In advertising, past work is one of your company’s most valuable assets. It shows that the copy on your site isn’t just fluff — you’re really committed to the values you claim to stand for, like top-notch customer service or high-quality products and services.
Showing off past work, however, can be tricky. Not only do you have to sort through all the work your business has done, you’ll also have to figure out how to present it. For B2C businesses, this challenge can be even more daunting.
There are a wide variety of techniques out there that you can use to show off your business’s past work. These are four of the best options available.
1. Case Studies
For B2B and B2M businesses, one of the most popular ways to show off past work are through case studies — in-depth descriptions of past projects that use visuals, numbers and writing to break down the product or service you provided a client, and how you overcame challenges while trying to provide that service.
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For example, see this case study from The Anstadt Company, which specializes in print marketing materials.
The page breaks down a particular job that the company had worked on in the past, including info on how the design team approached a problem their client was having and how the client felt about the finished products.
These case studies both show off the benefits of working with your company — like the new design and improvement in attendance — as well as the thought process behind your work.
This can make customers more confident in work. Case studies like these show off how you can solve problems as they emerge and work closely with a client to create a product or service that really meets their needs.
2. User-Generated Feedback
When shopping online, consumers often start with research. One of the most popular research methods is to search for user-generated feedback, typically in the form of online reviews.
You’ve probably done this yourself. You may have quickly checked the reviews on a big platform like Amazon or Google before committing to a particular product or business.
Consumers put a lot of faith into these reviews — according to one recent survey, 84% of people trust online reviews just as much as recommendations from friends.
Hosting online reviews on your site or storefront is a great way to show off positive feedback from your customers.
For example, an online candle-and-candle-accessory business like Yankee Candle may provide customers with the option to review products they’ve purchased, giving them form fields to highlight both the value and the quality of a product.
Users can also rate reviews, marking them as helpful or unhelpful, providing another layer of user-generated feedback for visitors.
These online reviews will provide prospective customers with feedback from real customers who have experience with your products. Even if these reviews aren’t fully positive, they can make a significant difference in encouraging a customer to try one of your products.
This tactic may be less effective for B2B businesses who have fewer clients, or for businesses that primarily offer customized products or services. However, for most businesses, these reviews can be a valuable tool in presenting feedback on your past work.
3. Design Galleries
You can also let your work speak entirely for itself. Design galleries and similar online portfolios allow you to show off dozens of images of work that you’ve done in the past.
The homepage for RoAndCo, a New York-based design studio, shows off how effective design galleries can be.
The entire front page is basically one big design gallery. Clicking on the left and right side of the screen allows users to scroll back or forth between the studio’s previous design work.
This strategy is ambitious — there’s no context for any of the images, meaning that visitors will miss out on any explanation for images that could have helped to explain how the studio approaches to design.
It is, however, a very visually exciting approach. A similar design gallery could be a great strategy for businesses or professionals that produce lots of visual content — like graphic designers or animators.
4. Customer Testimonials
You can also directly ask your clients for feedback to put on your site. Soliciting customer and client testimonials can give you a valuable, real-world example of the work you’ve done and how you’ve lived up to your brand values in the past.
These testimonials can be an extremely valuable marketing tool that you can use to make your brand seem much more trustworthy. This is especially true if consumers know the clients providing the testimonials.
This page from Booker, the development of online booking software, shows how you can use unique presentations of customer testimonials to highlight past work.
Clicking on the “Watch Testimonial” button opens an embedded YouTube video with a brief, two-minute-long testimonial from one of Booker’s clients. In the testimonial, the client describes the troubles they’ve had with booking in the past and how Booker’s services were able to help them keep their business running.
These testimonials can give customers someone to relate to in your marketing and help you show off the real-world problems that your products have solved in the past.
Showing Off Past Work on a Company Website
If you have company work that you’re proud of, there is a wide range of methods you can use to show it off on your site.
Case studies, testimonials, design galleries and even user reviews can help you show potential customers how you’ve succeeded in the past.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a digital marketing agency before becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and pup, Bear.