Whitepaper 101

Whitepaper-101How can you take your inbound marketing past the traditional blog posts and email newsletters? Give a whitepaper a try to boost engagement and reach new potential customers. A whitepaper may sound vague, but it’s simply an exchange: You provide a piece of content and your customers provide their contact information to access your white paper.

The great thing about white papers is that you’re not bound by a specific layout or standard. There’s no template to follow, and as long as you’re not cribbing from someone else’s work, go for it. For example, a moving company could create a white paper full of tips for customers getting ready for a cross country move while a tech startup would offer a case study or FAQ on their product. Anything goes, as long as the information is something potential customers would find useful. In our case, we have a resource guide filled with tools to jump start your marketing or get back on track if you’ve gone astray.

Now What?

Once you’ve created a white paper filled with information people can’t get anywhere else, you need to protect it to complete the exchange. You can do this by creating a contact wall. Think of it as a door locked by a security card and a customer’s email address is their access card. We use Formstack for our contact wall, since the WordPress plugin integrates seamlessly into a landing page or blog post. When a customer submits their email address, they are instantly taken to a PDF of the whitepaper they can download, print or forward to a friend. Formstack keeps those shiny new email address safe until I’m ready to access them. Another perk is that I can see where customers are coming from and the abandon rate, which lets me know if I need to make changes to the form to increase the conversion rate.

Email addresses from whitepaper customers ensure your newsletter list is full of quality email addresses for people who want to hear from you. You can now keep in touch with them. These people originally searched you out for your whitepaper, but now they’re going to get regular updates from you and you’ll be at the top of their mind when they’re ready to buy.

Don’t forget to put your new whitepaper on your website, send it out in one of your newsletters, include it on social media and promote it like you would any other noteworthy piece of information. If you’re interested in learning more about whitepapers or Internet marketing in general, give us a call. Or download or free resources white paper! Hey, I had to throw it out there.