The Information Marketing Primer For Helping and Healing Solo-Professionals – Part 4 – Free Report

In previous articles in this series, I talked about the importance of creating another stream of income in addition to your direct service hours. Information marketing is a natural fit for you as a solo-professional because of your extensive knowledge and expertise. It can prove to be a great source of additional income or replacement income should you cut back on direct service hours. I also discussed the importance of choosing your target market and creating an online presence.

In this article of the series, I will have you diving into the world of information marketing by creating your very first information product – the Free or Special Report. You may be asking yourself “If I’m supposed to be creating a revenue stream through selling my information to my targeted audience, why am I starting with a free product?”

There’s a good reason for it that I alluded to in previous articles…you have to build up your credibility and visibility and you have to build up your potential list of customers for your products. Having a blog is one way to create this credibility and visibility. Having a free report to offer from your static one-page or multiple page website is a critical way to increase your credibility and visibility and to drive people to your business. Making a sale directly to a “cold audience” isn’t easy, but it becomes much easier to make a sale if you are selling to people who are growing to know, like and trust you.

The Free or Special Report

There are two formats in which you can create your free or special report. One is in a written format and the other is in audio format. You are probably stronger in one or the other – writing or speaking – so start with the one that is best for you. But plan on having most of your information in more than one format because your customers most likely have their preferences for how they want to consume your information. I’ll focus on the written format in this installment and on the audio format in the next installment.

The first thing to do whether you are doing an audio or written free report is to decide the subject of this report. This is based on the target market you have chosen and what their most pressing needs are.

Let’s go back to an example in a previous installment of the nurse practitioner who specializes in working with children with ADHD. From your direct service work you know that two main concerns for parents are their child’s behavior problems and also their child’s low self-esteem. Your free report could focus on one or the other (not both) – managing behavior or helping raise their child’s self-esteem.

Or in the example of the acupuncturist who has a strong interest in helping people avoid diseases that are related to poor diet and lifestyle choices, your free report could focus on the factors that contribute to poor health or on the factors that contribute to good health.

The most important thing to remember in this report is that you are giving the “Why” and the “What”, but not the “How”…that is what they will have to pay for through your information products or your services.

You want to make sure that your free report is substantive but not so lengthy that it overwhelms your readers. A good minimum of pages is 10; maximum number is about 30 pages.

Make sure you give the free or special report a provocative or noteworthy title such as “10 Biggest Mistakes Parents of Children with ADHD Make…and How to Avoid Them” or “Seven Absolutely Essential Things You Have to Do to Not Die from Diseases Caused by Poor Lifestyle Choices”. These kinds of titles get people’s attention!

Here’s a simple format for the report:

State the problem or the source of pain for your targeted reader. (“As a parent, you find yourself frustrated and disheartened as every night turns into a battleground with your ADHD child…” or “Obesity is an epidemic in this country that is completely avoidable…”)

Add some real-life examples of this problem or pain – make it more real in their minds.

Explain why this is happening or what the causes are or what is the theory behind this problem.

Explain why what your readers have been doing to date hasn’t been working

Provide your solution without going into the “How” (“We know from several long-term studies that a behavioral program, coupled with family therapy can bring…” or “We know that eliminating processed foods, cutting out sugar, eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables…”)

Then give them the next step. For right now, as you do not yet have your information product developed, the next best step would be getting them to your email newsletter so that you can keep in touch with and eventually introduce your products to them. Once you do have a product, you will introduce it to your readers at the end of your free report. This change can be easily made when you are ready.

We will discuss the Ezine or email newsletter in Part Six of this series. Once you have your free or special report completed and your email newsletter in place, it’s time to start rolling out your information products to your audience. I’ll start presenting on how to develop these products in Part Seven.