Using White Papers to Market to a Highly Targeted Audience
03.02.2016 / Posted in Articles, Content Marketing
White papers are one of the most effective tools in the sales and marketing toolkit, but also one of the most misunderstood and misused content marketing tools. White papers bring credibility to a company and the products or services it offers. They help position companies as thought leaders and assist the sales process by educating and informing prospects.
Like a case study, a white paper is best when it focuses on solutions to a problem that resonates with the reader. It should explain why the problem must be solved, explore alternate solutions, and logically lead the reader to conclude that your company has the knowledge, expertise, and technology to solve the problem.
Because white papers are influential to sales prospects, particularly in the technology sector, they’re an ideal way to increase business and should be included in any growth strategy. Companies can use the persuasiveness of a white paper to educate their target audience using credible research, demonstrate the company as a leader in the industry, and ultimately differentiate the company in the eyes of its readers.
Some 61 percent of businesses involved in B2B marketing already use white papers, according to the US-based Content Marketing Institute. White papers are ideally used in ways that help move prospects through the sales funnel, but can also be a key tool for inbound lead generation. While they do raise awareness and influence sales, white papers are ideally used in the interest- and preference-building stages of a typical sales funnel.
Once produced, white papers should be disseminated through a variety of marketing channels including digital channels, such as your website, and marketing or sales emails, mailed to high profile people on your prospect list, and handed out at conferences or as leave-behinds. Securing speaking opportunities at trade shows and conferences using the topic of the white paper can also increase readership.
Properly conceived and well written with informative content and objective analysis, white papers work. In an IT buying study, 72% of IT professionals contacted stated that they found white papers useful or extremely useful in their decision-making process. In Eccolo Media’s B2B Technology Content Survey Report, white papers consistently outrank other forms of content marketing by both influencers and decision makers, a fact that has held true year after year. In the same report, white papers are the content type most accessed on a mobile device.
White Papers Are
- Best applied in complex, technology-based markets with longer sales cycles.
- More like an objective magazine article than a sales brochure.
- Well written pieces that avoid industry jargon and have an engaging introduction that draws the reader in.
- Written in the language of your target audience, creating slightly different versions tailored to different target audiences.
- Well-researched and use technically accurate documentation.
White Papers Are Not
- Sales pitches; readers should feel informed, not sold
- Considered general marketing material; instead they appeal to a niche audience
- Technical papers, sales brochures, or data sheets
- Opinionated rants unsupported by facts
- White papers continue to be one of the most valuable tools in the marketing kit
If you need a marketing strategy that includes highly targeted, skillfully written content like white papers, FrogDog can help. Contact us