Learn how to gather information needed to create case studies for your freelance business that highlight what's possible for prospective clients.
While you can get a great testimonial by providing the right prompts after a web design and development project ends, you can get an even better, more compelling story by gathering client feedback and personal experiences throughout the project. Asking the right questions along the way allows you to begin crafting a powerful case study — a story in the clients’ own words — which also makes it much easier to get the case study published down the road.
There are five times in a project or partnership that are perfect for gathering experiential information from your client:
- Progress Check-In
- Wrap Up
- Follow Up
On your initial sales call or during the sales phase, gather information about the current state of the prospect’s business.
Ask the prospective client:
- What is working and not working in your business right now?
- What challenge are you facing?
- Why this project at this time? Why is this project important?
The information gathered during the sales process becomes the foundation for a case study. It gives future prospects a “me too” challenge or problem to identify with and relate to and allows them to see themselves in the story right away.
During the onboarding phase, gather information with a discovery questionnaire and/or on a project kick-off call.
Be sure to ask:
- Why did you choose us?
- What do you hope to achieve? What are your goals and objectives?
- What makes this project a win?
This information helps communicate your value, shares reasons why you’re a great choice with new prospects, and ties your name/brand with specific achievable results.
Check in regularly with clients throughout your work together. It is just as important to personally connect with clients when things are going great as it is when things hit a road bump.
Ask your client:
- How’s it going? How are we doing?
- What’s working great? Where can we improve?
- How is your experience compared to other companies/products you have hired/used in the past?
This information not only helps you become a better service provider, it provides valuable insights into what clients/customers value about you and how you’re different from your competitors.
When the project or service wraps successfully, or after the customer successfully uses the product, they are primed to provide honest, powerful feedback.
Ask the client:
- Did you meet your objectives?
- What are the initial results of completing the project/using the product?
- What was your experience like working with company/using product?
- What would you say to someone else considering hiring company/buying product?
- Have you received any feedback from your audience or clients?
This information is the culmination of the case study story. It confirms you helped them meet their objectives and reach their goals, provides the initial benefits experienced as a result of the client hiring you or buying your product, demonstrates why someone should take action, and reinforces why a decision to move forward is a smart idea.
This is where most people stop.
They finish the project, ask about initial results, write a basic case study, and move on. It’s a smart strategy because it gets the case study done and published, but the most powerful information to include in a case study comes later, from additional follow up.
When a project is first completed or a product is first used, results are going to be minimal because it’s brand new. Go ahead and write and publish the case study, but set a reminder in your calendar to follow up at a later date.
You need time to truly see the real impact the service/product has on a business or life and you need time to get specific figures of major transformation.
After a certain amount of time has passed, follow up with your client/customer and ask:
- What results are you experiencing so far?
- How has completing the project/using the product impacted your business or life?
- Can you share any specifics?
This information provides concrete, real world results and valuable insights into the true impact your product/service has had. Ideally it gives you specific, quantifiable achievements, facts, and figures to add to your case study, making it even more impactful. At the same time, following up shows your clients/customers that you care about them and their success.