I wrote a series of white papers that I offer through my website. My intent was to have people who read these papers be sufficiently impressed or intrigued that they retain my services. People are certainly downloading, but no one is buying. What's wrong?
Your strategy is good in principle. Combining a bit of research with a summary of your expertise and ideas about trends or key issues in an industry is a good idea. Clients appreciate the perspective and data, and logic would suggest that if they find the content interesting, they'd want to learn more. However, people buy on emotion rather than logic. Here's a slight variation on your strategy that may make it more effective. Tip:
What if you charged a few dollars for your work? I don't mean charging $100, $50, or even $30. Think about $5 for a 10-page white paper. This taps into the psychology of buying where people perceive greater value for the "second cheapest" and "second most expensive" products. To many, free means limited value and many who download your white papers may never consider them valuable enough to open and read them.
Charging $5 for a report looks like a loss leader (especially if you compare it to a much more expensive research report or trend report you offer on your site). The money is minimal but the emotional commitment to your research or opinion is much higher than it would be if it were free. Your leads are much more qualified, your products are more likely to be read, and you make a few dollars to offset some costs. © 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA