White papers are one of the most ingenious inventions of Western marketers. The number of companies in America using white papers to attract new clients is off the charts.
What are white papers?
White papers are a free, small electronic document containing meaningful and useful information for your target audience.
The main purpose to use white paper is to get the contact information of a potential client, build trust in your company and make you want to start working with you. That is why use of white paper are very often used in two-step sales.
Why white papers are effective
Let’s imagine ourselves as a potential client interested in renovating an apartment.
Usually, as soon as we decide to renovate an apartment, we, first of all, start calling all our friends with a request to recommend a good and reliable company that can make us a quality repair. And it’s good if real professionals are recommended to us, and not Vasya’s friend who is ready to make repairs for a bottle.
But what if the services of the company recommended to you don’t fit into your budget? Or friends could not recommend anyone?
Then google comes to the rescue. How long does it take to browse all the exciting sites like jokaroom and how to choose one of them? Reviews only?
After visiting the first 10 sites, we will see the same slogans: we are the best! Only we make repairs quickly and efficiently. We have the best prices. Everything is the same and the same! No site has been able to grab my attention and get my contact. But I am a real potential client who needs only to be convinced of choosing a contractor.
How white papers work
And now let’s imagine that not only do I don’t know which contractor to choose, I still have a lot of questions.
What are the best materials to use for repairs? How to get money back if the contractor makes poor-quality repairs? How to calculate a repair estimate? How to check the quality of the contractor’s work?
And, of course, I also have a huge list of additional questions, because a good renovation is quite an expensive pleasure. Therefore, there is no desire to risk money.
Do the owners of the contractor companies know about this?
Of course they do. But this knowledge is not used in any way. But in vain.
After all, using them, you can easily turn a client from cold to hot ( read about cold, warm and hot clients here ), just use white paper.
Now let’s imagine that when I visit the website of one of the contractors, I find a free material “Everything you need to know about renovation. 100 most important questions ” (or 10 rules that you need to know when choosing a contractor, 15 most common mistakes who started repairs in their apartment – there are plenty of variations), which the company is ready to send to my mailbox absolutely free of charge.
The price of the question is my name, my e-mail and my contact phone number.
This is the so-called win-win strategy: I find answers to my questions from specialists in my field, and the company gets contacts of a potential “warm” client, to whom it is already much easier to sell its services.
6 required elements of white papers
We figured out why to use white paper are needed and, using a specific example, we saw how to attract clients with their help. But do not think that it is enough to throw a couple of lines into a Word document and offer it to potential clients. Not only will you scare them away, but you will also spread a bad name about yourself.
So let’s take a look at the 8 mandatory elements of white papers.
# 1 – Value
Let’s once again remember the main purpose of use of white paper – to get contact details of a potential client, build trust in your company and make you want to start working with you.
For a client to want to work with you, the content you distribute must be of real value to the prospect.
How do you know the value?
First, it is imperative to draw up a portrait of a potential client . Knowing your buyer, you can easily determine what issues are of concern to him. The answers to these questions will be the very value for which the potential client will agree to leave you their contact. And, perhaps, he will want to start working with you.
Second, ask existing customers what problems they have encountered. If there are no clients yet, and you are just starting to work, ask your friends or monitor the forums.
Your task is to create a material that is guaranteed to be useful to your potential clients and form an opinion of you as an expert.
At the same time, remember – never write on a topic that you do not know thoroughly! Otherwise, white papers will do you a disservice.
# 2 – White papers format
Historically, white papers mean an e-book. The thing is that the e-book is the most popular format, but not the only one.
Let’s see what formats white papers exist:
Ebook: As mentioned above, the e-book is the most popular format for white papers. However, I want to note that e-books are the most effective for individual entrepreneurs. The task of such an e-book is to form an expert opinion about its author and sell his services.
Manual: Guidelines are ideal for companies selling complex or high-value services. The task of the management is to explain to the client in simple language all the benefits of using the service and show him the use step by step: do it once, do it twice – get 3.
It is important that after reading the manual, the prospect takes the indicated actions, gets the result, and understands that with your service he can achieve much more.
Review and analytics: Reviews and analytics are well suited to different agencies
# 3 – Writing style and literacy
The next important and integral elements of white papers are writing style and literacy.
We will not talk a lot about literacy, here everything is more or less clear. It is important that there are no gross spelling mistakes in your material.
But let’s dwell on the writing style in more detail.
Before writing a book, you must decide on the formality of style. If your target audience is youth, then informal style is more suitable for you. If, however, the target audience is older people, then use the formal style.
# 4 – Readability and Design
Before you publish white papers, read it yourself and let your friends read it. Step into the prospect’s shoes. Would you read such material yourself? Do you like it?
Therefore, make sure that the client understands that you did not prepare the material on your knees, but seriously approached the issue. To do this, use a readable font, break the text into paragraphs, use lists, add media files and infographics to the text. Make your material really want to read.
# 5 – Bonus and Call to Action
It’s important to remember that if a customer is hot, they just need to be nudged into action. It is the call to action that is the logical ending of your material.
And to enhance the effect, add a few additional bonuses. For example, new casinos online giving a lot of exciting bonus and offers to its potential clients.
# 6 – Virality
It is important that your potential clients know about your white papers. Give them a link on thematic forums, send them to potential customers along with a commercial offer, ask existing customers to tell their friends about your materials.
As soon as your material begins to spread online, the influx of new customers is guaranteed.
As you can see, use of white paper are a very effective, but at the same time underestimated in the CIS countries, tool for attracting clients.
A well-prepared material inspires confidence in your company, and calls to action and additional bonuses contribute to the fact that the client can buy your service immediately after reading it.
But, always remember, the main task of white papers is not to sell a service, but to help the client. Answer his questions. Give the opportunity to independently achieve the result.
Only in this case, the client will feel that your company, first of all, cares about customers, and does not set itself a goal to hit the jackpot.
But at the same time, white papers have their own rules. By breaking them, you can do yourself a disservice and seriously damage your reputation.