How a white paper or special report can help your small business

Before the internet, printing costs made offering a special report for marketing purposes expensive. Now, any small business can afford to create an attractive downloadable report or white paper.

By Henry Brown

For an entrepreneur, winning the attention of your prospects, convincing them of your ability to help them resolve a professional problem they are likely to be facing, and bringing them into the fold is the process you need to try and master to thrive professionally.

People turn to many different forms of marketing, from cold emailing to attending trade shows, shaking hands, and passing out business cards as appropriate.There also all kinds of things that people do to streamline their professional operations and get a handle on their analytics, including using network monitoring and alerting tools.

One of the most time-tested and true digital marketing techniques, however, is the white paper or special report — offered for free to all prospects who come across your website.

Here are some reasons why a white paper or special report can help your business in a major way.

By demonstrating your expertise and authority in your field

If you write a small ebook or special report on a topic in which you’re an expert, the first thing this demonstrates is that you have a good understanding of the topic in question and are able to formulate potential issues and resolutions to those issues, related to that subject area.

While the key focus of your special report should be to provide value to your prospects, and to coax them into using your services, it should also be treated as an excellent opportunity to “show off” a little bit.

Put some real work into the thing, and do whatever research is necessary to create a genuinely compelling and interesting resource. Include stats, graphs, and quotes from other industry leaders.

[amazon_link asins=’1118647610′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’71842f25-900e-11e8-ba17-e3aec11a8ecf’]By providing actual, tangible value to your prospects

When you provide genuine value to your prospects — especially when you do it for free, as an introduction — you very effectively create the impression that you have what it takes to improve their business, and make their lives easier.

Furthermore, providing value to your prospects as a “hello” also preconditions them to feel positively about you and to be more intrigued by the prospect of using your services.

Your special report should be something that is useful to the kinds of people you want to work with, and should be targeted specifically at their needs, rather than acting as a general purpose interest piece for the public at large.

[amazon_link asins=’1908003618′ template=’ProductAd’ store=’succeedingi0d-20′ marketplace=’US’ link_id=’82269afc-900e-11e8-81af-b123c8411672′]By acting as a tantalizing call to action

If you’re doing things the smart way, prospects will have to sign up to your mailing list in order to download your special report. Once they’re on your mailing list, they’re essentially in your “territory” and can be effectively marketed to for the foreseeable future. Many entrepreneurs have great success in winning new clients over time by continually staying in touch with leads via their newsletter and other updates.

A white paper, therefore, can primarily act as “bait,” a call to action that positions you to be able to continue to educate potentially reluctant prospects about how you can help them.


Henry Brown is an online marketing executive. When he isn’t talking shop he’s roaming the streets of London, uncovering the extra-ordinary in the ordinary.


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