What Is a White Paper?
A white paper is a free download on your website containing valuable information for your customers.
White papers are educational. You give away free tips and tricks about your industry. Hubspot is the master of white papers. They share tips that other companies wouldn’t divulge for free.
Many companies resist white papers because they don’t see the financial benefit. Giving away your advice is like throwing money out of the window, right?
What White Papers Can Do for Your Bottom Line.
The truth is that white papers are the exact opposite of throwing away money. Potential customers won’t take your free advice and run. They’ll take your free advice and return as paying clients.
People Will See You as an Authority
Customers come to you because they believe you know more than anyone else about your product or service. Obviously, brands that communicate this authority are more successful than ones who don’t.
The more free, actionable information you provide, the more people will pay for the next level of advice that you have to offer.
People Will Trust You
White papers should have personality. They should reflect your brand voice and your company culture.
You’ll notice that many of our blogs can be a bit cheeky at times. We’re a fun group of people who know everything there is to know about building business powerhouses. We want to convey both of those aspects in our content marketing efforts.
People want to see you as an authority, but they also want to see you as human. Customers need to know that they can be relaxed around you. In short, there’s an element of friendship that comes into play these days.
Building this trust is important. Another business might debut a flashier marketing campaign, but if your customer trusts you, then it won’t sway them and you won’t lose business.
People Will Give You Their Email Addresses
If authority and trust haven’t convinced you that white papers are financially valuable, the above certainly will.
Make your white papers available via email download and build your email list.
Contrary to popular belief, email is not dead. Social media and blogs are important, but they have not eclipsed email. There are three times as many email accounts as their are social media accounts. Not everyone uses social media, but 92% of internet users have an email account.
Creating a captivating email campaign covers more ground than a social media or blog campaign. You need both to bring in more business and increase sales.
How to Create a White Paper.
Step 1: Give People What they Want
Focus on frequently asked questions within your industry. What problems do your customers want to solve? What initial, but actionable, advice can you give them?
Actionable is a key word here. White papers mean nothing if people can’t apply it to real world problems.
For instance, if you create a white paper about social media and all you do is explain how to setup Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts, you aren’t telling your customers anything that they don’t already know. Instead, go through the setup process and give them best practices for each network, plus examples of brands who get it right.
Step 2: Throw in Personality
Find the right blend of smart and sass to create an engaging white paper. When in doubt, write as if you were explaining the topic to your friends.
You may need to work with branding and copywriting experts (our team can help), to perfect your white paper. A white paper is a form of lead generation and advertising. It’s worth it to invest a little bit in someone with more expertise in these areas.
Step 3: Add Graphics
Visual marketing engages people in a way that the written word does not. You need a great mix of both for a successful white paper.
Make sure your graphics reflect your brand and the tone of voice in your white paper. Some graphics should add more than interest. Use small infographics and brightly colored charts to convey information.
That’s it! Now you are ready to generate more leads and close more sales with white papers.
If you need help whipping up a great white paper, let us know. Our team is happy to help.