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March 1, 2017 (Updated: February 9, 2023)
CopyPress offers whitepapers on their own and as part of our B2B content marketing package. You know whitepapers are important, and so do we, which is why we offer them up as part of a content marketing campaign. But, why are they so important? What are they actually doing for you?
The basic driving purpose behind a whitepaper is to inform. You need an informed audience. Keep that in mind as we explore the “why” behind whitepapers. You may just think about adding one to your content marketing campaign when we’re done.
If you have a new product or service you’re trying to sell, it’s likely there isn’t a lot of information out there about it. If you want someone to purchase something completely new, especially if that someone is the decision-maker at a potentially huge client whose business you’re trying to get, that someone needs to know about your product.
That person isn’t just going to buy something new because it’s new. You can say it’s great and special and it works, but no one is going to believe you unless you explain what your product is and how it works. That person isn’t going to have access to blogs, magazines, or other people in their trade with information about the product because it’s new.
If you’ve ever heard about something new, like a video game in the development stage or an exciting new restaurant that’s supposed to be built in your town, but couldn’t find much on the internet about it because it’s so new, this is the same idea.
Image via Flickr by 401(K) 2013
If your product or service is expensive, it may be a hard sell to decision-makers. You’ve done your research, weighed your own costs, and you know your product is undoubtedly worth the price tag you’ve put on it, but companies you’re selling to need to know why it’s worth it to them.
You may be thinking, “hey, this is expensive for a reason, and that reason is it works. We’ve put a lot of time and money into this for our clients’ benefit.” Your potential client may be thinking, “This could be just like my luxury car. It’s expensive and seems to be high quality, but the maintenance and upkeep costs never seem to end. Is it really worth it?”
Both sides are completely understandable. This is why your whitepaper will come in handy. It’ll prove to that decision-maker that your product or service is indeed worth the cost to their company.
A whitepaper is an incredible avenue to do nothing but explain your product. You don’t include sales pitches. You don’t actively try to convince someone that they need your product. You simply explain your product. You give real world examples. You share case studies and reports. You describe the mechanics. You show the problems it can solve and how it solves them. All without shoving your product or service down anyone’s throat.
By cutting away all that selling language and giving it to people straight, you’re educating instead of selling. People appreciate a well-researched and thoughtfully presented whitepaper. When you do this, you’re building trust with consumers. They trust that you aren’t flubbing and exaggerating to make a sale. They trust that you’re presenting them with facts so they can make an informed decision. They see you as credible.
Whitepapers, while highly effective pre-sale lead generators, also perfectly set you up to become a thought leader in your industry. If you want your peers and other businesses in your niche to look to you for new trends to expect or to see where the industry is going, a well-written whitepaper is a powerful tool. It’s all about solving problems.
If you’ve found an industry-wide issue or a common problem among consumers that your company can solve, your whitepaper positions you front-and-center. It shows you care enough about your industry and its consumers to find solutions. After all, the reason people typically buy things is because they need a fix for something.
If you demonstrate your awareness of issues other people are seeing or experiencing, they’re going to start looking to you as a brand they can sincerely trust and turn to when they need something. What happens when someone needs something? They buy it.
Do you remember the show “Friends?” Specifically, do you remember Chandler Bing? Everyone knew he had a job, but no one knew what he did. None of the friends understood it and he didn’t really explain it. That’s not something you want going on for you in the real world. If your product or service is complex or confusing, your potential clients might be wary. They may not want to buy what they don’t understand.
Use a whitepaper as a means of explanation. Use clear, concise language that people can easily read and understand. Research shows 82 percent of B2B purchasing decisions were made using the information from whitepapers. That’s a huge number.
Your whitepaper gets passed on to the people who make the big decisions about purchasing, and if those people don’t really get it, they’ll toss your product aside and look for something that’s easier to digest. People want things they can explain. They can explain it to their managers and they can explain it to the people who are going to be using the product.
An explanatory whitepaper makes things easier for you and your potential clients. You’ll do yourself a big favor by clearing up any haziness around what you’re offering.
There are so many reasons a whitepaper is an important piece of your content marketing campaign puzzle. If you are selling something confusing, costly, or new, you should create a whitepaper. If you want people to trust you, look to you for solutions, and buy from you, you should create a whitepaper. Don’t pass on the chance to do something so effective for your business.