Tuesday, February 8, 2011

12 Ways to Leverage Your White Paper to Generate High-Quality Leads

12 Ways to Leverage Your White Paper to Generate High-Quality Leads

A well-written white paper captivates your audience in the title and the first few lines on a subject that is near and dear to your reader’s heart. The paper makes the case that your technology solves a major problem, in time and/or dollar savings or other benefit meaningful to your ideal prospect.

When completed, most companies do a few standard things with their white paper: post it on their website, send it to their prospect list, and get it to their sales team. Some companies print their white papers and distribute at trade shows. Beyond those actions, few companies do much else.

The question is: If you’re going to allocate marketing budget to promotion, why focus on white papers vs. media spends or company ads, etc. The reason is that each white paper campaign is highly focused on an ideal audience and thus provides you rifle-shot marketing accuracy. The leads generated from a well-implemented campaign will be on target and likely accelerate your typical sales cycle. Focusing budget on company ads results in a shot gun approach that’s much more hit-or-miss.

So without further ado, here’s our Top 12 Ways to Leverage a White Paper:

1. ID industry newsletters that target your ideal customers. These are usually available through existing media such as trade journals that often publish multiple newsletters targeting discrete segments of their readership. Sponsoring these newsletters is often very low cost as vs. a full-page ad in the parent publication. By doing a text-only ad that matches the font and spacing of the newsletter, you will achieve high responses and an excellent ROI. Some newsletters provide you with both a banner and a text ad. According to a recent newsletter advertiser, the text ad pulls far more leads than the banner ad!

2. Do a keyword and SEO optimized press release for the White Paper. Editors of many pubs often will publish an announcement of a new white paper. Be sure to include a .jpg image of the white paper including a caption and link to your website in the caption. Important: Be sure to copy the publisher and especially the publisher's rep. They do have sway with the editor and you will usually find reps a little more receptive than the editors. Ditto on all materials sent to editors, copy the reps and/or publishers.

3. A few weeks to a month or so after initial release of the paper, re-date and edit the title in a minor way and post on my Top Ten free PR sites - see attached article/blog post.

4. Check and see if one or more of your trade pubs have a White Paper section on their website where you can upload the White Paper at n/c. Some tech pubs do! Upload accordingly.

5. Post on one or more syndication sites, which unfortunately often prove to be very expensive.

6. Generate a "micro site" with carefully researched site URLs that will benefit your URL, eg., www.product-benefit.com You will still use your same company branding, but each white paper will have a unique, dedicated site. It will contain a specific amount of text for optimized SEO extracted from the WP, then a download button to a standard sign-in page with limited info: Name, Co, Email, phone to reduce user "friction." This will also give you great insight into monitoring results from two perspectives:

a) actual leads, which you can hopefully track through your internal CRM, thereby generating an ROI and

b) review the webmaster's log to see the sources of your hits to the site. This is very crucial to ID heavy traffic from one domain, e.g., Fujitsu which may have an engineer who downloaded your paper and circulated it within the company and multiple team members are clicking to the site, indicating a high-level sales alert to your team. It's also crucial to review sources of traffic from search engines that will also provide you with the key word(s) or phrase(s) used by the searcher. This resource is also highly informative to ID the most important keywords.

7. Google Adwords, a modest pay-per-click (PPC) campaign. Although Google denies it, my design partner and I have both independently confirmed with client campaigns that a Google Adwords campaign really boosts your SEO. Many search engine folks have also confirmed this to us. So instead of attempting to market your company via Adwords, focus on the white paper. It's easy to develop one or more compelling value propositions to test and Adwords has an extremely easy A/B ad testing tool to see which one is drawing the most clicks. Because the URL will be a generic title, such as www.product-benefit.com, you gain an extra marketing boost to support the reader’s urge to click. This campaign need not be expensive and can be adjusted according to response.

8. As we've already done with multiple papers, be sure to follow up with editors to leverage any of the content into articles.

9. Although many technology companies have not engaged in Social Media to date, I'm hearing more and more about companies who are. So the easy thing to do is post an announcement on your company Facebook page.

10. You can also engage on Twitter and/or other social media. There are automated tweet tools that will allow you to program a repeating tweet every xxx # of minutes or hours.

11. Convert the WP to a PPT presentation and post on one of the PPT posting sites. You can even go so far as to then modify your prior press release as a new press release about the availability of the PPT, gaining you more visibility.

12. In the PPT menu, one can convert the PPT to a video file. We can add a voice over and post on our list of 20 video sites. Again, post a new press release announcing the availability of the video.

Click to view writing samples and feel free to email or call for your custom lead generation program.