5 Keys to do White Paper Marketing the Right Way
A white paper can be a valuable content marketing tool. But many well-intentioned yet misinformed marketers regularly publish white papers (and a slew of other marketing content pieces) that are almost guaranteed NOT to succeed at generating leads.
This article will give marketers valuable, actionable strategies that can result in wildly successful lead generation campaigns.
Note – even though our focus today is on white papers, a lot of the strategies and techniques we will discuss apply to other content marketing tools like video, webinars and e-books. Also, we will focus on a B2B (instead of a B2C) perspective.
When written and promoted correctly, white papers can be an extremely powerful lead generation tool.
- Add new leads to their sales funnels
- Smoothly move them through the funnel
- Build trust, credibility and thought leader status
- “Prime the pump” for future sales and build momentum in the sales process
To be successful, your white paper marketing must capture and keep the attention and interest of your reader, and it must make him want to take the next step in the buying process. Because of a number of serious missteps, many white papers fall short of accomplishing these critical tasks.
Keys To Writing A Winning White Paper
When we're writing our content marketing messages, like white papers, it's easy to focus only on “content” and forget about “marketing”. Some believe that all a white paper has to do is to “educate” the reader. I disagree. Readers don't decide to buy or take the next step in the lead generation “journey” just because you educate them, especially if you only educate them about the features of your product.
A Powerful Way To Impress Your Reader
Educating your readers about your product is important, but when you are telling them only about its features and specs, their response is “So what?” Your reader doesn't care about your product, per se. He cares about what your product can do for him, what painful, nagging problem it will help him solve, what cherished goal it will help him accomplish and so on.
If you want to cut through the B2B marketing clutter, if you want to get and keep his attention, if you want to have the best opportunity possible to convert him from a reader into a buyer, focus your message primarily on him (his problem, his needs, his wants and your solutions for him) not on your product. And by all means, tell him how your product's features benefit him.
Good Copywriting Is Important
Copywriting is the art and science of selling through the written word. It's a must for your content marketing campaign to be successful. Granted, in a white paper, the “selling” needs to be more subtle and understated than in many other copywriting and marketing content pieces. But the sales and persuasion element still needs to be present.
A Point Worth Repeating
I've talked about this in a previous article, but I think it's worth repeating. In your white paper marketing, write like you talk in everyday life. Imagine you are having a cup of coffee with an old friend. Imagine you are a world class sales rep conducting an in-person sales interview. Think how you would talk in those situations, and write your white paper like that.
You don't want to get too casual. You do want to use the language your audience uses. Within reason, write your white paper just like you were speaking the content to the prospect in person. And write it as if you were writing to one person only, not a faceless, generic crowd.
It's a cliché, but true: people buy from those they know, like and trust. They want to do business with people, not with “XYZ Conglomerate”. Learning to write like you talk and writing to “an audience of one” will make readers more inclined to want to buy from you.
More Copywriting Tips
Add bullet points to your white papers. This will make it easier for you to draw attention to key parts of your content; bulleted lists are great places to mention benefits. Use prominent, benefit-laden, curiosity-generating titles.
Avoid long sentences and paragraphs. Think about it: what do you do when you are reading a paragraph that's 30 lines long? Your mind balks at the very idea of having to wade through it, especially if you are already stressed out on a busy work day.
The takeaway: Make your white paper marketing message easy to read. Focus your message on your reader, not on your company or product, even if it's truly remarkable. Talk about not just your product's features, but how they benefit the reader. Following these steps will help you gain a huge advantage over many, maybe all of your competitors.
A Word About White Paper Titles
The B2B marketing world is swamped with content marketing messages. A lot go completely unnoticed by their intended audience. You can write the world's greatest white paper. But, if it never gets read, it's useless as a lead generation tool.
What's one of the most effective ways for you to get your white paper noticed? What's a proven technique for getting the potential reader to request and to open it up, curious to find out what it's about and why he should care?
Here it is: Craft a compelling, “buzz-generating” title. A great title can make prospects flock to your white paper, anxious to find out more. A poor, “lame” title will usually get passed over without a second glance.
You've worked hard to produce your white paper. Give it the greatest chance you can of getting read by giving it a powerful title.
So what are some elements of a powerful title? Many very successful content marketers and copywriters opt for a title that has a strong combination of curiosity and benefits for the reader. Does your title arouse curiosity in the reader's heart and mind? Does it promise him a desirable benefit if he reads it?
A memorable, persuasive title will make your white paper more likely to get read.
How To Promote Your White Paper Marketing To Gain A Large Audience Of New Leads!
If your white paper marketing doesn't get opened, it won't get read. And, it obviously won't do you much good as a lead generation tool.
You have to get it opened! It also has to be found. Even if you have an ultra-high traffic website, if you bury it on a “Resources” page and don't announce it to your potential audience, it won't get found, at least not by very many people.
What can you do to promote your white paper marketing?
- Send an email to your list telling them about it
- Make announcements on your social media channels
- Write a blog post talking about it
- In some cases, it may make sense to offer it through a PPC/SEM campaign
- Put a “widget” on all pages of your website with a brief “teaser” mentioning your white paper; link this to your white paper signup page
How to use a Landing Page to Promote your White Paper
An easy-to-set-up, conversion-optimized landing page can be a great addition to your white paper promotion campaign. Whenever you announce your white paper to your intended audience, you'll need to redirect them to a page where they can request it. A page that “sells” them on giving you their email address and other contact information in return for the valuable resource you're about to give them.
You DO NOT want to send prospects interested in your white paper back to your homepage. The likelihood they will then find your white paper on your site without getting distracted and quitting, is small.
Instead, direct them to a highly customized page that has no distractions to lead them away from the thing you want them to do – give you their email address and other contact information in return for your valuable white paper.
Remember that at this point, you aren't trying to make an immediate product sale, you are “selling” them on your offer of the white paper. The rules of sales, marketing and copywriting apply. Have a brief, powerful, loaded-with-benefits message on your landing page selling them on why they would want to take the time and effort to download and read it.
To gain a more thorough understanding of landing pages and how to harness their power in your business, read this article.
Even in today's crowded B2B content marketing landscape, marketers like you can use white papers as powerful, effective lead generation tools. But, you have to do it right.
To stand out and succeed, you need to use solid copywriting and effective content marketing techniques. And you need to promote your white paper marketing very well.
An easy-to-set-up, conversion-optimized, highly customized landing page can be a valuable asset to any white paper marketing campaign. Lander is pleased to offer you a full suite of landing page templates. They will make a valuable addition to your next white paper or other content marketing campaign.
***Note from Editor - this article was originally published on September 23rd, 2013 It has been updated to keep it relevant today***