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Developing a free report, or free product strategy

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Each portal our example business will operate will produce at least one free report and then market it to visitors not only to the portal, but also to the traffic drivers of the portal.

Product Roadmap

The purpose of creating a free report is to encourage potential visitors to visit the property and input contact information in order to receive high value, hard to get data. Information that they, as professionals working within the particular sector desire.


The free report functionality has two simple aims, (1) to capture user information; and (2) to enable that user to then pick up a link to the report that they can then download.

It is important to make this a link rather than merely forwarding the form submission page on to the report itself, as you will have the excuse in the users eye to capture his/her details.

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The download form features the minimum number of form fields. Only collect what is absolutely necessary as for every additional action and/or field you will lose potential leads.

  • Full name
  • Job title
  • Organisation
  • Email address
  • Telephone
  • Checkbox (for newsletter subscription)


The free report needs to be of sufficient value to your audience so as to motivate the visitor to complete the form.

In order to meet this perceived value requirement some thought needs to be placed into the subject matter; and its relationship with your paid offerings, such as the subscription products.

The free report itself could be created either internally, or by an outside (offshore) agency. If producing the report externally assume $2,500 for the production of it in either India, or the Philippines.

Reports that work best are (1) visual in nature; (2) data-driven, perhaps from survey results; and (3) contain genuinely hard to find, problem-solving information.


The free report should be advertised on PPC advertising channels, social media and via the website. Concentrate on the subject matter and add things like the keyword ‘paper’, ‘report’, ‘update’, et cetera. You want people to download the report so that you can capture the person’s relevant information.

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In terms of the marketing materials, it would be worth looking at explaining the following:

  • Who its aimed at
  • Why they need to download it
  • Value – do not be shy from attributing a monetary value to the information
  • Make the report time sensitive so as to motivate usage (urgency)
  • Use click colours such as red or orange on the download button

In addition to this, it is always worth allowing the visitor to see a mock-up of the report.

This can be done either as presenting the information as a book, or in report, or paper format.