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E-commerce and single-copy report sales (part two)

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Below is part two of our series on e-commerce and single-copy report sales.

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When selling single-copy R&A reports, the key thing to remember is to feature all the information that is required to convince the visitor to make a purchase on the product page.

This can be achieved by linking to the Table of Contents, the Table of Figures and Marketing Brochure all from that one item page. When the clicks on one of these links a new window opens. It goes without saying that this is vital, as you do not want the lead to move away from the purchase page.

The full list of metadata that is required for the product page is as follows:

REPORT TITLE – It is vital that the report title is keyword rich, specific and has a relationship to the SEF URL.

PRICE – It goes without saying that you want the end user to be able to see the pricing structure of the report product. Please note that I use the words ‘pricing structure’, as most single-copy R&A products have different prices depending upon use.

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For example, if only one person is to use the report then the price will be X. If the report will be accessed by an office, or department then the price will be Y. If however, the report is to be accessed across the entire organisation then the price will be Z.

PUBLISHED DATE – The date that the research was published, or updated. You need only bother with the month and year, as the specific day is rarely required. Always go with the latest genuine date possible as you are trying to build relevance. Many R&A vendors review and update reports every few months in order to maximise the relevance to potential purchasers.

FORMAT – This is where you tell the visitor whether the R&A item is an Excel model, a PDF, or something else.

TABLE OF CONTENTS – As mentioned previously, including a ToC, marketing materials and list of figures can aid in persuading the potential purchaser to buy the report. It is vital that as many of these as available are included on the product page.

It is worthwhile making these pages printable so that the potential purchaser can view them offline. This is especially vital on R&A products that have a high ticket price… because a high ticket price often requires additional sign-off from the management of the business.

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INTRODUCTION – This is a short, sharp few sentences that best introduce the report to potential purchasers. The metadata for this section can be formula-driven and compiled using Excel, much in the same way that you would write a templated Email campaign.

For example you could construct a template and then simply insert the title, insert the publisher, the target sector, date, et cetera.

SCOPE OF THE REPORT – The section of the marketing that outlines what the report covers. It also highlights who it is aimed at. As a result the scope should always be prepared by the author.

REPORT HIGHLIGHTS – This section can be longer and include some of the key findings you would include in the marketing brochure and/or the Executive Summary. However, it is important to be selective here and not go into any real depth.

REASONS TO PURCHASE – When preparing marketing for products I always have this in mind. Take your time and prioritise the reasons into a list of 6-7 line items. Keep each line item to one sentence and make those sentences as powerful as possible.

From experience in selling R&A reports, this is the key attribute of the page. You are telling the potential purchaser what problem this report solves.

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Additionally, I would always recommend having the following attributes available on the page:

BREADCRUMB TRAIL – Use the taxonomy of the site to enable your users to quickly and easily navigate to other report-based products that may be of relevance to them. This is especially important in vertical industry portals.

LEAD GENERATION FORM – This is a short pre-filled form that enables the business to capture the details of any visitor that is interested in purchasing the report. The details of the form should be pre-filled with the report title, date/time, referrer and (if a member) the users details.

If the lead is not a member then the user will need to be able to complete the form, which consists of the following fields:

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Organisation
  • Telephone
  • Email address
  • Enquiry

RELATED PRODUCTS – This is a section of the page, appearing either below the product, or to the right-hand side of the product that displays a limited number of products that may be of interest to the potential purchaser.