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How To Write And Promote White Papers As A Sales And Marketing Tool

The statistics overwhelmingly support what those of us who have employed this vehicle already know...White papers are a powerful sales and marketing tool:

69% of prospects download a white paper as part of their buying cycle, and 36% of those pass along the white paper to a supervisor.

70% of large companies rely on white papers, compared with only 59% of smaller companies.

86% of IT professionals rated white papers as effective information sources AND that they read between 10 and 24 white papers each year.

While these stats show just how important a white paper is to the technical audience, my own experience shows that they are also lead magnets for the non-technical audience. In fact, their effectiveness is critical to the earliest stages of the buying cycle.

What is a White Paper?

It's an authoritative report issued by an organization to illustrate the details or applications of technologies, products, and/or services being sold.

To add a white paper to your marketing mix, or enhance the white paper element you already have, consider three critical elements:

Author: Authoring a white paper does take writing talent, but if you don't consider yourself a writer (or the resource in your company doesn't fit the "good writer" qualification), you do have options. Have a good writer "ghost write" the paper, using interviews and resources provided by internal subject-matter experts. Or, have the subject-matter expert write the paper, based on your outline and then EDIT the heck out it!

Content: A white paper has six key components-title, introduction, product/service/technology detail, conclusion, about you, and sources. To add credibility to the overall paper, add case studies, testimonials, and third party research or statistics to hit home your key points.

Promotion: Writing the white paper is not enough. Make it a feature of your promotional mix-combine search engine optimization, public relations, email/direct mail, and syndication to promote your white paper's availability.

White Papers can both build credibility AND generate sales leads, which is why they can be so powerful of a marketing tool (they serve double duty). But keeping them educational in nature and following the rules for white paper format is vital to your success with this vehicle.

Go-To-Market Strategies is a resource center for sales and marketing professionals and business leaders. Our tools, templates, and services help companies achieve big aspirations with limited budgets. More articles and resources available at http://www.gtms-inc.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Shannon_Kavanaugh

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