5 Reasons You Need a White Paper
Do I need a white paper?
Here’s the answer (so you don’t have to scroll all the way down).
If you sell something that involves a lot of money, it’s new, or software-related, the answer is most likely yes. From startups to well-positioned companies, all of them need white papers. And if they don’t have one, they’re losing potential clients.
As you might already know by experience or research, nowadays when CEOs, founders, or business owners of big companies are making purchasing decisions, they don’t go directly to a salesperson. They do their own research.
A report from Demand Gen shows that 62% of marketers rely on content to research and make B2B purchases decisions. And in the early stages of the buying process 57% of research is done through, yes, you have guessed, white papers.
What Is a White Paper?
As a business owner, it’s vital for you to understand what a white paper is and how to recognize one.
A white paper is this in-depth and heavily researched document that showcases a B2B product to help a customer make a purchase decision. This document is usually 10 pages long and is highly valued as a sales document.
So, this document doesn’t have conversion-related language, it doesn’t have opinions or calls to action. This document is full of statistics and data to put your product on a good word about how it can solve a problem.
A white paper’s goal is to help your customer make a purchase decision.
BEWARE: An eBook isn’t a white paper, they’re two different unique pieces of content. An eBook’s purpose is just to nurture prospects not to close sales.
5 Reasons You Need a White Paper as a B2B or SaaS Provider
If you’re still not convinced of the importance of white papers, here are five more incentives.
#1. Generates Leads
White papers are pieces of content that are deeply researched. So, the ones downloading white papers from your website are leads in search of information.
And you’re interested in knowing these leads.
That’s usually why companies ask for your business email to download a white paper. At the beginning of the sales process, your customers hardly know you, but by generating an email list with curious leads, you can start nurturing them.
Also, remember to do a follow-up after a lead downloads your white paper. This is a good way of showing you’re interested in answering questions they might have after reading it. You don’t want to lose potential clients because you weren’t paying attention to their needs.
Here’s an example of a HubSpot follow up email after downloading a white paper:
Note there are multiple options to get in touch in the HubSpot example. You want to make it easy for your potential clients to contact you.
Pro Tip: Keeping track of the number of downloads from your white papers can also help you measure their performance.
#2. Positions Yourself in the Market
Now, if you know what you’re doing and what you sell is good, you can position yourself in your industry by using white papers.
You want to position yourself in your field to be seen as an expert. The company people go to when they’re uncertain about X subject or want to buy Y product.
You can position yourself in the market by:
- Offering a set of features no one else has
- Selling something new to the industry
- Having a product of higher quality
- Doing anything different, but beneficial to your customers
You can share white papers showcasing your unique selling proposition (USP). Think about that one thing that you do differently from your competition and your customers love.
#3. Educates Your Leads
White papers help your leads realize if what you sell is of any use to them.
Going to a salesperson is one of the last steps your prospects use to get your product. But before taking that big step, statistics show, they read between 3–5 pieces of content. And half of that content is white papers.
Also, besides being super important pieces of content, white papers save you time. When you get on the phone with a prospect, you don’t want to go over the white paper yourself and explain to them what your product is about. Prospects already know what your product does, they’re just there to ask you a few questions and possibly a demo.
If someone is interested in your product after reading a white paper and goes to you, it most likely means a sale.
#4. Sets You Apart From Your Competitors
If you have a white paper and your competitors don’t, you’re already ahead.
A white paper sets you apart from your competition. Besides showing your USP, it shows the knowledge you have in the field. And how this knowledge applies to a specific problem in some cases.
If you did your research in the early stages of your business and are offering a lot of value to your customers, you have nothing to worry about. Think of a white paper as the person who speaks on your behalf when you’re not in the room.
#5. Helps Your Prospects Make a Purchase Decision
I can’t stress this enough.
If you’re targeting your audience correctly and what you sell is valuable, prospects are going to choose your product. So, your job is to hire someone that writes you a white paper and shows that.
But remember, people who read white papers are making purchasing decisions with a lot of money involved. A white paper serves to explain. There’s no room for fluff in it. You can always persuade, but use facts and data to support your claims.
Do you need a white paper?
If you read this post until the end, probably yes.
Nowadays, more and more B2B people expect you to have white papers as they’re essential to any B2B company in the sales process. And this sales process is all about communicating information.
It doesn’t matter if your product is something never seen before. If you don’t communicate how it can help your customer solve their biggest problem, you can’t sell it.
How many white papers does your company have? Comment below and let me know.