Case study gone wrong - Turned into $10 000

We wasted about a week's worth of work planning a case study to attract more clients. It failed but turned into $10 000 in earnings.

Case study went horribly wrong, but still earned us $10 000.
Photo by krakenimages / Unsplash

A while back, we wrote an article on our blog. We wanted to help five business owners get a new and modern-looking website.

We wanted to do a case study to show how a professionally built website could leverage results, especially for small business owners, and then share these results with the world.

This campaign or case study will make us lose money in the short term. But let's be clear, this is also a marketing campaign in itself for Hotkey. So in our mind, by lowering our prices to a minimum, we consider it as marketing spend.

The effort

We built a landing page and spent a few days preparing for this - probably about 3-4 workdays in total.

We also had a few meetings with the team on how we could proceed and how we would want to execute this campaign. In total, we probably spent one week of non-billable time.

The results

Drumroll, please...

We got 0 clients participating in our case study: zip zero, nothing, nobody. Let's explain.

We reached out via email to a veterinarian who had a website that needed some love. But we never heard back from them.

We also had a list of ten companies in total that we had singled out to reach out to via email and phone. But we never got around to doing it. We also created some marketing material to run ads on Facebook, which we never got around to use.  

We created a post on LinkedIn where we encouraged people to give us suggestions of websites that they could nominate, but there were no nominations.

This is starting to sound a bit sad and like a total and embarrassing failure...

The twist

Even if we only got around to doing what I consider a half-ass job of "marketing" our campaign, we managed to get a client through our landing page.

They needed help with other aspects of their business. Mainly design, animations, and UX for a brand new project. Our landing page for our case study/campaign grabbed their attention.

This client alone has generated over $ 10 000 in the last couple of months, and they have already booked us for new projects in 2022.

At the same time, we also onboarded a few other clients and are now fully booked for several months ahead.

We originally planned that the case study/campaign would serve as a marketing stunt and lose us some money short term, but ended up getting clients paying full rate instead.

As we are a small company, we appreciated the twist moneywise. But at the same time, we still wonder how it would have played out if we had followed through with our campaign/case study.

So is the case study dead?

We know for sure that we will try it again later, but with some changes to the method of execution and how it is marketed.

We will write a follow-up article on how it turned out the next time around and what changes we made!

We still want to get in touch with some website owners who would appreciate a new website, even if we are busy with client work until the end of February and releasing our new AI-based writing service: (it is fantastic, you should try it out!).