White papers. They are quite a mysterious little form of marketing genius. What exactly are white papers, though? How do you use them, how do you get them, how do they benefit your business?
All of these questions and more are answered for you in this article. Read on to find out everything you need to know about white papers and their relevance to your business.
What Are White Papers?
Let’s start off with the basics. A white paper is a form of marketing material that does not sell or push a product or service.
“But, wait! If I am not selling my products, how do white papers make me money?” This is a logical question. Allow me to continue.
You can think of a white paper as a sales lead generator. Instead of sending cold emails, or cold calling potential customers, you invite them to read a business brief about a known issue (or issues) in their field. The white paper acts as a formal letter, if you will, that allows people in that industry to see what problems they are facing, how they will be impacted and what can be done to solve these problems.
I Think I Need an Example
Examples I can do. Let’s assume you have a product specifically designed for the automotive industry. Your little do-dad will effectively raise fuel economy by 15% across the board. It can be installed on any vehicle, at any time and the miles-per-gallon rating will increase.
Now, you could go door-to-door style, trying to sell your product to each manufacturer, or auto parts store. Similarly, you could have a white paper written about the EPA mandate that all vehicles must have an estimated fuel efficiency of 30mpg.
The white paper, then, doesn’t expressly state your product by name. It doesn’t offer your company as the problem solver for this issue. What it does, is express the problem in full detail, it also shows how it can be solved and alerts the reader that there is a solution at hand.
How Do White Papers Benefit Your Company?
The first benefit of white papers is that it saves you time.
You could easily create an email in HTML format and scour the interwebs for companies that can use your product. Then you have to send that email out by the hundreds until someone decides to take a chance and find out more information.
You have a white paper written. O
Second benefit: You get past the gatekeeper.
Cold calling is archaic. While it still has its uses, if you are trying to sell a product, you will be in line behind countless others. Maybe your email will be seen by the CEO, and maybe it won’t. Most likely, it will not.
Most corporations have filters on their email inboxes. Or, they have secretaries that read their emails for the CEO before being passed along. Unless your particular product is white-flagged to get through, it probably ends up in the deleted folder.
With a white paper, the CEO (or those responsible for new purchases) will come to you. They hear about the problem, find your white paper and enter their email so they can read about it. The customers come to you; no more gatekeeper.
Why White Papers Work
So you have your product, you hire a professional to write your white paper and you are all set. You even managed to get it on your website and other platforms for download. You still aren’t making money! What gives?
You have poured thousands into this and after a few weeks you have all your materials and not a dime of return!
What you do have is the inside track. You see, every time someone downloads your new, shiny white paper, you get an email address. Not just any email address; an email address of someone interested in solving the problem.
Why else would they download a white paper? Obviously, the issue(s) worry them and they want a solution. Not only that, they have friends in similar positions in other companies that will want to know about the issue as well.
Now you have a lead. They came to you, after all. They offered their name and email (and other information you requested to get their copy of the white paper) and are begging you to contact them to provide the solution.
This is when you send your sales team in. No more gatekeeper, no more door-to-door. All the work is done for you, you just have to swoop in and save the day. You’ll also get paid handsomely to do so. Way to go little MPG do-dad!This is when you send your sales team in. No more gatekeeper, no more door-to-door. All the work is done for you, you just have to swoop in and save the day. #copywriter #ForHire #whitepaper #B2B #B2C Click To Tweet
White Papers Are Reusable, Too
What you may not realize right away, though, is that white papers can be used again and again.
As an example, I have written a white paper for the robotics community. This little 8-page wonder had a one-time investment from the company to have the white paper written. In fact, the first year it went
The following year they reused the exact same white paper and again toppled nearly 15% increase over the previous year. The third year? Almost 20% increase.
By the fourth year they identified a new problem in the field, certainly had a solution to address it and paid a small fee to have the white paper restructured.
The result? Over 35% return on investment.
The point is, you don’t need a new white paper every time you re-release your product or service. Unless there has been drastic change, you can get away with using the exact same white paper time and again.
If that doesn’t make your advertising budget giggle, then nothing will.If that doesn't make your advertising budget giggle, then nothing will. #whitepaper #ROI #copywriter #ForHire Click To Tweet
There is more, though. Your white paper will be passed around corporate offices and CEO brunches for weeks, months and even years to come.
The gift that keeps on giving (and by giving, I mean giving you money). Furthermore, there isn’t another single piece of marketing material out there that can make these claims.
White Papers Aren’t For Everyone
One thing to mention, though, is that white papers are not for everyone. The business-to-business (B2B) market is the most common. These white papers are designed to solve big problems in industries where large amounts of money are needed.
They can be used in the smaller business-to-customer (B2C) sector, but mainly only when dealing with large-ticket items. Therefore, unless your product is something that a single customer would most likely have to plan and budget for, a white paper might not be your best answer.
This is Your Call to Action
A consult is worth your time and effort to see if you need or can benefit from a white paper. If you are unsure, it behooves you to get all of the answers and information to make the right call.
On the other hand, if you already know you need a white paper for your products and services, it is time to get down to business. I offer you my services, or consultations. We just need to decide the best course of action and the timeline of expectations.
You can get in touch with me today and be well on your way to saving time and money while getting your products and services talked about, all over the industry, tomorrow.