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White paper lead generation

When I see a page that offers "10 steps to sell your home fast" just subscribe here it turns me off. Do you think white papers are still a good way to generate leads on the Internet for real estate? - by realtor
I agree, that kind of white paper campaign in whatever market sector is a turn off, mainly because it is so obviously a lead generation exercise. I always associate white papers with 'valuable information' that your target audience will want to read and find of interest. On a sliding scale of authority, the white paper should be up at the top of any company collateral. "10 steps to sell faster" maybe an apt title for a blog post but doesn't appear to me an appropriate title for intelligent well researched acedemic writing.

In some cases, companies see white papers as just a way to get email addresses, contacts and leads. The white paper is a means in which the reader of that paper will associate its content with your professional capability. The quality of the information will affect the decisions they make on your expertise in the field. Weak white papers will not only leave readers frustrated but will also associate that weak content with your capabilities in delivering a service.

I think white papers have a very realistic and valuable service to offer companies who wish to generate leads but all too often the whole campaign is not researched or delivered well enough. - by nesh thompson
I think white paper marketing has lost some of it's effectiveness because so many people are utilizing it now.

Having said that, if you put together quality pieces and market them as such, while keeping a keen eye on exactly what kind of information your market is looking for, it can be a very effective tool.

"10 steps to sell your home fast" may not be as effective as "9 Little Known Facts About Selling Properties Quickly That You Should Know." If someone is really looking to turn a property, that title may speak to them, and it doesn't sound as generic and "lead-generationy". - by Skip Anderson
As Skip has stated it's the headline that gets people to grab your white paper. As in selling you only get one chance to make a good first impression. - by Jim Klein
I got a solution.

Drop the name "whitepaper" first.

Small jammed packed free reports that contain great information are killer lead generating tools.

Create a quick landing-page with a short attention grabbing headline. Place your opt-in form on the page letting the reader know that all they have to do is opt-in to get the free report.

Create a series of free short killer reports and que them up in your email client to be delivered every week or so.

Keep the "reports" short! But jam packed with killer information related to the topic you are trying to work in.

You will gain a great responsive list this way. And a responsive list means more leads! - by Ricky Parker
I use white papers and ecourses as lead generators. One is set up for an email series to sell affiliate products and the other is to build a list of industry contacts.

Using an ecourse format builds more credibility in your message and raise your stature in your prospects mind over a single point piece of content. - by PaulRushing
Very well said.

Real estate is sort of a "different animal". It seems with the flux in the housing market some companies are becoming desperate. - by Susan
"10 steps to sell your home fast" may not be as effective as "9 Little Known Facts About Selling Properties Quickly That You Should Know." If someone is really looking to turn a property, that title may speak to them, and it doesn't sound as generic and "lead-generationy".
Skip,

I think you're correct. The headline needs to 'speak' to the website visitor. The one headline says "Hi, I just want your name and email address"; the other says "hmm, don't you wish you knew my secrets" - who could resist! If that headline speaks to you you'll hand over your email address and wait expectantly at your email box for the download link.

Often what I see is that even if a good white paper, report, ebook or whatever it happens to be called is written with reasonably good information, very few ever test the headlines to see what will draw the most response. I hear clients say, "I wrote my report and no one is signing up for my newsletter. I guess that strategy doesn't work for me."

Next time you write a white paper, try testing different headlines to see what pulls. - by SmBizGuru
Your lead generation page must tie into what the text ad reads when someone does a search. You must then provide very useful information to encourage the individual to give their information. It is not always necessary to "re-invent the wheel" there are thousands of lead generation offers over the internet that are working....use one of those ideas and make it your own.

Success,

Rory Wilfong - by rwilfong
Doesn't really matter *our* opinion folks.

Test, and track to see what the traffic says,
based on the metrics being produced. - by MaxReferrals
To say
that kind of white paper campaign in whatever market sector is a turn off, mainly because it is so obviously a lead generation exercise
is a dangerous generalization.

Obvious to whom?

To us?

Perhaps that's because we have become so familiar with the concept of using "white papers", "special reports", "insiders' reports", etc. as tremendous lead generation tools that they appear to be "everywhere".

That's the old reticular activation system kicking in!

Every day I get anywhere from 15-20 subscribed email delivered newsletters, reports, summaries, etc. and I sometimes get overwhelmed with all of the information and conclude it must be the same for everyone.

But it's not.

Many of my customers enjoy getting my email newsletters every once in a while. The content is relevant and useful and they tell me they look forward to receiving them.

But in the end, I'm not the customer. I'm in the information marketing business. My whole world is based on these white papers, reports, etc. Seen through my customers' eyes, I can see the value of these reports - whatever you call them.

When I was selling radio advertising, I had a client who called me to request a change of ad copy. When I asked him what the issue was, he told me HE was tired of the ad, having heard it 10+ times on the local radio station. "EVERYONE has heard it and they're tired of it" was his concern.

I asked him if the ad was working. Were people responding to it?

The answer was "yes" and "yes".

The fact is he was too close to the ad. Because he thought it was overexposed, he thought everyone else thought the same.

Not true.

There are good ads that work, and bad ads that don't. There are good "white papers" that work and some that don't.

Don't give up the concept of the white paper, 10 steps, special report...just make them better. - by SpeakerTeacher
I think white paper marketing has lost some of it's effectiveness because so many people are utilizing it now.

Having said that, if you put together quality pieces and market them as such, while keeping a keen eye on exactly what kind of information your market is looking for, it can be a very effective tool.

"10 steps to sell your home fast" may not be as effective as "9 Little Known Facts About Selling Properties Quickly That You Should Know." If someone is really looking to turn a property, that title may speak to them, and it doesn't sound as generic and "lead-generationy".
I agree with this post.

Also, there are certainly markets in various industries, and among population segments, that have yet to be selected for this type of campaign. In those cases, Staleness would not be an issue. Effective titles are certainly paramount. - by Ace Coldiron
If your whitepaper has true business value, it justifies asking for contact information in return. I always give away 5% of my value for free in a whitepaper. In return, I simply ask for contact information. - by TheCxO
Brilliant post, Skip.

I think white paper marketing has lost some of it's effectiveness because so many people are utilizing it now.
Also, many people call them white papers, but they really are pretty blatant sales pitches. And I think this turns people off.

I would encourage white paper users to check out Michael Stelzner's stuff on white papers. His book provides a great outline and tips what to include and what to exclude.

BD - by Bald Dog
Good points made by a lot of different folks. I'll try to add something of value to the conversation:

There are tested conversion techniques you can use to improve your results, but a good heading/title for your "special report" or "insider secrets THEY don't want you to know" will increase your conversions. I agree that using the term "white paper" doesn't have the luster it once did--it still works in the technology industry to some degree but not so much in others. - by rogerbauer
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