How to Use a White Paper to Get Leads

So, you’re convinced a white paper is a good way to position your product. Now what? That is, once you have a white paper written, how do you distribute it and get it into the hands of the right people?

Don’t worry, it’s not hard—white papers are primarily ways to generate leads. Here are a few things to keep in mind when preparing a lead-generating white paper campaign:

It needs to be online. After hearing about an infrastructure solution—through word of mouth, print advertising, or whatever—research shows that purchasers nearly always turn to the internet to learn more. Specifically, they use Google. And they search with sophistication, often using three-word search phrases and operators. You can take advantage of this two ways:

1) Publish some, not all, of your white paper text on your website, or on a special use domain (like About two pages is usually right. And the text you choose to put online should contain phrases and words associated with your product, especially words and phrases they are likely to use for searches on Google. For example, a white paper on utility locators would pepper the published white paper text with phrases like “utility locator,” “underground utilities,” and “locating underground lines.” This can be overdone—read a bit about search engine optimization (SEO) or consult an expert to get it right. If you get the right text online, and if readers find it useful, your paper will begin to appear fairly high in Google searches on relevant phrases, and you will get so-called “natural” traffic to your page. The page you are luring readers to, incidentally, is called a landing page. After reading the sample pages you’ve presented online, readers will presumably be interested and want to read more. They can do so by registering for your white paper—by giving their name and email, they’ll get the white paper emailed to them, and you’ll get qualified leads to hand over to your sales team.

2) Use it as “bait” in a Google AdWords campaign. When running an AdWords campaign, you’re not really trying for a lot of clicks (on your ad), you’re trying for a lot of the right clicks. That is, you want to entice actual prospects, who have been searching on relevant phrases. One good way to do this is to offer them something that they’ll find valuable, and the ad headline, “Get your free report on (your product)” works nearly every time. And when they click the ad, of course, they go to your landing page with the first couple of pages of your white paper, and the opportunity to register for the entire white paper. Think about it: the person doing a Google search is looking for information, and you’re offering free, high-quality information. Studies show that prospects really do click on Google ads, don’t necessarily view vendor-supplied material with suspicion, and are willing to register for reports and white papers.

There are other ways to get online, such as white paper syndication services, existing blogs or online magazines, and/or social media pages like FaceBook or LinkedIn. But you do need to be online. It doesn’t matter how good your print advertising is, buyers are only making buying decisions after doing online research. In fact, if you have great print and mail advertising, and poor online content, you may be helping your competitors who have done a better job online.

Use your white paper the same way you use other sales material. After a prospect has become aware of your product, there aren’t too many situations where a white paper won’t outperform a standard sales brochure. Infrastructure buyers need to feel educated about a product before purchasing, and they need lots of data to make a decision. Some studies suggest that three pieces of content is a minimum amount of educational pieces that a buyer needs to review before purchase. Therefore, use your white paper at trade shows, in mail campaigns, as the basis for magazine articles or presentations, and as “leave behinds” on sales calls. Actual prospects will be more impressed by a factual, referenced report than they will be by a brochure, no matter how slick.

I hope this helps! If you have any questions at all about using information marketing materials, please call or email me today.



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Angus W. Stocking

Angus W. Stocking, L.S., is a licensed land surveyor who now prepares information marketing content for the infrastructure industry.


Angus W. Stocking, L.S.
P.O. Box 872
Paonia CO 81428
270.363.0033 office