Warm Up Prospects with a White Paper

You’ve got some qualified prospects and your company can do an amazing job for them. But the sale is stalled.

What’s the problem? Your prospect has never worked with your company before. They don’t know how good you are. So how do you push them over the decision-making hurdle and into the fold with other satisfied clients?

Option One: Tell Them You’re Great

Here’s a quick solution. Simply tell them you’re great. Let’s suppose you’re in business consulting. You can tell prospects “our expert staff has solutions that can improve profitability and maintain your competitive edge in the marketplace.” After all, that’s what companies want isn’t it? You see a lot of companies making these chest-thumping statements. It’s easy. But there’s a catch. It doesn’t work. Prospects have absolutely no reason to believe you.

Option Two: Show Them You’re Great with a White Paper

This is the not-so-quick solution. This difference, however, is that it works. And one way to show prospects your brilliance, you guessed it, is to write a white paper.

What’s a White Paper?

A white paper is simply a report that offers information that’s valuable to your clients. It helps someone solve a problem and shows your expertise. Then it persuades with a soft sell.

Maybe you’re objecting that you don’t want to give away your valuable knowledge. If so, think of a white paper as an appetizer. It whets the appetite and makes prospects ready for the gourmet meal—your product or services.

For example, I offer a white paper on my website called: “How a Marketing Plan Increases Your Profits: Making the Most of Limited Time and Budgets.” My thought was that most marketing and business managers are crunched for time and money. So I offer a report to help them solve their most basic problems. But I don’t write the plan for them for free. If they want that, they need to hire me.

Writing a White Paper: The Basics

1. Who’s going to read it?

To write a persuasive white paper you must determine who you want to read it. Develop a profile of your ideal reader that defines:

  • The title, job responsibilities and industry of the most influential person in deciding to use your product or services.
  • The size company they work for.
  • Their familiarity with your white paper’s subject matter.
  • General demographics: male or female, age, etc.
  • Whether there is a secondary reader who is influential in the decision. If so, determine if they can be targeted without detracting from the strength of the white paper for the primary reader.

2. What’s it all about?

Writing a white paper might seem overwhelming. Make it easier by breaking it down into six bite-sized chunks.

Put the Problem First

Tap into your readers’ emotions by showing you understand their pain. Paint a picture of the problem that your product or service solves.

Reveal the Solution

Don’t take up much space with this but let readers know what the solution is…..your product, or service, of course.

What’s in it For the Reader?

This is the core of your white paper. Answer the question: “how is this solution going to make my life better?” It’s all about the benefits. Why? Because that’s what your client cares about.

What to Look For

Now it’s time to give your reader direction on how to choose a company that provides the solution you’ve suggested. Since you’re writing for your ideal target, that direction should, of course, lead to your company. The key considerations should include those that differentiate your business from the competition.

Finally, a Little Selling

You’ve given your reader some valuable information. Now is your chance to let them know the advantages of doing business with your company. Of course, you offer exactly what you told them to look for.

Ask for Action

It’s a simple little thing that’s often forgotten: the call to action. End by telling prospects what to do. For example: “Need help writing your white paper? Call Carolyn Frith Marketing, LLC NOW at 610-340-0622 or email cfrith@carolynfrith.com.”

 



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