Not every piece of content we produce resides at the top of the sales funnel spinning up awareness. If that were the case, our jobs as marketers would be much easier.
When digital marketers roll up their sleeves and generate leads, many have found that white papers provide a utility for which potential customers are willing to give up a name and email address. White papers are more substantial pieces of content that allow customers to solve an information problem that represents the solutions your company can offer.
Good white papers should be a part of any sales process in which purchase decisions are made across a longer sales cycle. In your effort to always being the best answer for your customers, consider these best practices when writing white papers.
- Answer specific questions. Know what your customers are searching for and craft your white paper with buyer insight and data-driven topics.
- Ask for just the right amount of data in return. What you ask for in a customer registration is up to you: It could be email address, name, phone number or mailing address. Beware that asking for more information than necessary will turn many people away.
- Integrate. White papers works best in concert with other paid, earned and owned tactics.
- Don’t push too hard for the sale. Present the information that you believe is required to help your customers solve the problem that brought them to your download page. Beyond that, any appearance of over-selling is probably a turn-off. Let your helpful content speak for itself.
- Be visual. Use graphs and charts that can easily represent data.
- Prove it. White papers are often formatted like more academic reports, with attribution of sources and footnotes if needed. Your customers want to know that the detailed information you are sharing is well-sourced.
- Repurpose. Make the most of the time you put into your white papers. Content developed for your white paper can be used in smaller blog posts or condensed into infographics. Think of your white paper as a campaign anchor and develop resources around it to drive traffic and optimize performance.
Have you been successful using white papers in your marketing mix? What are your tips and tricks?
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