The obvious value of special reports is that in order to read them, your web visitors must give you their names and email addresses. From there, you can begin marketing to them – hopefully converting them into home buyers or sellers.
You might think that the second most important value of special reports would come from prospects reading them and recognizing your expertise. But that’s not necessarily true.
Have you ever offered your email address in exchange for a special report?
Most of us have. Have you read all the reports you downloaded? Most of us haven’t! In fact, most people I talk with about this subject say they order reports thinking that they’ll get around to reading them, but then never get it done. I know I fall into that camp, even with some of the things I’ve paid to receive.
So if people don’t actually read special reports, what’s the point of offering them?
The surprising value of special reports comes in the fact that people don’t have to read them – or even download them – to help raise your status as a knowledgeable real estate expert.
It turns out that simply by offering the special report, you establish yourself as an expert.
It’s psychological. They see that you’re offering a report and thus assume that you know all about the subject. It goes along with that “He wrote the book on it” thinking. And the silly thing is, it doesn’t even matter if you wrote the report yourself. It is, however, important for you to agree with the content and be able to discuss it should a potential client ask you a question.
If you really want to impress, hire someone to create an eye catching “cover” for your report and give it a prominent spot on your website. (Or do it yourself if you have that expertise.)
One last value of special reports is that in providing them, you are offering each your web visitors a gift. Since it’s only an electronic download, that doesn’t seem very significant, but for some people it is. You’ve given them a gift and now they feel a small obligation to you.
As a real estate professional, what can you offer as a special report?
You can start with your market report. If you write a comprehensive overview of the market in your area and tell what’s really going on, especially if you break it down into neighborhoods or subdivisions, it will be something they can’t get anywhere else. Naturally you’ll need to update this one periodically.
Then go on to advice. Think about the clients you serve and the kind of information that will help them buy or sell with less stress.
If you use either my FSBO or Expired Listing letters, you’re familiar with the special reports that come with them. The FSBO report is an overview of the steps they’ll need to take, then the letters follow up with each step in greater detail. The Expired Letters special report is entitled “Why didn’t it sell?” and offers homeowners insight into what might have gone wrong.
If you specialize in listings, you could write about getting the house ready for sale, about the benefit of pricing right the first time, and about the miscellaneous information they should have available for their agent. For instance: power bills, insurance policies, HOA documents, and the source and cost of various services.
Special reports for buyers…
How about writing a report about getting ready to purchase a home? It could cover anything from gathering the documents a buyer needs to take to a lender to get pre-approved, to the best way to choose a neighborhood, to focusing on the most important features of their future home.
If you have a specialized niche, you can write a related report. For instance, if you handle waterfront properties you could write about the regulations regarding setbacks, docks, seawalls, etc. If you sell historic homes you could write about restoration, reasons for preserving that old wood trim, and even the permits they’ll need before they get started. If you sell farm and ranch land, you could write about everything from water tables, to soil types, to the most cost-efficient designs for outbuildings.
If you specialize in relocation, you could write about topics that people moving into your community would find interesting. For instance, you could write about the various community celebrations, or the free activities offered through youth or senior citizen organizations. You could also list the various non-profits and what they do for the community.
You could even write about the regulations in your community – all the things people need to know when they build a new home – all the rules and regulations that affect how they live in their homes, all the permits that will be required, etc.
These reports don’t have to be long, but they do need to offer sound information – just in case somebody does read them.
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
“The difference between the almost right word and the right word is … the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”
Would you like to be the one who “Wrote the book on it?”
If so, there’s yet another value of special reports. You can combine them with your blog posts and content from your web pages to create a book. Then you can offer the book for sale on Amazon, giving it a price. After that, you can either sell it on your own website or offer it as an “$X value for free” to visitors who fill out your webform.
Putting together a book sounds complicated, but apparently it doesn’t have to be. A month or so ago I subscribed to a service called Designrr that promises to take whatever content I designate and turn it into a book.
I can’t yet say how easy it will be to use, because I’ve been too busy to get there and try it, but I’m certainly planning on doing it soon.
images courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net