Landing page analysis of „Crafting Effective Case Studies“ by Jordan Aspen (Elisheva)


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From Jordan Aspen (Elisheva) I received an email with a request to analyze jordanelisheva.com/case-study-course. According to Jordan, the analysis is intended to be made in the mindset of a reader that is at stage 3 or 4 of the buyer’s journey. So, I am that reader.

Quick reminder of what these stages mean:

Stage 3: That person and Jordan are an acquaintance to each other. They’ve met. He or she became a reader of Jordan’s content through a blog post, newsletter, tweet or a video. There’s a real connection because parts of Jordan’s content were relevant to him/her.

Stage 4: Jordan is an asset to that person because he/she gained actual value out of what he/she read from Jordan, applied what he/she learned and is seeing results.

In her email, Jordan mentioned two stages (3 and 4). In this case, I decided to analyze as a stage-3-person because when in doubt I usually go for the more conservative option.

I know Jordan personally through an online community that we’re both part of. We also met in person once. I know about her sewing background and that she’s a poet and a writer now. Her client work is around writing case studies.

Also, I bought the course that she’s been offering on the landing page that she submitted to me. But my purchase decision was not based on her landing page, my trust in her abilities to teach me well was based on me knowing her as the „case study writing“ lady. Also, for me she’s a good person because when I was in a situation of help she (to be precise, her husband) helped me out. That played a role as well.

The goal of the analysis

As a reader at stage 3 that I’ll be representing throughout the analysis, Jordan wants me to move to stage 4. Although it would be a step forward in the buyer’s journey at that stage I would still not yet be ready for a purchase. Therefore, the landing page needs to provide value (or point me to value) that I can apply myself and see results. Then I’d move up to the next stage.

To emphasis that, in this landing page analysis it’s not about the conversion in terms of a purchase. As stage 3 reader, I need value from Jordan so I can move up to stage 4. So, the analysis is about whether she can make me move up or not.

Read below my thought process during the analysis. I recommend to open the screenshot of the original page in parallel to reading the analysis. To see the final result including my amendments open this screenshot.

Analysis

I’m opening jordanelisheva.com/case-study-course. It’s not my first visit of Jordan’s page, and I also analyzed her front page some time ago in another context. But it’s the first time that I’m putting my analytical eye on the particular landing page she had submitted.

Remember, I’m writing as a reader at stage 3 of the buyer’s journey. So, I’m aware of what Jordan is about and I know that her content on writing case studies has been relevant to me. I’ve even been subscribed to her newsletter where sometimes something caught my attention but not every email from her was a „home-run“ to me.

The page is open and I see black text on white background. Visually, the strongest contract I can imagine. It’s about writing. So, that makes sense and it’s no surprise to me since I’ve known her page to be white-black all the time. Generally speaking, the familiarity of the design gives me a good feeling.

The top part

I’m seeing the logo and navigation menu on the top of the page although the bolded header „Get great clients to hire you!“ caught my attention first. It’s a clear promise and a concise tagline. Short and easy to understand. Very good!

But something felt „off“ the more often I was reading the header. I think it’s the two words starting with the letter „g“. - in general I would avoid the clash of two words starting with he same letter. Here’s my suggestion:

Make great clients hire you!

Getting is different from making. „Getting“ sounds passive, like luck or being dependent on someone else. „Making“ sounds like I’m in the position to actually influence to have great clients. That works and looks better from my perspective.

After some thinking (and going down her page to learn more what her offer is actually about) here’s an even more appealing headline:

Get the work you love from clients you admire!

That’s better and my no. 1 headline suggestion for Jordan.

I just opened another browser tab to have her page open because I will make immediate changes on the page using the browser’s HTML inspector. That’s why I’m seeing the <title> tag:

case study course — jordan elisheva

I would change it to the actual name of the course:

Crafting Effective Case Studies - Learn to get more work you love — jordan elisheva

Moving on, the logo and navigation on top distract me. I’d recommend to remove them from this landing page. I’d also remove the top margin, as you can see in this CSS:

#page { /* margin-top: 50px; */ …

A landing page has one sole purpose: Make the reader take one clear action. A menu invites the reader to click around and explore. Although I’m not looking for the purchase in a straight-forward manner I want to be guided on the landing page. Guide me, Jordan.

I’m then seeing her saying:

Learn to put past projects to work by turning them into case studies.

Interesting. I can use projects that I already completed and make case studies out of them? That doesn’t sound like extra work, super! There’s only one concern: Do I have to remember the project details? Because that one project I would like to use for my case study happened some time ago. Maybe that’s some heavy „memory work“ on my side. So, maybe it’s actually harder than I thought to „case-study“ past projects? I’m unsure how much work is involved in writing a case study. However, I’m not feeling discouraged, and I continue reading.

I’m then seeing a quote by a woman called Laci. She’s not new to me. I’ve known her from the same community that Jordan and I are part of. I’m positively surprised to see her statement being there. In her quote she’s addressing one my key concerns, that writing case studies is a hard job. I liked when I read:

I now know how to get more of the kind of work I love.

Since Laci is a sympathetic person to me and because I believe what she’s saying is true, Jordan just received more trust points from me. But, in order to identify myself better, I’d like to see a guy there as well (and generally more testimonials). Also, I would like to see Laci’s photo being bigger. No reason to hide it in small thumbnail size.

A bit later, after I had scrolled down the page more, I realized that Laci’s testimonial came too early. Let her be a „secret weapon“ and place her a bit later. Before you show her create a bit more awareness about the value of case studies in general, then elegantly lead to Laci’s statement.

Here’s my suggestion for the amended first part before Laci’s quote (and actually leading to Laci’s words):

Get more work you love from clients you admire!

Learn to build trust, show expertise and tell a story through case studies

Case studies are your express ticket to get the great projects you’ve been hoping for. You don’t buy them, you create them. They don’t cost you money, they make you money. And the more you have the more likely will you attract your dream clients.

Your past work kicks off a case study. Pull them out of the shelves, chose one project, revise and polish it. Then half of the work is already done. Once you remember how the project went, tell it as a story. Use simple words and make it relatable. You don’t know if your story is any good? Tell it to a child and watch its level of attention. If it stayed connected, you did a good job. If it started to look around, you need to revise. Exactly, that’s what I’m here for.

My name is Jordan Aspen, my specialty is writing professional case studies. Effective case studies make great clients want to hire you, and they’re not as dry as you might think they would be.

One of my students said:

I thought writing case studies sounded meticulous and exhausting. Jordan taught me that case studies are about telling a story — they don't have to be boring! I now know how to get more of the kind of work I love.

— Laci McCabe, Personal Chef + photo

Above and below Laci’s testimonial I removed the horizontal lines (the „hr“ tag), the vertical align to the left is a good-enough indicator of it being a quote. No need to mark it up more.

Also, I find the paragraph text hard to read. Hence, I increased the paragraph font size from 16px to 20px. Looks much better now.

In the CSS code, I also commented out the width (60%) because for my reading experience the big margins on the left and right didn’t work well. Here’s the CSS code:

.collection-type-page #page, .not-found-page #page { /* width: 60%; */ …

Next section: Talking about trust

I’m seeing the header:

Prove to potential clients that they can trust your expertise.

I would write:

Build trust and earn new clients

If you gained their trust you’ve proven to be trustworthy to them and to be the expert they were looking for. But I’m suggesting to use this header a bit later.

The following paragraphs I would rewrite like this:

Your portfolio is the obstacle

Blogging weekly and posting on social media every day is tiring, I know. You’ve worked hard to create a beautiful Instagram grid and you’re constantly searching for a way to keep your content relevant and evergreen at the same time.

Instagram makes for a beautiful portfolio. People like your stuff and more fans start following you but clients still aren’t knocking on your door. Why aren’t the clients coming? How can you stand out when there are a million others vying for attention?

You need to fix your portfolio. Make your past work seen as professional, not just pretty.

A great portfolio is highlighting the right projects. The right projects show that you are a professional who helps your clients achieve success. What’s missing is trust.

Build trust and earn only great clients

Now, I’m the leaving the header „Build trust and earn only great clients“ hanging in the air for a bit. I’ll continue filling the paragraph later. Also, notice that I changed the second part of the header to „earn only great clients“ because it’s more powerful than just saying „earn new clients“.

Last section: I’m seeing the logo for the first time

The logo of the course is shown, too late. Put the logo to the top of the page to set the stage.

I’m seeing the box with „The FREE Quick-Start Guide“ and because I scrolled down before a bit I saw it’s 3 times on the page. Reduce it to only one box so you’re having one call to action (CTA). Your page is not (yet) so long that you need to show the the CTA three times, especially when appearance 2 and 3 of the box are directly next to each other. Consequently, I deleted the box’s first appearance.

I’m also having the feeling that I’m missing imagery, illustrations or something more pleasing for the eye in general. This would add real value to the overall experience. I’m thinking of how Zell has done it on learnjavascript.today. He did an excellent job and his launch was a success!

Connecting the header I left hanging („Build trust and earn only great clients“) this is how I would change the copy that’s starting with „People need to know you do good work…“:

A portfolio of pretty images can help you be known as an artist. A list of big-name clients can impress. But until a new client cannot imagine exactly what it’s like to work with you, they are going to hesitate.

People need to know you do good work, but more importantly, you need to illustrate that you are the expert who can help them be more successful. They need to be confident that you are who’s going to achieve their business goals.

Great clients don’t bother you during the project. If your client doesn’t trust your professional process they will try to micromanage you. Of course, you can handle the project from start to finish without their input, but clearly they don’t know that. They don’t know because you didn’t communicate the roles and responsibilities.

I not only changed the text of the sub-header („Attract clients who won’t bother you in the middle of a project.“) but turned it into the first sentence of a new paragraph („Great clients don’t bother you during the project.“) and bolded the sentence so it’s an obvious takeaway for the eyeballs. This also create a nice contrast of stating what great clients do compared to bad clients (see below).

I’m continuing to rewrite the copy:

Bad clients heck in and give input and generally interrupt your process until they drive you crazy. Like a client from hell? Yes, but it’s your responsibility to fix it.

So, what went wrong? And how can you keep this from happening again?

Set clear expectations to prevent a disaster

Well-written case studies help new clients understand and trust your process even before they contact you. It’s then clear to them what they have to do and what you do.

A case study is like a guided test-drive. Your new client sits in the passenger seat and you’re next to him riding the vehicle and controlling the experience. You’re showing him how you start the engine, how you’re steering the wheel and changing the gears. It’s a special car so you’re explaining all steps of the process and what you’re thinking while you’re pressing this or that button. You’re even stopping the car, reviewing and repeating what you said to make sure he’s always on board with what you just told. The story in your case study can’t always go full-speed. You need to pause in your story. That’s why a case study has a rhythm of slow, fast and intermediate moments. You’re in charge of the speed.

Once a client experienced a test-ride with you, he will either want more rides, no more rides or directly take the real ride and work with you. If you make your case study as engaging as an exciting test-drive you will have set clear expectations before the project starts, and you made it an enjoyable experience for the client.

Write so people care

Let’s face it. It’s hard to prioritize writing a great case study when it feels like no one will ever read it. How can you capture and keep your reader’s attention in this TL;DR world?

A story experience is the key, just like the test-drive I just talked about.

With your past project you have the raw material. At first, it doesn’t look like much. There you are, in front of you a collection of deadlines, deliverables, and lots of communication with the client. How to make sense of all the details without boring your reader into coma?

Use a proven Story Experience Formula

You want to read stories where the hero faces a challenge and finds success. Of course, you want to be that hero.

You need a proven formula. A formula will help you write beautiful case studies quickly and efficiently because while telling a great story isn’t easy, it is simple.

Before I was a professional writer I was a seamstress. After over a decade of that work I developed a tried-and-true method of telling the story of my projects. Now I want to share my method with you. That’s why I made „Creating Effective Case Studies“, a guided course through the process of writing your first case study.

Publish your case study in 6 weeks!

Tools are great. They help you create your product. But you don’t just need the tools, you need a process to follow so you can actually write your first case study independent from the tools you chose to work with.

In the course, you will understand why case studies are important, how to write and edit a case study and what makes them an effective „client magnet“.

I’ll guide you through the process of writing your first case study. After six weeks, you will have completed a case study ready to publish and know how to new write case studies in the future.

6 weeks is too much time?

Here are 3 things you can do right now to strengthen your portfolio:

  1. Highlight the right projects

If you’re showing past work you didn’t enjoy doing, why did you include it in your portfolio?

  1. Present yourself as a professional

As a professional you take responsibility and embrace authority. Let your case study project how you solved the problem on your own terms without the client’s supervision or micro-management.

  1. Focus on success

An effective case study shows how you and your expertise helped a client to achieve success.

Get the complete quick-start guide - it’s free!

Learn to clean up your portfolio so it attracts the kind of client you want!

This quick-start guide will help you tweak the way you present your past projects so that people won’t just see pretty, they’ll see professional.

your best email address - Get the free guide!

I’ll also let you know when I’ll open the „Crafting Effective Case Studies“ course again.

© 2018 Jordan Aspen

I didn’t expect it but I went through the whole rest of the copy by adding, editing and removing text so only the essential copy is left.

Last remarks and thoughts

I actually didn’t get the connection to why Jordan was talking about tools in the context of writing a case study. It didn’t feel like an immediate struggle I was having. But I used the tools anyway and incorporated them into the copy so it makes sense and leads to solution (Jordan’s process).

The whole part (bullet points9 of explaining the 3 packages of the course I removed because they’re not relevant for me, I’m not ready to buy. What you can give for free, I’ll get.

Further below, I removed the 3rd appearance of the call-to-action box so only one box is left. And I got rid of the three social media links because they’re all distracting from your actual goal.

I also styled the call-to-action box so it looks like the rest of the page and so I can seamlessly flow into the sign-up form. I’m sure you can do that in your ConvertKit environment or at least by manually editing the HTML/CSS markup.

Conclusion

I believe the three tips to strengthen my portfolio right now that Jordan mentioned on the landing page and in the quick-start guide can help me see actual results. I wouldn’t expect a dramatic effect but it’s definitely a step forward in the right direction. Therefore, I moved from stage 3 to stage 4. Now it’s on Jordan to make me reach stage 5 - where I’m seeing Jordan as an authority and where I’m ready to make a purchase - and eventually stage 6 when I’ll be ready to buy (or buy again, in my case).

The analysis is over but…

Although I concluded the analysis already I want to make some remarks on user flow, on-boarding and communication style.

It was confusing for me that the landing page talked about the enrollment being closed right now („I’ll also let you know when enrollment for the Crafting Effective Case Studies course opens!“) but the second email I received some minutes after I entered my email address to get the free guide told me I could enroll („{enroll now} Thank you for being a part of this launch!“). Fix that consistency issue in your communication. You’re confusing me.

Also, this was the first email I received immediately after I signed up:

Creating a compelling portfolio of case studies can be overwhelming. People tell me all the time that the biggest thing standing in their way is simply not knowing where to begin so I created this quick-start guide to help.

If you implement any or all of these quick actions steps send me a link to your portfolio! I'd love to see it!

LINK TO THE QUICK START GUIDE

There’s no warm welcoming „hi“ or such. This feels very transactional, not relational. Yes, it’s about providing value but at each stage you’re also building up a relationship with your reader (me in this case).

In terms of user flow, I noticed that directly after I hit the button „Get the guide“ I was taken to the PDF. That’s great in theory. But I was missing a short message that my sign-up request was actually successful. So, tell me that my sign-up request worked and then take me to the guide (the PDF). And let me know that you’ll send me the guide to my email address as well. Communicate rather more than less. You usually can’t communicate enough.

Thanks for reading, I appreciate your attention.

Alex :)


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