Why is the free report necessary?
What should your free report accomplish?by Mark Satterfield
Gentle Rain Marketing
We naturally want the report to accomplish a number of objectives.
First it should build your credibility. (Remember that this is a NEW relationship we are trying to develop.) You'll achieve a lot more success if you approach relationship building by developing a series of small steps. Failure often occurs when we try to accomplish too much too quickly.
It's important that we put ourselves in our prospect's shoes. For example, we can assume that the client is understandably skeptical at this point in time.
Thus at this very early step we want to gently move them through a series of steps to reduced that resistance. That's one of the main objectives of your free report. (The other naturally is to pave the way for the next step in the business development process.)
Now just a quick comment on lead generation methods. There are any of a number of techniques that can work. What you need to do is experiment so that you can determine over time, what works best for you.
My most successful clients use a variety of methods, direct mail, pay per click or paid internet search, direct response advertising in specialty trade publications, speaking, writing... I even have one client who has used billboards. (which you might not think would be particularly effective for marketing professional services but for him it works quite well.)
The key point it not to rely on one method, but to determine what portfolio of lead generation methods works best for you.
Now having said that, and recognizing that my clients use different methods depending upon their services and markets, the one strategy that they all share is the use of the one-page lead generation letter...
So regardless of what lead generation methods you use, remember that getting prospects to raise their hand and self identify themselves requires that they see a reflection of themselves in your marketing materials. And this is very important to keep in mind— at this point, when they are intrigued by your letter or your ad or whatever, their level of interest is usually quite small.
So what does this mean in terms of developing our marketing campaign?
From a practical perspective, unless they have an absolute burning need for your services (i.e. farmer who's barn is on fire and you sell water) they probably aren't terribly interested in actually meeting with you or speaking with you.
They may be interested in what you have to say, but there's this little fear they have that if they raise their hand they're going to get inundated with a full-court sales press. This is the reason why we want them to request the report anonymously. Ideally, through your website. How to set up your website to maximize its lead generation potential is a topic for another day.
Suffice it to say, your free report must accomplish a number of agenda items...
It needs to build credibility for you and propel the prospective client forward to the next step in the relationship building process. If they put down the report without taking that next step, then your report hasn't completely done its job.
So we want to build credibility AND move the process forward. Quite an agenda for a free report, but it's one that you can accomplish if you follow my guidance.
Now the concept of offering a free report isn't new.
In fact my entire Gentle Rain methodology is based on a classic marketing process that has proven to be enormously successful over time.
A quick story
I'm probably dating myself here, but when I was young I loved comic books. On the back cover of the comics in those days, often appeared an ad for Charles Atlas.
Now for those you who are old enough to remember, the ad largely consisted of a comic strip in which the skinny kid got sand kicked in his face by the bully, subsequently signed up for the Charles Atlas muscle-building program, eventually beat up the bully and got the girl. Now in the lower right hand segment of the ad was a coupon that you clipped out.
It asked you if you wanted bulging biceps, thighs of steel, a washboard stomach etc. Anyway, you'd send in the coupon and a week or so later you got in the mail a Free Information Report called The Secrets of Dyna-Tension. Now this was pretty well thought out.
It gave you some practical tips (push-ups as I recall) along with a pitch for the complete program. Then for weeks and months to come (and in fact they may still be coming) were regular mailings encouraging me to take action.
That's basically the same model I, and my clients, use. So naturally what we're talking about today is your version of The Secrets of Dyna-Tension.
Remember that what we don't want to happen when someone visits our site is for them to play around on it and then leave without leaving some sort of record that they were there. Naturally, since our goal with Gentle Rain is to build relationships, that's going to be very difficult to do if we don't know who's visiting our site.
I view the free report as an ethical bribe. Give me some information about who you are, and I'll give you some information about a subject that you're interested in. Naturally what we have to do to ensure that we're gaining long-term traction is to make sure that the report is actually read...