Whitepapers or reports are the call to action that every consultant, trainer, or professional coach can offer. If you don’t already have one, it’s typically not a large undertaking to create one using curriculum or existing materials on the subject of expertise.
The beauty of whitepaper/reports is the ease of use. This ease extends to both the creator and the consumer.
The creator can make a form for people to download the document. After the form is filled out, the document should be immediately available either as a link from the form’s thank you page or as an instantly emailed link/attachment. This makes delivery of the document automatic so that the creator does not have to spend time getting it to the person who requested it.
The ease of use for the consumer is that they can get what they request on demand with no other commitment than filling in a form. After filling out the form they can immediately see what they requested and read it while it’s of interest to them. No time commitment, often no monetary cost, and instant gratification.
A well done report or download is a good tool to gather leads and get a sense of who in your audience is interested in particular topics. It can also be a good credibility builder as it’s a chance to provide a powerful sample of how your area of expertise can solve problems for clients.
That said, there are two pitfalls to offering reports/whitepapers.
- Going Stale – Don’t let the ease of delivering a whitepaper/report lull you into laziness. Your audience will tire of seeing the same report over and over again. Typically a report will have a shelf life of about a year. Six months or quarterly releases is better but after a year it should be cycled out. Depending on the topic it could be refreshed and offered again but it should not be or appear to be static for more than a year.
- Quality of Leads – The ease of requesting a report/whitepaper will net a significant amount of poor leads. There is no real commitment (unless you are charging for the report but then it’s likely not a lead generation tool but rather a product) from the consumer so they might have little to no interest in your product or service. Quantity will be higher than other calls to action but will require more screening and qualifying.
Report/Whitepaper downloads are the ideal easy ask for a call to action but temper your expectations on all the leads being an ideal client profile.