 points mentioned above.
There’s a lot more we could go into as well but that is plenty for now 🙂
If you want help creating awesome case studies, check out my book Case Studies That Close Sales: A proven formula to attract great customers. You can get it free on my homepage marketingwithbrian.com
And if you’d rather have awesome case studies magically done for you, shoot me an email at [email protected] to get on my waitlist.