By Tammy Elizabeth Southin
As a small business owner, have you considered offering white papers to generate leads? White papers add value to your business and demonstrate your expertise. Great white papers address your readers’ specific needs, build trust in your business and help to generate leads based on that trust.
A white paper is a document that you use to communicate your expertise to your clients. More specifically, a white paper is a valuable tool with the primary purpose of educating your readers. Contrary to popular belief, white papers do not have to be very long documents. In fact, when it comes to the Internet, shorter is often better. You can effectively present a focused topic in as little as four or five pages. Present your white paper not as a collection of words but as a captivating tool for generating interest and leads.
For a white paper to be captivating, it must present information that your readers want and need to know. For example, if your business deals with widgets, what exact widget information will most benefit your clients? Staying on top of current business trends will help you brainstorm and sort out the compelling ideas from the weak ones.
The number one rule of writing is to always know your audience. Before you begin the outline, do a little research. What are the demographics of your readership? Do your customers buy your widgets for commercial or personal purposes? Where are your readers geographically? Are you writing for industry insiders or the general public? What problems and challenges do your readers face?
If your clients are employed as upper-middle managers, involved in B2B sales, located in North America, and considered industry experts, then your white paper should reflect your readership in tone and content. This target group will have far more familiarity with terms used in your widget business than, say, a group comprised of members of the general public.
Once you have established your target audience, focus on their specific needs regarding your products or services. What are the latest trends affecting the manufacturing of your widgets? Are there external threats from new competitors? If your readers are concerned that your widgets are threatened by trendy and less-expensive items, you will want to write about the product benefits of a proven widget that has outlasted the competition and why. Your white paper will help turn curious readers into solid leads.
A white paper provides knowledge and educates readers. A great white paper combines your valuable expertise with insight to become an indispensable tool that builds your clients’ trust in you. Build trust in your readers and they will trust doing business with you.
Tammy Elizabeth Southin is the president and creative director of Insurepronews Creative Solutions Inc., a small business offering customized newsletters and communication solutions to insurance