A case for case studies in your portfolio

Last year, while I was following along with my free report, Get Your Website Done: 12 Actionable Steps for Designers to get MY OWN website redone, I switched to the case study model for my portfolio. Well, it’s been a year since I launched my latest website, and I’m super glad I made the switch to portfolio case studies. Today I want to share my first-hand experience about why and how it’s working for me.

The benefits of portfolio case studies

  1. The mirror-effect. Clients can see themselves and their own needs in work you’ve already done. I can’t think of a better way to connect prospect with service provider!
  2. Easier pricing. Clients come to you and say, “How much did this cost?” or “This is what I want.” By making something intangible tangible, you have more specifics to base inquiries on…and a clearer window into what you get for a certain amount of money.
  3. Viewable value. A case study shows the thinking that went into the project and the value of what you’ve provided—not just the deliverables.
  4. Glorious keywords. In addition to speaking right to the needs of your ideal clients, each case study becomes its own page of relevant content that’s chock full of keywords. And Google loves content and keywords! Case studies act as magnets when folks are Google-searching for what you offer.
  5. Refocused focus. Every time you write a case study, it forces you to take a step back from your business and articulate what you actually do, instead of simply saying, “Here are a few pictures.” I find that the process of case study writing helps me stay aware of what I’m actually providing…it keeps me thinking about my target audience, and how I can best speak to them—which is always a good thing.

A few shortcuts to make writing portfolio case studies easier

I know case studies are specific and unique to each project…but that doesn’t mean they have to take forever to create. The information doesn’t all have to come from inside your magical brain. Nope! If your process is organized properly, you probably have a great head start on your next case study. Plus, you don’t have to write a novel. Google will like your case study more if it’s at least 300 words, but oftentimes my case studies end up around the 200 word mark. Whatever word length communicates the challenge and solution to the project is the perfect amount. Here’s how I make case-study-creation quicker and easier:

  • The Challenge: The challenge part of my case studies comes from one of my questions in the Request for Chat form on my website: Why are you reaching out now? In other words, what would happen if you did nothing at all? After the project is completed, I go back and copy/paste/polish the client’s answer to this.
  • The Solution: I use what the client provided in my project questionnaire as a reminder of their initial needs, situation, and project goals. Before I know it, the case study is half written!
  • Testimonials: It’s always smart to include a testimonial in your case studies! That’s not too hard either. Here are some easy ways to get testimonials from clients.

Need a WordPress website that can maximize case studies for you? Let’s talk!

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