Using white papers for b2b lead generation

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We wrote before about the power of a good b2b whitepaper. Content Marketing is here to stay and that's a good thing; For many marketers it is a joy to work with content and to treat target groups to beautiful content. A lot of content often comes together in white papers. Think of the results and conclusions from studies, parts from interviews, insights from internal and external experts, trends, R&D and so on. That makes a white paper one of the strongest Content Marketing tools out there. Not only because of the content but also because of the character of a white paper; it is an interesting piece that can be used to generate leads. This can be done in various ways. We discuss 2 commonly used methods in business-to-business:

Deploy white papers on third-party sites

An old B2B marketing law that still applies is: be where your target group is. You don't always have the content power to attract the entire target group to your site. In the long term, you may have that goal and you deploy a content strategy to achieve it. In the meantime, it is not unwise to be present on third party sites with your knowledge. In addition to the regular advertising options, the larger online trade magazines also offer lead generation options. Placing white papers is an example of this.

At sites like Emerce or you have the opportunity to bring your whitepaper to the attention of your target group. Usually a publisher such as Emerce or has set up a special corner in the website on which white papers are offered. The visitor can read headlines and summaries and search for the paper of their choice. In addition to a title and summary, there is often also a short profile description of the company that offers the paper. The prospect downloads the whitepaper in exchange for some profile information. The publisher shares this data with the whitepaper provider, who can use this to set up a contact strategy to develop the relationship with the prospect. For example by offering more content or inviting the prospect to an event. Follow-up white papers can also be offered after a download, which you can already announce in the first white paper.

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The publisher can use different revenue models. It is common that payment is made per per download, so per lead. The advantage for the whitepaper owner is that a piece of substantive content comes to the attention of a large part of the target group. You also benefit from the accumulated authority of the online trade magazine or a popular blog site. There is also often a quality check on the white papers offered so that the target group is assured of a certain basic quality, which creates trust and lowers the threshold to download the paper.

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Offer white papers on your own website

A similar construction can be used on your own website. By offering a whitepaper for download, in exchange for some data, you can generate leads fairly easily. Not everyone downloads a whitepaper from the same motive, you cannot assume that every download represents a bulls Eye lead. You do, however, build a starting database to set up follow-up contact strategies. You can announce a white paper by posting a summary or teaser in a blog post. You also often see banners in websites announcing white papers. A more aggressive approach is to have a pop-up appear with a promotion for the whitepaper download. This method is quite effective but in many cases also disturbing. It is up to the marketer to find the right balance.

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The incentive to build strong b2b white papers

My experience is that white papers in the B2B are a strong means to build authority, treat visitors from the target group to beautiful content and generate concrete leads. As a b2b marketer, it is a joy to experiment with the distribution of good content and this method is relatively accessible; everything is online and therefore easily measurable. In many cases you also pay afterwards, per download, so that you run relatively little risk if you offer a white paper on third-party sites. It also stimulates you to build a strong paper because you have to stand out from the other providers. I'm curious about your experiences, please share them!

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