Week 20: White Papers
If you sell relatively complex and expensive products and services to businesses then you should probably be publishing white papers. Here’s why…
A client is unlikely to commit to an expensive and complicated product or project until they first have all the facts. They’ll probably hold meetings with other people in their organization to assess what you’re offering. Therefore, the more compelling information they have at their fingertips about your company and what it offers, the better the chances of you closing the sale.
What is a white paper? In a nutshell it is a report, which addresses a particular issue or problem and then presents a solution.
What little data there is on the use of white papers seems to suggest they are being increasingly adopted by businesses to support marketing.
Some 61% of businesses involved in B2B marketing already use white papers, according to the US-based Content Marketing Institute.
Three essential white paper components
- Identify a key problem faced by your customers and explain how it can impact them – such as lost market share, cost increases or reputational damage.
- Describe other approaches and solutions to this problem that have been used and point out their limitations.
Now present your solution and address how it has helped other companies and why it works. Describe in detail, preferably with numbers, demonstrating the scale of improvements. Then round-up with a conclusion.
- Wherever possible, back your arguments using research and statistics from respected third parties such as government agencies and trade associations. This builds credibility.
Role of white papers in the sales process
Typically white papers are downloadable from your website in exchange for the reader’s contact details. They’re often used at the start of the sales process.
A well produced white paper also places you as the go-to expert in your field. That not only helps justify buying from you, but possibly paying a premium, as your company’s expertise makes you a safer bet to do business with.
Weekly Goal: Write 1 white paper for your business.
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