How White Papers Can Increase Sales for Small and Medium Size Businesses
Let's face it- there's a lot of noise out there in the digital marketing world.
Competition is fierce. It's difficult to stand out from the crowd.
Big companies have massive budgets to stay on top with SEO rankings.
Those pesky budget concerns- they suck!!
Well that has changed!
Even if you're not a big Kohana, and classified as the small to medium business, there is a tremendous opportunity to attract customers and grow your business with white papers.
Niche down and become laser focused to a specific set of customers with a particular topic. You have a better chance to gain traction- perhaps with an underserved community within your business sector. Talk about your brand’s unique strengths and perspectives.
One of the best ways to market your expertise and bring awareness to your brand is the marketing tool known as the white paper.
White papers may sound old-hat, but they are one of the most credible tools to build trust with your audience. Once you build trust with your audience- you become trustworthy.
It does not matter if you sell organic tea or security software. Buyers want to be in the know, and discover how to things better. And- if you do a good job, people will talk about you to others. Word of mouth marketing is powerful.
White papers are not ads for your products directly. They are a marketing tool to attract business. They should include in-depth informative, factual information and research letting the audience become aware you really know your stuff.
Technical reports, proven theories, informative guides on how to do something are the types of information audiences are thirsty for.
If your business is already at the expert level in your field, provide links in your white paper to a case study, showing how you helped a client. White papers help bring awareness, case studies prove a concept.
White papers help get you higher quality leads and convert to a sale.
It's that simple-
White papers can present a problem within your industry and offer solutions to how you solved that problem.
White papers matter because they generate high-quality leads.
The help to establish your company as an industry leader.
Decision makers read white papers before making purchasing decisions.
Generates buzz about your company and its services.
Social media allows smaller businesses to gain organic reach affordably.
You can use the "Sign in With LinkedIn" feature to make it easier for sign- ups. The person does not have to have to fill out endless required fields and you can capture relevant information at the gate.
How long does a white paper have to be? You say- White papers scare me, they're long and intensive.
They don't have to be. Depending on the topic and what your specific audience is reaching out for, they can be as little as 1000 or 2000 words.
It's a time starved world and you must know the habits of your target audience. A good writer will know how to style and optimize the real estate on the page for shorter form content. The white paper should have a stunning page-turning graphic layout that's simple and easy to read.
Is it worth the cost?
Well written research does not cost pennies a word. Always look at the value of return when hiring someone.
Depending on the topic, length, format, and research required pricing will vary by the topic. They average cost about $4,000 or more. Some can cost less.
Before you just hire someone have the writer prepare a proposal.
Once you find a writer that is qualified, expect to pay a proposal fee. Make sure you have agreed the writers fees are in the ballpark of your budget.
Not all writers charge fees for proposals, but consider the time they must spend to analyze your project-time is money.
The fee would include a written proposal detailing the premise, abstract, format, research involved, style guides, subject matter, the data analytics of the audience, and the goal of what the white paper is to produce.
The writer should include the benefits they can offer beyond another candidate.
The roadmap proposal is a very important part of hiring someone. You should take it seriously.
Everything must be clearly laid out on the table so there are no surprises in the middle of a contract.
Even if you end up not hiring the writer- take into account that the proposal you paid for could be a valuable piece of information.
You will have a professional opinion of what should be done for your project. In fact, there is no harm in just getting a proposal, and then directing another writer to write if you can't fit that writer in the budget.
A topic focused landing page that explains the objective of the report.You must spend time to drive traffic to your landing page.
Market your white paper to industry associations and your peers.
Connect with other writers that report on complimentary products- ask them to give you a mention, and do the same for them on one of your blog posts. You can gain backlinks to increase SEO.
Do a live interview on social media or on your website. Give the white paper away for free when participants sign up for your webinar.
The goal is to be a thought leader, a knowledge leader or both to establish authority. The content has to speak your buyer’s language.
Call up your current clients or ask the sales team what customers are looking for. Don't just rely on broad statistical research and data or you'll sound like a broken record.