A case study is an interesting marketing tool for freelancers. It consists of extensive research on a given subject, with the aim of creating knowledge and offering new perspectives. It can serve as a pillar for the development of new studies, or as social proof. It is in this last aspect that a case study can be particularly interesting and useful for freelance professionals.
In this article we will show you what a case study is and give you an example of how to write a freelancer case study. Let’s get started.
- The importance of case studies
- What is a case study?
- Advantages of presenting a case study
- What are the elements that make a case study?
- Creating Effective Case Studies
- Examples of freelancer case study
The Importance of Case Studies
As a freelancer, recommendations are a very powerful marketing tool. By being recommended by someone and painted as a reliable, generous, and easy-going professional, your chances of being hired increase considerably.
Just waiting around for recommendations won’t work, though. Making yourself known is not an easy task: it takes time, investment, and a lot of hard work.
In order for you to take advantage of the full potential of this type of marketing, you will need to not only strive to get good recommendations but develop ways to present your wins to potential customers. The best way to do this is by submitting case studies.
What is a case study?
In the social sciences, case studies offer a very deep analysis of a given subject. In the case of freelancers, we can substitute the term for “success stories”. A case study presents the positive feedback of a client, talks about the positive aspects of a successful endeavor or about a partnership that worked well.
It should be noted, however, that case studies aren’t simply testimonials from clients. The case study tends to be much broader and more complete than a simple statement. It describes the work process in a precise, detailed, and optimized way.
A complete and realistic case study should not only take into account achievements and strengths but difficulties as well.
It is also important to note that there is no universal formula for building a good case study. Each project is unique and should be viewed as such. The essential thing to remember is that the study presented should be motivating and adapted to its proper context. Let’s have a look down below at the elements that make case studies exceptional for your professional marketing.
Advantages of presenting a case study
By learning how to do a case study, you gain access to one of the most powerful and interesting tools that a freelancer can use.
The main advantage of presenting a case study is the social validation and the scope that these surveys offer. These materials are aimed at the general public, thus allowing potential customers to have contact with their level of knowledge and experience on a specific topic or area.
Shown below are the main advantages of presenting freelancer case studies:
1. More sales/More projects
Your goal as a freelancer is to always get more sales or more projects. Or, if you are a highly sought after freelancer, get projects with better terms and conditions.
A case study is an excellent way to show clients your potential and the advantages that your work offers. Potential clients can then get in touch with you with a real project.
We can affirm that case studies have the potential to directly influence the decision of a potential client, which is why it is a strategic part of any good marketing strategy.
2. Case study as a marketing strategy driver
When used in a marketing campaign, a case study can have an impact in two ways: it can increase your professional reputation as a freelancer or be a reference for your future projects.
The most important point about case studies is that, when done well, they showcase your ability to overcome certain obstacles, in order to achieve an established goal. Any client who is interested in hiring your services will feel more confident after taking a look at your case study.
You can also use this material to capture the attention of specialized media. A well-designed case study with relevant specialized information can open the doors to the press, which is always very interesting.
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What are the elements that make a case study successful?
Case studies are all about the people. Personalization is how you relate to other customers and clients and how you help them empathize.
Make sure your case study offers more than just generic descriptions – remember that you need to stand out! – and illustrate, whenever possible, the people and situations mentioned in your study. Real examples give your work credibility!
The next step that makes case studies work well is them being relatable. You want a potential client to look at a case study and think, “Wow, this person had the same problem as me and this freelancer managed to solve it! I’m going to send them an email now!”.
This means that you need to know who your target audience is and how to reach them. If you often do projects for small businesses, provide a case study that demonstrates this rather than showcasing a project with a large company. In doing so, you may end up making small businesses believe that you are inaccessible to them.
Another important element of a good case study is the story, which must be concise and well structured. In other words, it’s about good storytelling. That can mean following simple rules like introducing the original problem of a client first, elaborating on your method next and inserting their positive feedback as a conclusion.
These are writing techniques that we use almost subconsciously. When writing a case study, ask yourself, “Is this story good and is it told in a way that showcases your abilities?” If your answer is yes, you’ve probably got yourself a decent case study.
Storytelling can help you boost your freelance career. Once you finish this article, check out our article on how you can use storytelling as a freelancer!
How can you write effective case studies?
1. Encourage clients to give you feedback
The first step in creating a case study for your freelancer business is to create incentives for clients to give you feedback. Sending an email at the end of a completed project and asking how the client feels it went, for example, can go a long way.
If you want to go further, create a short questionnaire and send it to your clients at the end of a project. This is not only a great way to understand what works and what doesn’t. It’s also an essential first step towards creating a case study.
2. Do an in-depth interview about what they liked
After you get some feedback, you can choose to go one step further and do an in-depth interview. This will work best with clients who are eager to talk about how they feel about the project.
If someone is reluctant at the first stage, don’t pressure them into an interview. You’ll be wasting your time and bothering them with something they don’t want to do. Focus on the people who have stories they’d like to share – that’s where the best case studies come from.
3. Add visually appealing elements
Case studies composed of large amounts of text won’t always be able to catch the reader’s attention and will most likely be ignored. Yes, those paragraphs may be incredibly well written and might contain the best things a client has ever said about you, but they just won’t work as a standalone.
Remember, case studies are about personalization and relatability. You will need visual help for that – that can be a lot of things, depending on the project: A picture of your client, an image of the site you created, a graph showing the traffic spike after you wrote an article for them, etc. Those will act as eye-catchers and make sure your great case study doesn’t get overlooked.
Example of a Freelancer Case study
Case study – Sun-activated advertising
Objective: Find a way to promote Neutrogena’s new line of sunscreens for sunny days.
Description: Neutrogena is a brand specializing in dermatological products. The company intended to announce its new line of sunscreens for sunny days, but did not intend to follow the traditional line of advertising on mobile weather applications.
- Activation of a mobile campaign only during sunny hours
- Intention to advertise on mobile devices, presenting advertising to the most relevant target audience
- Neutrogena did not want to limit its campaign to meteorological applications, as it knew that these applications are full of information that users only access for a few seconds
- High competition niche
- Target audience defined as women concerned with daily skin protection. Aged between 24 and 54 years old.
- Target audience aware of the impact of the sun on the skin, but willing to play with their children outdoors, taking appropriate protective measures.
- Using technology based on location and weather conditions, Neutrogena was able to use its advertising budget more strategically and efficiently.
- The campaign took into account several factors before presenting an ad, which was automatically created taking into account the distance to a store, the time of day and the type of landscape.
- Neutrogena’s mobile advertising campaign allowed ideal UV conditions to automatically activate advertising for the “Neutrogena Beach Defense” product line.
- The Neutrogena campaign increased the level of knowledge about Neutrogena Beach Defense products from 0 to 63%
- Purchase intentions rose 43%
This is a concise example of the potential that a case study can have. When reading this information, people can see the creative way that Neutrogena used to present a new product to the market.
Additionally, by observing the results, it can be seen that the campaign was not only creative but really relevant as a marketing and advertising tool.
Have you ever written case studies for your freelancer business? Share your stories with us and the freelancermap community in the comment section below this article!