Now that the economy is in the dumps, a LOT of businesses are turning to educational marketing techniques (like white papers) as a primary marketing vehicle. In fact, one of my Fortune 50 clients just told me, “We’ve decided to cut back on trade shows and focus more of our efforts on white papers because they work so well.”
So, that brings me to a question sent in by a reader.
I have a buddy that I am helping and he is of the thought that the white paper should be sold as a way of giving real content at a real value.
I told him that yes, while you may sell 40 copies at $37 – $ 67 per copy you are limiting the number of potential customers and leads due to the fact that some are going to balk. I am going through your book and the blog for insight, but would love for you to address the issue.
Here’s my response:
Terry, does he understand what a white paper is? It sounds like he is mistaking a white paper with a book or an ebook. Also, is he trying to generate leads?
Here’s the deal. A white paper should be useful, but incomplete. That means it should be useful enough that the prospect finds great value in it, but still doesn’t have all that is needed to solve his/her problems. And it should always be free.
If your friend is trying to sell a more detailed version of the white paper, then start with a 10-pager that lays out the problems and how to solve them. At the end of the paper, provide the option to buy the $39 ebook or to talk to the expert author…
This is the model I employ. For example, if you register for my How to Write a White Paper: A White Paper on White Papers, you will see this in action.
But the key is to have the prospect “purchase” the original paper with his/her contact details (name/email/…).
I hope this helps you out.Receive email updates when new articles are posted.