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Why white papers are a valuable selling tool

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Sanja Pasic
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What makes white papers so important versus other marketing collateral tools for your business? What about case studies, brochures and datasheets, company web pages, blog posts and the various other information types available? Fact of the matter is, because white papers are one of the single most influential sources of information for potential buyers. And here’s why.

 White papers versus other information sources

 In examining what makes white papers such a valuable selling tool, we must first determine what they are and what their components are – this will be what sets them apart from other marketing collateral. So what exactly is a white paper and what are they comprised of? White papers are documents or reports developed with a single outcome in mind. To make a sale. Or in other words, to promote a specific product or service to potential prospects so well to the point that they would be greatly influenced in making a decision that either includes purchasing of the product at hand, or at least  taking steps towards that potential (i.e. moving a potential lead from the top to the bottom of the purchasing funnel).

Now that we know what white papers are and what their purpose is, we can look into what is included in their content which is so lucrative to buyers versus other information sources.  As mentioned above, as white papers are essentially a marketing or sales tool that business use in order to promote their specific product or services, the content within the documents themselves are representative of that same initiative. What this means is that the information presented is written in a promotional manner (i.e. content marketing) that includes convincing facts and details about the product or service, painting it as beneficial to companies or direct customers interested in making the purchase.
White papers are one of the single most valuable selling tools businesses can leverage in a successful content marketing campaign.

 The key selling components

 In convincing the potential buyer that the specific product or service in question is superior to all others in its field or place of business, white papers mainly use a combination, or all of the following components which can be used as a set of guidelines when developing the document:

  • A logical and well supported argument – Informative, knowledgeable and well researched content (includes facts, statistics and numbers) presenting the problem or issue at hand and how it can be solved by eliciting your product or service.

  • A short and concise writing style – Writing that makes an impression, is effective and convincing (i.e. presents a goal, a strategy and final outcome).

  • An awareness of your target audience – Are your stakeholders interested in the technical,  business or user benefits and attributes of your product? Depending on your customer make sure to tailor your white paper to suit the needs of each (i.e. if your target audience is a technical stakeholder, then focus on highlighting the ease of functionality, longevity and scalability of your product versus others in the market).

  • An effective yet appropriate layout and design – The way in which you choose to present information in a document can either break you or make you (so to speak) and when it comes to white papers, the story is no different. Make sure to include at least some visual aids (emphasize key text, use graphs or charts to present numerical data, pictograms (combination of images and words) and don’t forgo all use of color, include some as the content needs to flow in some way for ease of readability). However, keep your use of graphic elements to a minimum as overdoing it can risk your content appearing brochure type taking away from the main goals of your paper.

 The importance of value in content marketing

 As we know, white papers are a valuable selling tool as they act as a promotional, marketing and sales device designed to essentially make your business a success. But what is it exactly that makes them do this you might ask and why. The answer is found in the same factor that all other successful content marketing campaigns contain these days and that factor is value. We already know white papers are a valuable selling tool and how to write an effective one and now we can begin to understand how and why white papers of value bring about business results.

It is well understood for any content published online that there is only one way to gain exposure, likability and attention from your target audience and that is to produce valuable content. In doing this, people  will not only regard your content as a quality piece of information but also something worthy of their time and attention which is exactly what you are after and given the right content and objectives, this can translate into a sale.  When your white paper draws attention from your target audience for the potential benefits it could bring them, coupled with a sound and convincing argument, you should have no problem securing solid leads.

What’s more is that white papers are also dualy effective in the sense that they not only provide content of high value which naturally draws attention due to the information they provide, but in doing so, they also effectively market your product or service to potential stakeholders. With the right type of white paper you can easily and successfully leverage your business outcomes. Content marketing is integral to getting ahead and standing out in today’s markets and producing valuable white papers is one sure fire way to convince, influence and secure an increased and ever expanding customer base.  White papers are essential to businesses and they are one form of business collateral that should not be overlooked or taken lightly.

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About Sanja Pasic

Sanja Pasic
Having grown up in Canada and lived and traveled abroad, Sanja has experienced various international markets which have given her a distinctive insight into the global atmosphere. This knowledge has enabled her to produce effective online marketing campaigns in the business world and excel in her current work environment. She enjoys travelling and experiencing new cultures and people and has a keen interest in international issues and the world we live in. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and International Development from the University of Waterloo (Canada) and a post-graduate diploma in Human Resources Management from Conestoga College.