In our August blog entry, we talked about five types of “inquiry bait” – website content valuable enough to your visitors that they are willing to share personal details with you (i.e. email addresses, etc.) in order to get it. Valuable content available through your website is the fuel that powers all Inbound Marketing efforts, and each type has its own distinct characteristics.
In the next few posts, we’re going to do a deeper dive on five different types of inquiry bait. These five types are:
1. White Papers
This month, we’ll focus on white papers: what are they, and how can they work for you? Webster’s definition is a “detailed or authoritative report.” White papers are popular online marketing tools because they provide an opportunity for businesses to present in-depth information on a single topic. White papers are longer than standard 1-page case studies and shorter than e-books, typically running 5-10 pages in length. White papers are effective because they combine the persuasiveness of an article with the product information of a brochure. They educate without selling.
Effective white papers are written and laid out so that a reader can easily get the information needed to help in the decision-making process. They are still ranked as one of the most effective tools in driving high-value leads, and can be an extremely influential tool in bolstering your company’s credibility.
White papers are ideal for introducing new products and new technology innovations. They help key decision-makers or influencers reach a decision about implementing a particular solution. They’re also a great way to generate awareness about a company and its products and services.
White papers identify a problem and then offer a solution (typically one of your products or services as the best choice for that solution). Once the white paper is written, offer it to your audience as a download off your website (be sure to track number of downloads through Google Analytics to gauge popularity of topics), or use it as a call to action in emails or other communications.
To conclude, here are a few things to remember about white papers:
- At least 5-6 pages long
- Educational, practical, useful – not a sales pitch
- Used before a sale – not after a sale
- Provides facts, not just opinion
Next month, we’ll do a deeper dive on the second type of inquiry bait – surveys. Until then!