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Whitepaper: Using Whitepapers to Generates Leads
14.07.2017

Whitepaper: Using Whitepapers to Generates Leads

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Generating new leads is clearly an integral part of any company's future success, but it can also prove to be something of an uphill battle. According to a survey by HubSpot, 65 percent of businesses say generating traffic and leads is their biggest marketing challenge, and research from Ascend2 found that the majority of businesses state that, as well as increasing the quantity of leads, improving the quality of leads is the most important lead generation objective.

 

WHAT IS A WHITEPAPER?

A whitepaper is an informative document that offers the reader an in-depth insight into a specific subject. Unlike blog posts, which are often light-hearted and opinion-based, whitepapers have a more professional tone and should be a valuable source of information for your audience. This is particularly important considering that potential customers will be amongst your readers, and they will have had to submit a form in order to gain access to the document; therefore it is vital that your whitepapers are not only a positive reflection of your business, but also that your readers do not feel short-changed after handing over their email address.

WHY USE WHITEPAPERS?

According to research conducted by Emedia, whitepapers, along with ebook downloads, are the second most common types of content to be gated behind registration forms, the first being webinars. As a result of this, coupled with their high value to those seeking in-depth information, they are the top producers of leads, as is evidenced in the graphic below.


Source: Emedia B2B Lead generation Trend Report

Whitepapers can also prove to be a useful tool for gaining insight into your potential customer base; by requesting specific information from your readers when they submit the form,  such as their job title or industry, your company can build a better picture of who is already engaged with your business and perhaps new segments to target.

Due to their informative nature, whitepapers can also help position your company as an authority and go-to resource in your industry. As can be seen in the chart below, they are the most popular choice of content for businesses when it comes to making purchasing decisions, so it is important to ensure that you point the reader a solution to their problem from your business and ultimately persuade them to engage further with your company.

PLAN

Before you can begin working on your whitepaper, it is essential that you dedicate some time to brainstorming and putting together a clear plan that dictates the content, structure and style of the document. You should also make use of the research you already have regarding your target audience in order to determine the type of content that will suit them best. It can be helpful to get input from other members of the team in order to gain new perspectives on your chosen subject, as well as points or information that you may have missed.

When it comes to choosing a topic for your paper, it is generally a far better idea to choose a popular one as opposed to something very niche. In order to find good topic ideas you could use social media to see what subjects are trending and/or generate a lot of discussion, or use tools such as Google Keyword Planner to find possible titles that are likely to garner a lot of interest. Ultimately the main aim of your whitepaper is to have it read by as many people as possible in order to give it the greatest chance of converting a large number of leads.

Ultimately, the whitepaper should solve a problem for the reader, either by providing hints and tips or a step-by-step guide. You could present this in the form of a 'how to' guide, a summary of industry insights, a case study or something else entirely. Whatever you end up choosing, you should pay attention to what is already out there in order to make your paper as unique and valuable as possible.

CREATE

In contrast to a blog post, a whitepaper should have a more formal and business-like tone. It will also be longer; most blogs are around 500-600 words long, and a whitepaper will generally start at 1000 words but can be much longer. Ensure that your introduction sets the tone for the rest of the document, and that it encourages your audience to keep reading.

It is vitally important that you place an emphasis on the value that your paper holds in order for your readers to see you as credible and trustworthy. Don't focus on your products or services; people are far more likely to stop reading if the paper feels like an advertisement. Instead, put time and effort into ensuring that your document is filled with useful tips and information that your audience will appreciate and that will act as a solution to whatever problem it is that your paper is aiming to solve. You can mention your business at the end of the paper, and provide details as to why your products or services are a natural fit when it comes to the aforementioned challenge(s).

When designing the structure and layout of your paper you should make sure it is as professional-looking and easy to follow as possible. Avoid overly-long paragraphs and keep the use of colour to a minimum to ensure the pages tie in together nicely. You should also remember to proofread the paper before making it live; it can be useful to have somebody else look over it as they may catch errors that you've missed.

PROMOTE

In order for your whitepaper to reach as many of your target customers as possible, a strong marketing strategy is required. There are a number of different options for promoting the document, and it is advisable to make use of as many as possible after it goes live.

Online Advertisements: Online ads can prove to be a very successful part of a whitepaper marketing campaign. Utilising content networks such as Google AdWords will enable you to reach an audience who seemingly have an interest in your niche; for example, if they have been viewing other websites in the industry. You can also use remarketing to this effect by targeting those who have previously visited your site, or even your whitepaper specifically, but failed to convert. They will then be shown banner or text adverts reminding them to go back and read it.

Email: Email can be an extremely useful tool when it comes to getting the word out about the release of your paper. You can include the details in your regular newsletter or draft one to showcase it specifically. One of the greatest benefits when it comes to email is the fact that you are able to segment your contact list, therefore you can target particular groups of your customers who may be more likely to have a genuine interest in each topic you write about.

Social Media: It goes without saying that your paper should be promoted on all of your social media channels. Whether you are posting on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+, be sure to use a message that will grab your audience's attention and entice them to act; for example, let them know what problem the paper holds the solution to, or mention an intriguing statistic from it. Include a picture for extra visibility and ensure that you shorten links.

Blog: If your company regularly updates a blog then don't forget to use it to promote your whitepaper. You can include a summary or extracts from it in your posts, and include a clear call to action with a link to the document's landing page. You could also reach out to influential bloggers in your industry and ask them to mention your paper in their own posts.

Press Releases: Press releases can also be used as a valuable tool in marketing your document. If you use a distribution service your release will be submitted to the major search engines, and some enable you to target specific industry news outlets.

REPURPOSE

Once your whitepaper has been published, you can still generate leads by repurposing it in several different ways. After waiting a month or two, you could use the content to put together a webinar or SlideShare presentation, for example. This has the potential to attract people who would rather watch a presentation than read large amounts of text. You could also create an ebook from the paper, and, as with the aforementioned options, use the registration process to collect the details of potential customers.

After you have created all of the different elements, for example the whitepaper, webinar, ebook, make a landing page for the entire campaign. Make sure it has an SEO-friendly URL and Meta description and include links to it on your homepage.

Once the paper has been up for a while and is no longer generating leads, you could repurpose the content by breaking it down into a number of blog posts on your site. Make sure to link each of these back to your business and how it can solve the problem being presented in the posts. Providing the topic you chose is a popular one, you should find a steady stream of traffic being delivered to your site.

Whitepapers can be very lucrative when it comes to generating leads for your business, providing you put the necessary time and effort into planning and executing an effective campaign. Any audience is likely to be more engaged with an informative and useful piece of writing as opposed to being given the hard sell with blatant advertisements. As long as your write-up contains valuable content and is carefully promoted across a range of different channels, you should find that it brings your business plenty of new opportunities.

Ready to send out your whitepaper link? If your business is in need of some new contacts, Global Database can help. Our company intelligence has one of the highest accuracy levels in the industry thanks to our consistent checks and updates, using both cutting edge technology and a team of in-house experts. 

Want to know more? Contact us on +44 203 640 6006 or info@globaldatabase.com