Part 2: The Power of the Free Report

by: | August 26, 2011

When used correctly, free reports can be one of the best strategic marketing tactics in your arsenal. In the first part of this series, we covered why free reports can be so successful and gave you some ideas on what sorts of topics to cover. Now, you’ll learn how to write your free report and how to effectively utilize it on your site.

(Part 1 of The Power of the Free Report explains why free reports are so powerful. If you haven’t already, go read it.)

In part 1, we covered how to choose a great topic. Once you’ve figured out your topic, it becomes time to write your report.

Some tips on writing your free report

  • Write like you’re talking to the prospect.
    Which would you rather read: a report that sounds like a legal document or a piece that reads like a friendly conversation?
  • Avoid industry jargon.
    You know your industry in and out, and when you’re talking to colleagues, you use words you understand. That doesn’t mean your customers and visitors will understand them. Resist the temptation to use jargon at the risk of alienating your customers.
  • Add colors and graphics.
    Adding colors and graphics can help support your message and make the report much more fun to read. The more excited your prospect is, the more likely they are to buy from you. Don’t overdo it, though, or you run the risk of making the file size too big or detracting from the information.
  • Offer solutions from your business. 
    After giving the valuable information you’ve promised your visitors, make sure to let them know how your company can help them with their needs. Let them know how the points you outlined in your report relate to your business. This is your report, after all, there’s no shame in plugging your business!

How do you use it on your website?

  • Export your report as a PDF
  • Decide where you want to market your free report on your website.
    You can catch your visitor’s eyes quickly by putting it at the top of the sidebar.
  • Link the call to action to an opt-in page.
    The call to action should lead to an opt-in page that asks the user for their name and email address. This part of the free report process is essential. Once you get their information, you can continue marketing to them long after they’ve left and forgotten about your website.
  • Connect the opt-in page with your email marketing software.
    Whether you’re using Constant Contact or another email marketing system, you can create opt-in forms in the system and put them on your website. By creating these forms, you can create email lists automatically.
  • Expand on the information in the free report.
    You’ve gotten your visitors to the opt-in page, but many people will stop before giving you their information. Make sure to sweeten the deal. Expand a little more on the information they can expect in this free report.
  • Put the link to the report on your thank you page.
    Most email marketing opt-in forms allow you to specify a page to load once your visitor submits their information, often called a thank you page. This is where you want to put the download link to your free report.
  • Email them the report.
    Once they’ve submitted their information, make sure you give them the free report via email too. Send them a thank you for requesting the free report and put the link to the PDF in the email.

Use these tips to create a free report for your website and watch your marketing work for you!Marketing Zeus

Posted in: B2B, B2C, Banner/Display, Branding, Content, Direct Response, Email, Lead Generation, Professional Services, Public Relations

About the Writer:

Born in England and raised in the U.S., Charles Forster is the marketing director and partner at Vine & Grain, a company that creates management technologies for bars and restaurants. Prior to that position, he ran a graphic design company, Call Me Chaz, in Philadelphia, PA and Orlando, FL. He focused on branding, websites, print, video and marketing for small business clients up and down the east coast. He's a self-prescribed car nut and foodie. He's also the curator for This Is Visceral, a site devoted to poster art.

View Full Bio »

More Articles