Providing your prospects or customers with information products is a great way to provide extra value or to provide an incentive for them to make a purchase or to register for your ezine or newsletter. And if you write a report or article and provide it as a free download from your web site, you have no printing or delivery costs and you can drive traffic to your site.
If you don’t like discounting your products or services, but are looking for another incentive to get customers to buy or opt-in to your mailing list, offering free information as a special bonus is a great alternative.
Do you have a new product or service, or a special package or pricing that you’d like to promote? Put the link for your free report on the page of your site that promotes that product or service. You can also market in reverse. Include the web page link you want to promote in the signature on your free report. Send prospects or customers to your web site for more information on the report topic.
Or position your product or service as a great solution to a problem your report addresses. Just be sure your report includes plenty of good content. You don’t want your prospects or customers to be upset when they take the time to download and read your report, only to find out it is merely an ad for your services. Provide good information. Address your customers concerns. Provide tips or solutions that will help them with their business, their relationships, their health and fitness, or whatever aspect of their life your product or service addresses.
Think about the expertise and experience that you have that your customers could learn from. What knowledge do you have about your industry that might be helpful? What types of questions do you hear from customers and prospects most often? Answer them in a free report. What do they have trouble with?
Help them with it through a how-to article. If you work in a business-to-business field, can you provide a checklist of what to look for (or look out for) when comparing products or service providers in your category?
Be creative. Write about what you know. And, what you know will help your customers.
10 Ideas For Creating A Special Report
Special Reports can cover any number of topics. Following are 10 ideas you may want to consider.
- How-To Articles. These could be how-to-buy, or how-to-do something related to your product or service.
- Special Reports. Write an article on a topic related to your business that you know a lot about.
- Customer or Industry Survey Results. Conduct an informal customer survey and publish the results, or report on results of an industry survey.
- “What to Look For” reports. Provide your customers or prospects tips on what to look for before making a purchase in your product category.
- “What to Look Out For” reports. Provide tips on things to watch out for when shopping or comparing products or services in your industry.
- Shopping Checklists. Provide a checklist your prospects can use when comparing products or service providers.
- Top 10 Problems or Mistakes. Provide a list of the top 10 problems consumers face with regard to your product or service category.
- Top 10 Ideas or Solutions. Provide solutions to those problems!
- Quizzes and Inventories. Create a quiz or an inventory consumers can take to evaluate their knowledge or fit for a product or service.
- 10 Most Common Questions. Present a list of questions you hear most often in your industry, and provide answers to those questions.
Want to use special reports to market your product or service, but you’re not much of a writer?
You have two choices.
- You can hire someone else to write for you.
- Or you can learn how to write. My suggestion is that you learn how to write. Writing is a skill that can be learned. And if you are writing about an area that you have expertise in, you are the best person to share that information with your prospects and customers. Take a writing class at your local community college or adult school. Learn the basics of good grammar and then write, write, and write some more. Practice, practice, and practice some more. The more you write, the better you will become.
Register for and read free newsletters, ezines and reports so you can get a feel for how they are written. There is so much information available via the web; take advantage of it. Until you perfect your writing skills, always have someone else proofread and edit what you have written.
They will catch things that you miss. They will tell you if something is unclear or confusing. It’s even a good idea to keep this up once you get good. Proofreading and editing your own work is difficult. And typos and mistakes don’t reflect well on you or your business.
So if necessary, hire someone to do your writing until you learn or improve your skills. But do acquire the skills. Strong writing and communication skills will always benefit you in business and in life, so it will definitely be time well spent.
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa, 10stepmarketing
About the author
(C) Copyright 2005 Debbie LaChusa 20-year marketing veteran Debbie LaChusa created The 10stepmarketing System to help small business owners successfully market their business, themselves without spending a fortune on marketing. To learn more about this simple, step-by-step program and to sign up for her FREE audio class and FREE weekly ezine featuring how-to articles, tips and advice, visit http://www.10stepmarketing.com