February 4, 2010

Turning a White Paper into Real Green


Hostway Team

By Julie Bombacino

Using white papers to generate leads for your business

You know that not every person that visits your Web site is going to pick up the phone and call you or send you an email (dare to dream, right?). But what if you could get just a few more to leave their contact information with you and maybe give you an indication of where they are at in the buying process?

All you need to do is give them something they want on your site. One of the easiest ways to get this information is to offer a relevant, timely and informative white paper online — the catch being the visitor (read: potential client!) has to give up a little information in order to get it.

Here are the basic tenets of establishing a lead generation program using a white paper:

Set up a GREAT lead form.

The last thing you want to worry about when your lead gen program has gone live is technical glitches. Or forgetting to ask something really important like “Email Address.”

There is no one-size-fits-all lead form so surf around to get a feel for what companies usually ask for in your industry and talk to your sales folks about what they need/want.

Remember, the shorter it is, the more visitors will fill it out but if it’s longer, you may get ‘hotter’ leads that saves you time and money on the phone.

Hook ‘em with the title

This is the internet after all. There’s so much to read and so many doodads to click on, you have to dazzle a bit with the title or else they’re not going to want to go through the lead form, much less actually give you information. Would you rather read “Building your financial advisor business” or “Charting your Course to Independence?”

Keep it fresh

White papers get stale. Periodically change the content on your site¬ to encourage repeat visitors to sign up for the new offering. New white papers also give you a reason to talk to leads that signed up for the old one, either via email or phone. (The old white papers should be archived on your site though – you never know who may be interested!)

Follow up

Getting the lead in the door is only the first step. Before your white paper goes live, make sure you know what you are going to do with those leads. If you asked them how they wanted to be contacted in the form, contact them that way. If you asked for a purchase timeframe, be sure to call them before that timeframe comes up.

About the Author

Julie Bombacino is a Chicago-area independent marketing consultant with over 12 years of marketing experience, specializing in online marketing. Mrs. Bombacino is a graduate of The Ohio State University and earned an MBA in marketing at DePaul University. She can be reached at bombacino@gmail.com.

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