Information is a powerful and under-utilized marketing tool that can set your business apart from the competition and dramatically increase revenues. By educating your prospects and customers, you can build credibility in your field, establish yourself as an expert, and demonstrate your company’s solutions without a hard-sell.
Information can be delivered in a variety of formats including books, e-books, special reports, booklets, workbooks, newsletters, articles, teleseminars, and workshops. Many information marketers use a combination of methods.
The goal is to offer value in your information products. When you provide useful information, the reader will typically want to learn more about your business. Unlike brochures and other marketing collateral, information products with practical information are more likely to be kept around and referenced over and over again.
Following are some examples of ways you can use information to market your business and increase profits.
E-books and Special Reports
An e-book is an electronic book that can be downloaded from a Web site and read on a computer screen or hand-held device. A special report is typically shorter in length than an e-book, though these terms can be interchangeable. Generally speaking, a special report typically ranges from two to 20 pages while an e-book is 20 pages or greater.
Special reports and e-books can be fantastic business builders since you can use them for incentives and client promotions. Here are some examples:
*A mortgage company could give away a report called “10 Ways to Leverage Your Home Equity” as an incentive for site visitors to sign up for an e-newsletter.
*A career coach could send prospects an e-book called “How to Speed-up Your Job Search” that includes a variety of job search tips along with a brief section on how a coach can help a job seeker.
*An accountant could send clients an e-book called “The Ultimate Tax Planner” with instructions and checklists that clients use to gather up the required paperwork for filing annual taxes. Not only would clients appreciate this valuable resource, but it would save countless hours in phone calls and meeting time since clients will be more prepared for their tax filing meeting. In addition, sending the information in electronic format will save hundreds of dollars compared to the costs of printing and shipping similar information.
If you have a lot of information to share with your prospects and clients, a workbook may be the solution. Spiral-bound workbooks are relatively inexpensive to publish and have a high perceived value. These are especially effective for interactive businesses where you either need to gather more information from the client or if you provide any kind of consulting services. Workbooks also make excellent companions for speaking engagements and workshops. Here are some examples:
*A business consultant could create a workbook called “Take Your Business to the Next Level” and include strategies and processes for improving business practices. It might also include worksheets where clients outline their goals or follow a process to identify weaknesses in their business.
*A personal trainer could create a workbook called “30 Days to Better Health” that includes diet and fitness tips along with a journal component that allows clients to track their progress.
*A motivational speaker could create a workbook called “Achieving Your Dreams” that demonstrates a method for goal-setting along with worksheets that readers use to build time lines for completing their goals.
To educate your prospects and clients on a specific topic or set of information, a booklet can be a perfect solution. Most booklets are saddle-stitched (folded over and stapled in the middle) and can range from four pages to twenty or more pages. Covers can be printed in full-color (though this increases the production cost) or with black ink on colored paper stock.
Booklets make unique and inexpensive giveaway items for trade shows, client meetings, networking meetings, direct mail campaigns and virtually any other way you can think of to get them into your prospects hands! Here are some examples:
*A home cleaning business could create a booklet called “25 Ways to Reduce Allergens in Your Home” that provides information on how to remove dust, pet dander and other allergy triggers.
*A real estate agent could create a booklet called “Essential Local Resources” that includes a list of contact information for people moving into new homes such as local pizza delivery, the Chamber of Commerce, pet sitting services, carpet cleaning services, landscaping, phone numbers for all the local utilities and more. These could be distributed to clients upon closing a home transaction as a way to make sure the client remembers you. These can also be distributed in neighborhoods and through networking as a way to generate prospects.
*A virtual assistant could create a booklet called “25 Ways to Save Time and Work More Efficiently” and offer tips on how to be more productive by better managing daily tasks. The end of the booklet could list the services provided along with contact information.
*A day spa could create a booklet called “How to Get the Salon Look at Home” that offers skincare tips and upkeep information for new hair styles. These are a great reminder for clients to return to the spa that goes the extra mile by providing tools like this for its clients.
Take Your Business to the Next Level
When you begin using information to market your business, your company has the potential to achieve a whole new level of success. This is an opportunity for you to impress prospects and clients and to go above and beyond what your competitors are doing. With a small investment in time, you can create memorable information products that your recipients can utilize again and again.