Customer Experience

White noise: How a report can attract new customers

Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

Morris Kaplan
Smarter Writer

Morris Kaplan is a former finance and venture capitalist who writes for entrepreneurs and professional services firms

Increasingly professional service firms are using the ‘free report’ or ‘white paper’ as a marketing strategy, and here's why.

Whether you’re running a building inspection service, selling plantation blinds or offering legal services, the free report or white paper be a highly cost effective method for attracting new cllients and growing existing customer relations. 

Getting someone to click on your offer and drop their name and email address in today’s competitive environment is a must-do activity. The bottom line is that you had better work out how to offer free or trial samples and set the rules in place before your competitors do.

Child with lollipop sitting down using a computer

Professional service firms, for example, need marketing collateral unless the potential client has been referred to the firm. A prospective client looking for a financial planner may do a search online and may come across a firm that is located in their suburb. They would almost certainly need to establish that the prospective firm is trustworthy, competent and suited to their needs. A report or white paper can have the effect of establishing trust and authority if it is professionally prepared and appropriately presented on the website. 

The right title and content is critical; “A Guide to Financial Planning” won’t have the same impact as “Five Years to Financial Freedom,” which can result in more leads. The content needs to have substance and satisfy the prospective client enough to leave their contact details.

Hot tips

1. What is the desired length of the report or white paper?

Most reports and white papers are between eight and ten pages in length. Just make sure you include enough information to adequately cover your topic but not so much that you bury your reader in unnecessary details.

2. What challenges will resonate with your reader?

What business or technical challenges do you want to address in the report/white paper? These are the problems that your products or solutions help solve. 

3. Do you have current statistics, relevant data, industry stories, or customer examples to underscore the difficulty of these challenges?

A professional copywriter with experience in your industry could also help with brainstorming ideas and writing the report.

4. Do keyword research

Sign up for free tools such as Google AdWords and take a look at Google Trends to discover the actual keywords customers enter in Google to find the type of products and services you offer. This shouldn’t be a guessing game!

Debunking marketing myths

One marketing myth that needs to be put to rest is that these hyper-fast days, nobody will read anything. It’s completely false. People will read more than you can ever imagine about something, if they are interested in the topic or the service. 

A prospective client may read blogs, articles, reports and reviews of product, as well as price comparisons, and then give a call for a quote or estimate. In other words, lots of solid information sells. It convinces, it persuades, and it works. 

One thing you and every other professional or service provider should have on their website is an article, report, white paper, eBook or workbook to give away. You’re the expert; you have the knowledge; so show your authority on the topic and give it to them!

Your visitor will see the blurb for your report and then give you their name and email address which gets added to your list, which then allows you to send emails to them with more valuable material and a sales pitch or two.

Great hint

Give readers more, not less. They want more useful information that will help them be more successful in one way or another.

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