As someone who is learning about online marketing, and I hope I’m not making an assumption here, you’ve probably seen mentions of reviews or promos as well as case studies. But perhaps you, yourself have only reviewed or promoted products to your online audience – not knowing exactly what a case study entails or how to carry one out. Learning how to make money with case studies is a valuable skill to cultivate and will reward you handsomely.
A case study can be far more lucrative than a simple product review, and it has future earning potential outside of an initial launch period. The great about them is, you can offer a future case study in your promotion and not even have one done yet by the time the launch occurs.
What Is a Case Study?
A case study is when you, as a marketer, apply the knowledge of the product and its lessons, and report back on how it worked out for you. There are a couple of different ways you can do it – a full reveal versus a teaser version, which we’ll discuss in detail. The benefits of a case study for your audience is that they get an added layer of trust of knowing you’ve taken time to adequately analyze and test the product’s teachings before they spend their money on it.
There are three levels of recommendations marketers can make. Promotions are the least effective effort you can put forth. You’re simply mentioning a product without seeing it – maybe for a friend as a reciprocal agreement. The next level is a review. These can be done when the marketer has seen the product and analyzed it for its value, and is passing along that information without taking it for a test drive themselves. Now let’s discuss the third level, where you’ll learn more about how to make money with case studies…
The case study is the most thorough of all recommendations. You’ve either been given or purchased the product yourself and step by step, page by page or video by video, you immerse yourself in it and carry out the instructions. Knowing you were able to do it allows the potential customer to feel confident in their own abilities to carry out the instructions. When you give a real accounting of what it took – and whether or not all of the steps were explained well – it puts their mind at ease.
There are other reasons for carrying out a case study besides making your audience feel good. It has multiple ways you can earn money from it, including the fact that if it’s a make money strategy, you can be setting up a profit puller while you’re showing others how to do it – and earning commissions by doing nothing more than showcasing transparency in the process.
Teaser Versus Full Case Study
When it comes to conducting a case study, there are three ways to do it. You have the teaser case study and a full version, which give you promo profits only. There’s also a verified buyer case study, which we’ll cover shortly, that’s the most in-depth version of all. The teaser case study is when you buy or are gifted the product, implement it, and promote the product based on how well it worked for you. You’re primarily discussing the end results, not every step of the process or any drawbacks and alternatives you may have encountered.
So for instance, you might send out an email discussing a product that “helped you make $1,917 in 3 hours.” You talk about what the product is, and how well it worked for you. It lacks details. You obviously can’t give a detailed case study to people who haven’t bought the product. If you sat there are went through each step on an open blog post for potential buyers, there would be no reason for them to purchase it – because you’re giving it all away.
You have to be very careful not to divulge too much information when you’re promoting a case study in a blog or email to prospective buyers. You might be able to say things like: “I used this Pinterest-based info product to set up a stream of targeted traffic to my site using John Doe’s strategy and within 2 hours, I had my first sale.” You’re giving them a rundown of what happened, without sharing how to do it exactly. It’s okay to even let them know that you can’t share the details because it wouldn’t be fair to the product vendor.
They will ask for the details, so you need to be firm and fair in respecting the seller’s work. You’ll be able to answer questions you’ll know from going through the course, such as, “Will I need to spend any additional money after I buy the course?”
It may turn out that you’ve learned the buyer will need a domain and hosting, or a certain tool the seller is using in the course. You can share the answer to that – the amount that will be required, but don’t go into detail where you explain everything used, why and how. It is important for the prospective buyer to know if there are added expenses, so that’s something reasonable to share in your case study. You can also report how much time it took, if any explanations were lacking where you had to seek out additional tutorials elsewhere, etc.
If you interacted with the vendor in a customer service situation, you can report how that was handled. You can also convey certain things about how you enjoyed the video or text lessons, how well the membership or product system worked for you, and so on.
Verified Buyer Case Study
The most thorough, detailed case study you can conduct, which is recommended as the most lucrative kind, is to carry out a verified buyer case study. You start by announcing that you’ll be conducting a case study on an upcoming product that’s launching or has launched already. Using your affiliate link, you tell your audience that if they purchase through your link, and send you the receipt, you’ll let them have a password or access to your case study as it unfolds (or once it’s complete).
You can either already have this case study completed (if you arranged for advanced access to the product with the vendor) or, simply tell the buyers that the case study will begin on a certain date.
Sometimes it’s best to have it begin after the launch period, usually 4-7 days later, to give everyone time to own it and follow along as you go through it. You can host a case study in a private, password-protected area of your site, like a blog. Go ahead and create the post where the case study will unfold and have the link and password attached as a bonus for those who buy through your link. In the blog, just say something like, “Case study will begin here on (insert whatever date you’re beginning).”
Then, go through the course as you normally would on your own. Only this time, report your findings and results. You can do this in a series or in a single, ongoing post. Sometimes a product only takes a day to go through – but other times, it may take weeks or even over a month, depending on the number of lessons.
One thing you may want to do is invite the vendor to join your case study. This can be awkward if you’re being blunt and honest and encounter things you dislike, but it’s a benefit to the vendor to see where they may need to improve. It benefits your audience because whenever you (or a participant) has an unanswered question or is confused about something, the vendor can jump in and clarify or expand on the information.
You’ll want to be very detailed in this kind of case study. Not only will you talk about likes and dislikes, but if you encounter and snags in completing a step, talk about that – and how you moved past it. If you took a detour and did something else, let the audience know. This is especially useful if you know of a better, faster, cheaper or smarter way to do a step than what the vendor recommended.
Report on the things they’ll want to know in terms of results – like how long it took to see a profit, exactly how much you made versus what you spent, and so on. People like cold, hard statistics whenever they’re investing in something to help them.
You’re going to profit from a thorough case study like this by garnering commissions and also by using your affiliate link as you go through the product whenever other products are mentioned.
For example, if the course mentions that the person needs hosting for their domain, you can insert your affiliate link to a hosting company. Same with tools, software and other elements.
You can even add your link for additional courses, if the one you’re taking lacks detailed information on a certain step. For example, if the course mentions they need to write their sales copy, but doesn’t teach how, you might add a link for a copywriting course you recommend.
You can conduct case studies in any niche – not just online marketing. Once you learn how to make money with case studies, your income is unlimited. For example, if you buy a low carb weight loss course, implement it, do as the vendor says, and report your experience in detail. That would include exactly what you ate, how your body felt (as well as your mind in terms of mood, cravings, etc.), how much weight you lost (or gained), and what kind of money you spent. When you know how to make money with case studies, you are on your way to unlimited income.
Supplemental Course Creation
Another great thing about conducting a case study, private or otherwise, is that it gives you deeper insight into what’s missing – which means you can step up and fill in the gaps for the audience. If you’re capable of creating an info product, you can launch something as a standalone product or as a bonus that works well in conjunction with the original product that has a void that needs filling. The one thing you don’t want to do is mention anything about the previous vendor’s course in your course. You don’t want to reveal what the other person is teaching as their strategy in your sales page. If you want to become proficient with this strategy, learn how to make money with case studies as a priority.
For example, if they have a specific strategy for using Pinterest groups, you don’t want to reveal their strategy in your sales copy for a course on how to make professional looking Pins. You can also create tools that work well for a course, if you come up with something like that. You might create something for graphics or keywords – whatever you think might work well for the course you’re reviewing in the case study.
Follow Up Evergreen Revisits
Case studies are a fantastic way to revisit your original efforts and add more profits to it later. This is beneficial when you’re talking about evergreen products, but it wouldn’t work as well if you’re talking about a case study for a short-lived trend.
Assuming it’s an evergreen strategy, remember, you will have implemented this and should be succeeding with it months (or a year) later. For example, let’s say you set up an affiliate blog using a certain course and strategy.
Your case study could cover the set up process as well as the initial profit from it. But going back to revisit it adds more credence to your review, if it’s still succeeding for you. This time, discuss any tweaks or changes you’ve made over time.
Ask the vendor if, for a few days during your revisit promo, they could allow your new buyers to have a coupon code to get the same launch price as before. There will be many who were reluctant to invest in it, but who now see that it’s still working for you and they regret missing out on it. You may have found other items to promote (and the vendor may have additional courses out that pair nicely with the original one). You can either add those affiliate links to the original post in an update section, or create a brand new private case study post for an update analysis.
Remember when you’re conducting a case study that people are turning to you for a true accounting of whether or not this product is worth buying. Is the value there for the money they’re about to spend? They want to know if you found it difficult or missing too much detail. Were the vendor’s writing or videos hard to digest? Some people will want to know if there are things that turn you off of it, such as a seller slurping their coffee as they teach.
It sounds miniscule in terms of the end result goal, but those kinds of details can effect a buyer’s decision to spend money on a course or pass on it until someone else develops something similar.
If you promise to do a case study, make sure you go through it thoroughly. Don’t try to pass off a review using sales copy bullet points as a case study. Show proof of earnings, examples of things you did to complete the course – and make sure you serve as an extra guide along the way to help them with whatever hurdles they encounter on their own. Knowing how to make money with case studies will always be an excellent way to grow your business.
I’m bestselling Wall Street Journal and USA Today author, marketing strategist, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and I would love to connect further with you to help you to achieve your goals. If you are interested in learning how to optimize the syndication of your content, please take a look at my popular Syndication Optimization training course and consider coming aboard to increase your visibility, credibility, and profitability.