Thinking about writing a white paper can seem like a dreary chore, something that you need to do, but you don't know where to start or what to write about. You know it can help your business, you need to outsmart and out market your competitors, but you just can't get started.
Well, there may be times when you need a 15-20 page white paper, but for the most part people won't read anything that long. One of the people I work with can take three hours to tell me about an issue that can be solved in ten minutes! He drives me and everyone else nuts - we just don't need that much information to make a decision and solve the problem!
The same is true for your customers. If you can't get it done in a 1-2 page white paper, consider breaking it down into smaller papers, each addressing a specific issue, and then implement a follow up system that continues to lead your customer along so they take the next logical step. You can use an email auto responder program to keep your customer moving towards that final step - making a purchase, calling you or simply asking you a question.
The most effective white papers, however, are short little guides or reference tools that solve problems and that people will keep handy for reference in the future. This is the magic formula for success, and it doesn't take long to put into place.
All you really need to do is give a person some knowledge that enables them to DO something. Your white paper should be action oriented, not theoretical. The best way to write a white paper is to make a list of 5 or 6 things you want your customer to know how to do after they read your white paper. Just tell them how to solve their problem.
Think about it this way: when you do something good for someone you are making a deposit into their ‘emotional bank account. ’ When you ask them to do something for you, you make a withdrawal from that same ‘emotional bank account. ’ So the goal is to use a white paper to make a deposit before you make a withdrawal, all the time with useful problem solving information.
You will find that this is much more effective than traditional advertising because it builds trust between you and your customer in ways no other advertising medium can.
At the same time your white paper is helping your customer to solve his problem your way, not someone else's. Think about how powerful this is.
John M. White has an Mba in business and provides business consulting services for start up companies. Explode your business with White Papers today with the Definitive Guide to Writing White Papers today. Or, to learn more, take the White Paper Mini-Series first.