Sunday, January 21, 2007

Another Big Ticket Strategy -- Report Writing - Part 1

This is the first in a series of articles about Big Ticket Report Writing.

First, what do we mean by report?

In its simplest form a report is just information which informs the reader on a specific topic. 

The best reports define or highlight a problem and then recommend and show how that problem can be solved.

A report may also be a review and recommendation of a product or service or a sales letter packaged as a report.

In all cases, the report must contain valuable, relevant and targeted information.

A report is just like an e-book except it is usually (but not always) shorter.  A typical report might range from 3 - 25 pages.

Why even write a report? Why not just send email instead?

There are lots of reasons:

  • Email messages can get lost or blocked by SPAM filters based on the content of the message. Attaching a report to the message or even keeping the message brief with a compelling reason why someone should go and download your report will ensure that your message has an easier time reaching your prospects or existing customers.

  • Reports, if done well, have a clear, clean, professional look to them giving an extra special emphasis to the information, product or service you are providing or recommending.  The professional appearance of the report also helps enhance your credibility which is key when you are selling Big Ticket Items.

  • It is common to include a brief background of the report author (that would be you) at the start of the content.  This helps brand you and your business and also further establishes you as an expert in this area.  For Big Ticket purchases, this is a must.

  • Although HTML email can be formatted similarly to a report it still has the problem of being trapped by SPAM filters. The format of the report lends itself to much easier reading and printing than email.  Many people like to print out information to take with them when they are away from their computers.  Also if someone wants to have a discussion with others about your product or service, its nicer to have a report to copy rather than copying an email message.

Ok, so what's the difference between a Big Ticket report and any other report?

Big Ticket reports usually have the following features:

  • they focus on a product or service with a high  price point. For example, items which are  priced at $500 or above. In some businesses these type of reports are called white papers.

  • they target a single, specific problem and a single solution.  You don't want people going and checking out various other related products unless its critical for convincing them why your solution is the best.

  • contain much more in-depth review and analysis of the problem and solution

  • have far more information to convince readers of the effectiveness and benefits of the product or solution. This may be in terms of revenue generated or actual detailed customer testimonials. Often, these reports contain detailed case studies as well.

  • include full color images to enhance the presentation, style and information presented.

  • use audio or video or links to audio or video for the testimonials, case studies  or demonstrations of the product or service. After all most people would rather be shown or hear about how something works than just read about it. Video is especially useful for demonstrating the quality and content of information products and software tools.

  • give specific additional incentives for purchasing the recommended product or service.

As you can imagine, creating a Big Ticket report takes far more work than either an email or a simple report. 

But that work is warranted because the higher cost of the Big Ticket item requires more effort for people to be convinced of its benefits and also because the payoff is better if the reader buys the product or service.

In Part 2 we'll look at using Audio and Video in Big Ticket Report Writing.

Copyright (C) 2007 Chuck Daniel, Like Magic Marketing, LLC -- All Rights Reserved.

Chuck is a former Microsoft software designer and program manager who spent more than a decade happily working on Email and CRM. Admittedly a seminar, workshop and information addict, Chuck left Microsoft to pursue his interests in personal development, internet, direct and information marketing and to promote and work for charitable causes.

Chuck Daniel
Email: chuck 'at' likemagicmarketing 'dot' com
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