How do you know whether to offer a white paper or a report? Simple. Test it in your advertising. Send half of your leads a white paper, and the other half a report. Whichever gets the best response wins. It’s that easy.
Since this course is about lead generation I won’t spend a lot of time on how to write a report or white paper, but I – Highly — recommend getting Perry Marshal’s course on writing and marketing white papers: The Definitive Guide to Writing and Promoting Whitepaper.
Here’s a few secrets to writing and leveraging reports and white papers:
- A good report is one that has quality, useful information that your prospect can benefit from, and at the same time sells your products and services. Don’t bore your reader even if you are selling what you perceive as a boring product or service. There is always a compelling story, benefit, case study etc. that you can draw from for every facet of your product or service.
- The key is to write like you were right in front of your prospect, explaining why the must use your products and services.
- Write down anywhere from 3-7 problems that you know your potential prospects have, and then write about how your product or service solves the problems.
- Record conversations with clients and prospects in person and on the phone (if you are worried about legal issues check your state laws) and pick out all of the best selling points (or problems and solutions).
- Record several times because you might feel strange at first and that will ruin your ‘flow’.
Recording your sales conversations is a very powerful technique. You will use it to write your report or white paper, and you will use it in your advertising. It’s the most effective way to uncover most important details that you forget about when you are writing your ads and educational reports.
Now that you have your reports together, I strongly recommend ‘splintering them’. What I mean is, each problem and solution you wrote about can be a separate report or white paper. You might be thinking, “Aren’t reports and white papers supposed to be like 15 or 30 pages?”
The answer is ‘No’. According to a white paper marketing guru, Perry Marshal, they can be 1-2 pages.
“You don’t have to give the person an exhaustive technical treatise, you only need to give them knowledge that enables them to DO something. White papers are not theoretical. They are action-oriented. So make a list of two or three or five things you want your customer to know how to do as a result of reading your white paper, then just tell them how.”
The Definitive Guide to Writing and Promoting Whitepapers.
What you are doing is leveraging your information in several ways.
The perceived value of your reports and guides increases exponentially by having 4 or 5 versus just one.
The physical product will have a higher perceived value simply because it looks ‘bigger’.
You can create several different ads offering one report or white paper to see which one is getting the best results.
Each report or white paper can work for you over and over for years to come.
But that’s not all. One of your first steps to marketing your information is to write a press release for each report and fax, mail, and use PRWeb.com to distribute the reports to major media, and industry media.
Some of your best leads will come as a result of your press release. You may get an interview, an article, and at the very least you’ll get links back to your site which will help you generate qualified traffic and therefore…leads. And it was all for a few bucks.
- Tip: Send a press release often. Especially after each report, guide, or white paper. Even after writing a simple article on your website. So long as any effort you make has actionable information a prospect can use, you should write a press release and distribute it. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Do all of the above. You will thank me for it later.
You should be able to accomplish both of these steps in a few days. You may have to sacrifice a family dinner or not watch TV for a night or two, but it will pay off big dividends.
- Tip: Hire an experienced ghost writer to write your reports. Be sure they have skills in copywriting more than they do for technical writing. As I mentioned above, your report or white paper should keep your reader engaged to the point that by the end they are scrambling to contact you.
Getting Your Reports and White Papers Into The Hands Of Hungry Prospects:
I’ll skip the PR part because I covered it above. If you didn’t read it, you should. It may be the most important action you take when it comes to marketing your report or white paper.
After you write your report, it’s time to write your ads (and press releases), and direct them to your lead generation website.
I gave you some actual ad examples above (for Google Adwords), but let me give you more, plus a few very important advertising tips:
These ads are worth testing, and you can model them in your industry. But I wrote four of them because you want to test different ads to see which ones get the highest clickthrough rates. Google makes this very easy, and they actually rotate the ads for you.
In my tests the word ‘Secret’ pulls the best response (in most cases).
However we get people to our website, it’s still too early in the relationship to try and sell something. We’re still at the lead generation stage. That’s why you offer free reports, guides, whitepapers and even mini courses…
Because you want to get the click, and get them to type in their information which GIVES YOU PERMISSION to contact them again.
Here is a good example of a web page which is generating leads:
This page pops up after you try to close the main sales page (which is really good on its own), and it could be a standalone landing page for lead generation:
There’s more to it than this, but it basically promises a free set of plans. And all it asks for in return is your name and email address, to send the stuff to. It’s commonly referred to as a ‘name squeeze page’.
This is a terrible website. They may be making money, because they have a fantastic domain name, and they’ve obviously been around for years, because they’re highly rated by Google, but they have spent up big on this, and they’ve waited years.
The first web page and pop up you saw is the one to model, because it’s attempting to do only one thing – generate a sale or a lead. After that, you can market to those customers and leads as much as you want.
You should test:
- A picture of yourself.
- A picture of your product.
- A picture of someone using your product.
- A header.
- No header.
- And more.
Testing is important. You should try to test all of the above separately (except for a picture and audio. You can have both…an audio of you welcoming and selling your prospect on getting your email course or report).
It may look like a lot of work but all it takes is a few clicks or an email to your webmaster.
Once the person enters their name and email into the boxes, their details go into an autoresponder. An autoresponder is a service which automatically sends out emails to people at regular intervals, exactly like a direct mail campaign. It’s no different, except for the fact that it’s online.
Popular services include aweber.com and getresponse.com. I highly recommend aweber.com, and have been using them for years. They are a little bit more expensive, but they have the highest deliverability rates (where the email actually gets to your intended prospect).
Once you have their details, you can set your autoresponder to send out some emails, bringing them back to your site. Why? Because very few people will ever buy the first time they go to a website. Follow up is the key, just as it is offline.
Your first email might say something like this:
You get the picture. It’s just the same as offline. Although there are differences. For example, I’ve used an ezine to get people to let me send them emails. Because you can’t just send all sales pitch, you really need non-pitch content here even more than you do offline.
And, online, you can send them literally thousands of dollars worth of free goodies, because they can download them and it will hardly cost you anything.
MP3 audio files as free gifts have been popular with Internet marketers for years. Many people nowadays have fast Internet access, and even if they don’t, you can have an hour long recording that will download over a slow connection in 20 minutes or less. It won’t be great quality, but these are often interviews or conference calls, where quality is not as important as content.
A technique that is gaining popularity is sending videos as free gifts. Almost all the marketers that send me emails are offering them. They have a much greater perceived value than sound files, because the person can see action as well as hear speech.
Your I.T. geek can also set them up so that they are ‘streaming’ videos, which is kind of like the way your TV signal is broadcast, so the person does not have to wait for the whole video to download before watching it. So even slow Internet connections can handle them ok. This is the way sites like Youtube.com work.
Not only do videos make great added value gifts, they can also drive people to your website themselves!
Boy, we covered a lot, and there’s lots more to cover. You should read this excellent guide for more details. Also, bookmark this page so you can come back and study it more.