If I asked you to name the B2B marketing tool that generates the best leads, could you tell me?
My guess is you can’t.
Yet this piece of marketing is probably the most effective form of lead generation content out there. Sometimes known as the grandaddy of all marketing content, if a nanotech company gets it right, then good things start to happen.
Now before I get into the good stuff, I am not suggesting that this tool is effective in all situations, nor am I suggesting that it be used by every nanotech firm. Certain situations warrant its use, others do not.
However, the reason I am dedicating this week’s issue (and next week’s) to it is threefold:
- First, many of the nanotech companies who I see using it are doing so incorrectly. They don’t have a clue how write them properly and they don’t promote them effectively. And to be frank… it sickens me.
- Second, this tool ranks as one of the most complex and difficult marketing projects to undertake. It requires coordination between many people. And an already overloaded marketing team can find themselves at their wits end just thinking about creating one of these bad boys.
- Finally, I mention this tool because when its use is warranted (and granted, sometimes it isn’t) it truly is a marketer’s lifeline. It also happens to be a terrific foundation piece for any marketing system.
If you haven’t guessed it already, the tool I’m referring to is the good old fashioned white paper. It is sometimes referred to as the ‘grandaddy of marketing content’ (or the ‘king of content’) due to the complexity involved in creating one and its sheer versatility.
According to a MarketingProfs article back in July, which was based on a report by CMO Council, white papers were the content type that delivered the highest quality leads. I’ve provided a link to the article here, if you want to check it out.
Now, while you may raise your eyebrows at this, I can almost guarantee that your skepticism is the result of a misunderstanding of what exactly a white paper is and what it’s used for.
Pay attention to the mistakes listed below. Many nanotechnology companies get white papers wrong and it’s hurting their marketing efforts.
Mistakes to avoid
The common mistakes I see with white papers are:
- Focusing too much on your company and product. You’re not writing a brochure here. You’re writing a carefully crafted content marketing piece that provides valuable information on how a technical issue can be solved.
- No useful information that’s backed up by facts and proof. The information needs to be useful. All claims have to be backed up with statistics and proof. Any fluff or hearsay should be discarded.
- You spend too much time selling. A white paper is not a sales pitch. It is supposed to help B2B buyers make decisions using educational and informative content.
- Writing it like an academic paper, data sheet or research report. I see this all the time in nanotechnology and general high-tech and scientific companies. This is a mistake, even for high-tech companies selling to engineers and scientists.
Don’t get me wrong, you do need to research a white paper and reference your sources. But you’re not writing a scientific or academic paper. You don’t want to bore your prospects when trying to generate leads.
Don’t forget that a white paper is a marketing tool with a specific marketing purpose.
The problem here is that there is no industry standard for describing a white paper. I’ve seen white papers written in the form of 120 page technical manuals and 1 page data sheets. I’ve seen technical academic papers being called white papers, as well as research reports.
White paper expert Gordon Graham uses the following mantra:
“An effective white paper helps prospective B2B buyers understand an issue, solve a problem, or make a decision.”
Tattoo this mantra on your forehead. It will save you a lot of trouble down the line.
Remember this when creating your next white paper and you’ll be ahead of the curve, well poised to create a dynamite marketing piece that makes you look like the best thing in marketing communications since sliced bread.
White papers and systems
As mentioned above, white papers make a great foundation element for a nanotech profits generating system (provided a white paper is actually warranted, of course) because it lasts a long time and can keep bringing in fresh leads many months after it was first written.
But like any system, it needs supporting elements that back it up. These elements are covered in the Nanotech Profits Blueprint and will be covered in more depth in future issues.
Next week, we’ll walk through the decision making process that every nanotech marketer should go through before creating a white paper.
All the best,
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