Aug 10 2011
White Papers are commonly used as marketing material by B2B companies. They are normally used earlier in the sales cycle to convince clients to use their services.
White papers are a cross between a magazine article and a brochure. The white paper normally starts off with a problem that is affecting the reader, after this the solution to the problem is provided. This is the magazine article section. At the end of the white paper the service provided by your company and product or service is written. This is the brochure section. The service provided by your company should provide the same solutions that were described earlier in the white paper.
Clients are keen on reading the magazine article part of the white paper to find out the solutions to their problems, but the brochure part of the white paper does its job too as it provides information about a readymade service that works. They are more inclined towards using a service designed by experts, than spending their time creating one on their own.
How do B2B companies use white papers?
1. To launch new products: White papers are commonly written to launch new products. The contents of the white papers let the reader know that the product is required in order to help the company solve its problems and perform better.
2. Help clients see old products from a new angle: Most products are marketed using regular marketing materials like website copy, sales pages, brochures, etc. Sometimes both the marketing materials and the products get outdated. Through a white paper you can give a detailed description of the latest problems your product helps solve. This will help your clients see your product from a new angle, thereby improving your sales.
3. Build brand and company image: It’s hard to build brand and company image with small marketing materials like brochures, website copy, flyers, etc. but with a long detailed white paper it is easier. By reading the problems and solutions in the white paper your reader will know all about your company and how it functions to serve them better.
4. To make products stand out: The main problem every product faces is competition. No matter how original or modern a product or service is, there’s always competition. By using a white paper you can demonstrate that the products and services of your company are better and more effective than your competitors.
For e.g. in the white paper “Attract more international students to your Colleges” you will find that UK colleges are being shown that they can stand out from UK Universities. In the UK, Universities mainly fund themselves by recruiting students from foreign countries, as they can charge them higher fees. UK colleges which aren’t as popular as UK Universities miss out on really high profits. This white paper was written to show UK colleges that they can stand out and recruit a lot of international students just like UK Universities.
5. Gathering emails for newsletters: Your white paper is a powerful tool that will help you generate leads on its own, but you can generate more leads by asking clients to register for your white paper by providing their email addresses. You can now send newsletters, news about latest offers, and latest white papers to read, to these clients and keep in touch with them and in the process generate more and more leads.
The above uses are the most common uses of white papers. If you write your white papers the right way, you can use them to generate quality long-term leads just like other B2B companies.
Mitt Ray is a copywriter. He specializes in writing and marketing white papers. He runs imittcopy which provides copywriting and white paper writing & marketing services. Mitt regularly posts tips on writing and marketing white papers on his White Paper Blog. He is also the author of “Understand and Write White Papers“, a white paper on how to write white papers.