14 August 2006

Getting the right tone in White Papers

White Papers can be very important in helping Buyers to clarify their thoughts during their Buying process. But all White Papers are not the same. Some White Papers are so ineffective that they act as a barrier between the Buyer and the product or service being sold.

Most people recognise that White Papers have to be issues-led but they also have to help the Buyer through the Buying process and it is worth remembering that people make their their buying decisions based on emotion. However we might wish to disguise the truth from ourselves, engineers, accountants, managers and lawyers make their decisions based on a combination of emotion and logic.

Often the logic supports the emotions and is used to justify our decisions after they have been made. Logic plays a part, but emotion is a core ingredient. Some people think that emotion has no place in B2B marketing. Those people are likely to tell you that your White Paper should be dry and factual.

A White Paper is not an instruction manual or an employee handbook. It is attempting to be an important element supporting your sales and marketing process. Business-to-business marketing need not be dull and boring. Like any advertisement, the White Paper needs a compelling headline and each paragraph of the content has to be built so that it sucks the reader into reading the next. It should begin a conversation so that it talks about your reader's problem, not some impersonal 3rd party problem.

The White Paper also needs a sensible call to action at the end. That also needs to be carefully drafted. The action is probably to undertake further analysis - some kind of a review. It's very unlikely that they will leap straight out and buy your product or service however well written and engaging the White Paper.

White Papers take time to create but can be very powerful tools, providing that you remember that they will be read by people and not by machines.


2 Comments:

Blogger Dennis Howlett said...

they also make very good door stops - probably their best use...

6:22 am  
Blogger John Diffenthal said...

Dennis,

All I'm trying to do is to make White Papers more entertaining and useful before you recycle them as door stops.

8:13 am  

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