Do those online "free reports/secrets revealed/proven strategies, etc" work?

And if yes, should you start creating them to find prospects?

And, if you don’t have the time or skills to do that yourself, should you sign up with one of these online marketer’s programs – where you become a referral/affiliate marketer?

Giving out free marketing reports can be helpful if they show what you know or how you market. Different types of marketing strategies draw in different kinds of people.

So if you like to write or teach (or you link up with someone who does), the free report/eBook marketing game can be fun and profitable. People want to know who they’re getting in business with.

Some thoughts about currently proliferating “free” report marketing strategy.

Whether you want to write your own or sign on with someone else’s and market that, know this: entrepreneur types who are looking to build a business seek someone who has credibility, someone who seems trustworthy, someone who knows their stuff and someone who is themselves committed to the long term process.

If the report does not demonstrate these things, they’ll pass. Oh, and if all you have is your garden variety company replicating website, you will not impress anyone even slightly savvy today. Here’s why:

It’s just not good enough today to point to your MLM company for the credibility, authority and knowledge you (think you) lack, because in MLM, people are signing up with YOU. You are their prospective partner, not the company. And that’s as it should be. Your skills travel with you, regardless of which MLM you do.

So you’ll need something more – to be remarkable. That’s why it’s worth considering a “free report”. (The free report or white paper is just one option, you have many others to show off your interests and knowledge – social websites, blogs, Google Ads discussion groups, etc.)

Two choices:

A. Write your own free mini-reports to make available for “free” on a blog, MySpace site or through an email campaign.

1. Chance are good you know a lot about something. Everyone does. If you learn some basic copy writing skills, you can write it up and post it online – say on a blog, most of which are free. You might even offer a “free report” on X, for people to receive via email, just like the big players. Offer good solid tips. Not just sizzle or worse, smoke. Demonstrate you know something they might want to know.

2. Know the odds. Leading with “free” gets lower and lower quality people today. You will get many more takers than doers. Live with it. That’s how it is on online marketing. Look at all the free online content everywhere! GREAT for gawkers and information junkies. And that’s who most of the responders you’ll get are: info junkies (versus doers).

The upside: If you do know your stuff and write it up in an engaging manner, chances are good that a kindred spirit will reply – and either join you, or at least start a connection. Good to have friends who are of like mind anyway, think? And you don’t need that many good people to make a difference. Remember Jesus only had 12…

B. Sign up to market someone else’s information program. There are plenty of those going around now. And some good ones in general online marketing (not specifically MLM). Google “free marketing reports” or “free internet marketing reports” and get your start. (Don’t use the quotes.)

Marketing such free reports and eBooks are ways to build your list (and/or theirs). Of course you plan to market more information to build loyalty and eventually you might offer programs some of them might pay for. Today the free e-Book marketing is done by MLMers in multi-levels for the MLM set. Kind of like mini-mlms.

Note: It’s both the marketing of the programs AND the content you must review with care. If the marketing approach is too obviously designed to give (false) shock and awe, think twice. You’d never get me to respond to one of those, no matter what the content is. I don’t even want to read the content.

Bottom line: go for what resonates with YOU, not me or anyone else. Take the time to review different ones, then decide.

These are just some preliminary ramblings on this topic. I’m sure some of you have experiences to add…

About the author

Kim Klaver


  • If you are going to either write or promote an ebook, make sure it’s something of value and not just a promotional piece for your product or business. It should have good info in there and maybe one link to your personal site, but not a bunch of links trying to sell people something. There are way too many of those out there.

    If you do write an ebook or report, don’t spam your entire address book about it. There are much better ways of getting people to your personal site and your ebook.

    Go join a forum. For example, I love NASCAR and I like talking about my family. So I post on forums where I can talk about those things with other people.

    Most forums allow you to have a signature and in that signature, you can use simple HTML to make words hyperlinked to your personal site. My sig line says “I love my boss because she is ME!” and it is hyperlinked to a page that I created with an audio made into a video of me explaining our business in plain language that a 12 year old would understand. This is just one example. There are many things you can put in a sig line.

    To find a forum you would like to post on, go to google and type in your interest and the + sign and the word forum. You’ll find forums related to that topic. Don’t go spam all of the work at home forums. Pick an interest of yours so you will not feel like you are “working” when you are posting.


  • Great post Kim and glad to see free reports being talked about.

    This is one of my favorite marketing tactics that I like to experiment with. I have used reports I have written, private label reports, and even public domain classics to bring in leads, sales, even downline members. Not to mention just meeting new friends.

    One report was only nine pages and still brought results. So I hate to say anyone can do this, but it is definately doable. And most people are not doing any such thing, so you get noticed more. Even if not everyone who has a blog is yelling and screaming your name.

    A friend of mine who is a fulltime networker noticed her recruiting efforts were getting smaller results. I suggested she write a small report detailing the steps she took online that got her to where she could quit her job.

    She did that and her business expanded big time. And she is not a direct response marketer. Just a nice lady that many of your readers are probably familiar with, because they have met her online. She networks.

    But that report she wrote made people who did not know her take more notice to who she really was and what she really knew.

    I believe there are tons and tons of network marketers that could benefit from just writing even the shortest report.

    Other network marketers will pass them on if the information is useful.

  • Hi Kim,

    Guess everyone is chasing Santa, so I’ll go first.

    I have loved to write all my life. And often I have thought of the free or even the ‘paid for’ e-book to advance my web personality. I was totally stymied by the scope of my Internet Ignorance to even attempting to catch up with some of the great marketers in this media. Then I met Kelly and Curt(understudies of the “supernatural” Jackie) who help me to realize the kindred spirit thing.

    So I just started blogging here because it is one of my favorite places on the WWW. Just as Kim mentioned, I have established some new relationships with some great folks that feel as comfortable as lifetime friends. Are they going to make me rich? I am not expecting that, but I have already gotten product orders and plugs because of the relationship.

    To me it is way cool. Perhaps too many of us are stuck in “the fastlane” to give such a gentle thing like a kindred spirit a chance to grow. I find that sad, because when all is said and done; it’s not the stuff we have accumulated that turns us on as much as the relationships with others we enjoy.

    Happy Blogger,
    Tom Doiron

  • I’m a firm believer in the power of List Building.

    That can be accomplished various ways . . . blogging, free reports, paid advertising, etc.

    What works will depend on what you are trying to accomplish.

    But . . . wow . . . having hundreds or thousands of people you can email all at once about a new offer is extremely powerful.

    Walter Reade (from Wisconsin)

  • I do sign up for a lot of free reports and find that oftentimes, the actual content is not free, just a salesletter is free, they want you to pay for the “juicy” information, but I have stumbled upon a couple of resources that I do feel deliver actual content. My quandary has been to sign up for the affiliate aspect of it, and then become that which I resent: a sponsor who recommends products and tools which further line my pocket off the idea that a recruit needs to “invest” in themselves and “duplicate” what I do. On the other hand, if they act on the advice and refer it to others it can be free to them or, become a stream of revenue for them as well. While I agree that diversifying is a good idea, unless we actually own the company, ;-), I still hate the idea of picking the prospects/recruits pockets left and right all in the name of duplicating a system. On the other hand, it’s not quite the same as charging outright to build a website, charge astronomical hosting and lead fees, and for training manuals or seminars. I do think that as a matter of course, some tools are necessary and therefore, why not have everyone be able to earn that expense back? Other than that, I have written a couple of articles that deliver content without charging for them and I subscribe to a number of ezines I enjoy passing along to prospects…Thoughts are things, choose the good ones!

  • I was thinking of this yesterday.

    My title was going to be ‘How to start a ‘company name’ home business’.

    I would be the named author, sell it online for a small amount of money (like £5/$10), and use it as a purely educational ‘things you need to know before you sign up’ piece. The exact process of how to sign up online, with all my advice to weed out time wasters. What is expected of them, etc.

    And I would promote it online instead of my replicated company website (which I don’t use right now), and the sales would pay for my advertising. And I would only get high quality prospects.

    I think I will start on it in the new year.

    Thanks for the clarifying post, Kim.

  • Lewis,

    Do you really want to limit your target market to only those who would like to read an ebook and how to start a “company name” home business? Your eBook will probably be of value to those struggling in that particular company, but they are already in.

    Also, depending on “company name” people could have pre-concieved notions about said company who might otherwise read a book titled something like “How to start a home business” with good generic info in it.

    If I came across your eBook – before I paid for it – I would first google “company name” and see what others have to say about the company before I downloaded the ebook. And, as we all know, there is not one company out there (unless it’s just starting out) that has nothing bad about it on the internet. Disgruntled ex reps always have something to say and forum posts & blogs generally come up higher in google rankings than static web pages unless you know how to get your static web page up there.

    Not to mention that you will probably attract quite a bit of people that were introduced to “company name” by other reps of the company if this is promoted as a “‘things you need to know before you sign up’ piece”. I wouldn’t want to be known as “that” person.

    I feel it’s better to promote yourself, not your company. People join people they know, like and trust. Think of a way to help foster that know, like and trust by giving out truly helpful information that a large number of people may want. Think about who you want to join you in business. Is it other “company” rep’s prospects?

    Just my opinion. 😉


  • I agree with having people get to know you, the seller first before the product. It is vital to gain peoples trust and this can be done in many ways, one is simply asking the customer what it is he needs or wants in a product. The customer is going to want to trust you before they buy from you.

    Diane Voisley

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