You’ll probably agree that it’s very hard to sell something to someone who’s never bought something like it it before. Technology providers and those from other innovative sectors face this problem all the time. It’s no secret that Irish SMEs are going through a tough time. And sales cycles are undoubtedly a little longer as a result. If you’re a new technology provider and your target audience is SMEs, a well-written white paper will educate and engage your target audience no matter what stage of the buying process they’re at.
But how do you write a white paper that will generate leads for you?
- Decide on your message and match it to your target audience – people need a reason to read your whitepaper and ultimately buy your product and they should be closely related. The majority of technology solutions claim to save their buyer time, money or hassle and sometimes all three. Isolate the major buying motive and use it as the anchor for your piece.
- Think subtle, not salesy – the white paper reader is usually the type that shies away from in-your-face marketing materials. Your tone and approach should be engaging and reflective rather than overly slick and sales focussed. The whitepaper is perceived as having a certain gravity that brochures may not. Work with this perception and use it to your advantage.
- Build up the argument using a solid structure – your white paper needs a story to turn it from a vague piece on industry trends to a compelling argument to solve an organisational or business problem.
- Start with an outline of what the problem is.
- Then discuss how it’s impacting daily business.
- Introduce the fact that a solution exists to solve this problem.
- Now talk about your solution and present yourself as the best provider.
- The paper should close with a short conclusion and CTA.
- Use numbers and graphs – whether you use primary or secondary research, real, relevant data should be used to back up your thinking and logic. Without them, it may lack substance and read like just another piece of marketing bluff. And the easiest way to digest data is by viewing accessible graphs and images.
- Thought leadership – ouch…yes I just used that phrase! While it sounds like old bluster, you know what I mean when I say it. Publishing white papers on topics of interest to your target audience will demonstrate that you know the industry and you know what you’re talking about.
- Call to action – it sounds obvious but the whitepaper is still a marketing tool so it does require a CTA. You have just spent the previous 7/8 pages turning your reader into a warm prospect. Make sure they know what to do in order to take the next step.
White papers will generate leads. For example, you can use a ‘content wall’ to harvest contact details online or do it the old-fashioned way and email out the whitepaper and follow up with a phone call. Then let your sales skills take over!!
If you need a hand writing your white paper or to find out how a white paper can generate leads for you, get in touch with me, an experienced white paper writer or just visit www.oconnellcopy.com .