Ten Ways To Market Your Business For Under $100 – Part 6 – Using A Free Report To Build Trust

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Remember “the rule of seven” from Part 5? It says a prospect needs to see your marketing message seven times before becoming a customer. What it’s really saying is you need to build trust before you can make the sales pitch.

notebook-medium.jpgA great way to build trust is by offering a free report or white paper. Also called a guide or e-book, this free report should tell readers how to solve a problem they are having.

The report needn’t be long – 5 to 7 pages works fine. If you can say it in two pages, even better. They key is to provide useful information that helps the reader. The purpose of the free report – from your point of view – is to prove to your prospects that you are knowledgeable, trustworthy and are worth their hard-earned dollars.

Start with a problem your clients have – that you can solve – and make it as real and ugly as possible. This is not the time to be abstract. Make the reader feel the pain of the problem. Get detailed. Think worst case scenario. Scare the pants off the reader.

For example, if you sell systems for backing up computers, show the cost of not backing up. Tell the story of a small company that failed to back-up their system before disaster struck. Describe their panic when they realized all their accounting records for the year were gone. Talk about the overtime they put in recreating their records. List the fines they paid for being late with their taxes. Make it ugly!

Once the reader is convinced that the problem is real, and not taking action will be painful and costly, give the solution. Don’t just jump in with a sales pitch for your company. Outline a variety of solutions, along with their benefits and drawbacks. Make the final solution the one that you offer.

Now’s the time to make your pitch – why your product or service will best solve their problem. Keep it simple. You’ve spent two or more pages building trust. Don’t blow it by giving the hard sell. If you’ve written the report properly the reader will easily be convinced that your solution is the best. There’s no need to hit them over the head.

What is the key to using free reports as a marketing tool? Collecting contact information. Never – ever – give out your free report without collecting contact information. It can be an e-mail address, a mailing address, a phone number – preferably all three.

A simple way to do this is from your website. Offer the free report as a bonus when they sign-up for your e-zine. This way, not only do they get your report, but they’ve given you permission to keep in touch.

You can also send the report by mail, follow up with a sales letter and then a phone call. The key is to use the free report as a stepping stone for creating an ongoing conversation with your prospect.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about how a blog can help you market your business.

Andrea J. Stenberg

Want to create a free report for your business but aren’t sure where to begin? I can help.

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