How to create case studies that turn prospects into paying customers

Photo by Christopher Sessum used under creative commons

Photo by Christopher Sessum used under creative commons

One of the most powerful way to increase your chances of turning prospects into customers is to create convincing case studies.

Essentially a case study is a success story of one of the projects or clients that you have worked with in the past.

Often, these case studies can be the tipping point that takes a client from being on the edge of hiring you, to taking the plunge and awarding you the project.

Yet many creatives don't ever create case studies, and often those that do approach them the wrong way. 

The goal with this blog post is to explain the proper way to create case studies that will convert prospects into customers.


What information should be on a case study? 

Case studies don't need to be long or complex but they do need to include the following information.

  1. Basic explanation of who the client is
  2. Description of the situation when you met the client
  3. Description of the intervention or services that you performed for the client
  4. The end result of the intervention
  5. A customer testimonial

This is all that a case study needs to be.

You don't need every nitty gritty detail, instead you want to focus on what problem the client had and how you solved it. 

Case studies can be a huge waste of time when people try to turn these into massive projects.

The truth is that case studies are generally only skimmed over by prospects.

Keep them short and to the point. 


How to get the testimonial

It is simple, just ask for it.

After a successful engagement, send the client a simple e-mail asking if they would be willing to write a 2-3 sentence testimonial.

If you don't hear back in a few days, or the clients says they are busy, then try this approach. 

Write the testimonial for them

Write 2-3 sentences from their point of view raving about their experience working with you.

When you e-mail this to the client, give them a way out. Let them know that this is something you put together and they can either approve it, scrap it, or use it as a base for writing their own.

Add a picture

Whenever you plan on using a testimonial, be sure to include a photo of the client next to the testimonials. 

Having a photo of a person next to the testimonial will significantly improve the attractiveness and believability of the testimonial. 

Jake was great to work with while building our site. He was very responsive and easy to communicate with. I had a strong vision for what I wanted the website to be and Jake was able to execute on that and create it. I would highly recommend working with him.
— Justin Merino, Founder of Kulturspace

How to package a case study?


My preference is to package case studies into a PDF format. When you do this, it makes it extremely easy to attach the case study to an e-mail, or add it on to the end of a proposal with a client.

I aim to keep all case studies at a maximum of one page, regardless of how large the project was. 

Don't underestimate the power of design on your case studies.

When you present these case studies to the client, they will evaluate the quality of the case study as well as the quality of the project described within.

Consider making the small investment into having the case study professionally designed. It can make all the difference helping you appear professional to potential prospects.


Web page

Another way to package your PDF is on a web page of your portfolio site. This not only creates a case study to use as a sales tool, but you have the chance that someone visiting your website stumbles upon it as well. 



Video can be an extremely powerful way to communicate a case study to a client.

A short highlight reel that demonstrates those same five points as explained below in a video format can go a long way.

Try to keep highlight reels to a maximum of two minutes.


How to use case studies to close more sales


Whenever you send out a quote or proposal to a new prospect, attach a case study to the e-mail.

Try to keep these case studies relevant to the clients you are actually serving. If you do so it will greatly increase your chances of closing the proposal.

Cold E-mails

Once you have a case study with a raving testimonial, use that case study to reach out to new prospects.

Search for 30-50 clients from around the country with a similar business and e-mail them with an offer. Be sure to attach the case study to give your offer relevance. 

Sales tool

When you have a new interested prospect who is wanting to learn more about you and your services, send them case studies that are relevant to their needs. 


The unseen benefit of case studies

Case studies are more than just a way to package and show your work to clients.

They are a way to tell the client that you are a professional. 

You don't need case studies for every project, but having 2-3 on hand can help you land more clients and make more sales.  

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