Many sites offer free white papers, case studies, or resources in exchange for visitor information. If you do this and your white paper doesn't contain valuable information, your visitors won’t download it.
You’re asking for something extremely valuable to both you and the visitor: their contact information. To get this valuable information, you need to show the visitor the value of what they’re downloading. So when they fill out the lead form, they feel they’re making a fair exchange: valuable information for valuable information. Here's how to do it.
1. Have an interesting titleWould you rather read a white paper titled “Mobile Analytics” or “Why 90% of Your Mobile Visitors Aren’t Tracked”? The same technique that works for selling books, getting people to read blog posts, and attending webinars can significantly increase your white paper downloads. But don’t go for such an interesting name that no one knows what the paper is about. For borderline cases, a strong subtitle can bridge between interesting and descriptive. Here are 4 strategies to make your titles jump off the page.
2. Include a CoverNever judge a book by it’s cover, but people always do. Instead of just giving the white paper a title alone, merchandise it the way you would a book. Make it engaging. Keep in mind, many people prefer to download and print white papers before they read them. Which is more likely to catch someone’s attention on a busy, cluttered desk: a white paper with no cover or one with an engaging cover design?
3. Make it easy to digestHow often have you downloaded a white paper for it only to be long, block text? No headlines, sub-headline, or bullet points. No graphics, charts, or screenshots. People are busy. It’s fine to make a long white paper if the topic deserves it, but please make it reader-friendly.
4. Tell them what they are going to get
Write persuasive copy that not only informs people what they’ll learn from the download, but also what they can do with the information. Make sure this copy is crisp, simple to read, and formatted for online readers. You may want to offer key takeaways, a table of contents, or even an example chart to show them how valuable the paper is going to be.
5. Give the download detailsLet users know the file format (PDF, DOC), file size and number of pages before they download.
6. Include an excerptVery few people like reading poorly written, monotonous sounding, corporate gobbledygook. By providing an excerpt, you can help prove how well-written, easy to understand, and valuable your white paper is.
7. Prove other people like itLike endorsements on a book cover, credible testimonials on the landing page of your white paper can help sell the value of the content and improve conversion.
8. Don’t ask for too much informationMake sure your forms are optimized to require only what you really need. There is an inverse relationship between leads and form fileds. This requires testing to determine the proper mix of lead quantity versus lead quality and some cooperation between marketing and sales.
9. Explain what will happen with their personal informationProvide users with point of action assurances around their privacy and what will happen after they fill out your whitepaper request form.
10. Make it easy to shareGive users an easy mechanism for them to share your white paper via social media, email, etc. Visitors are most engaged when they are already downloading the white paper, so a suggestion for them to share it often helps. Don’t forget to add shareable links within the white paper itself.
11. Have a follow-up programLet’s face it, you created your white paper and offered it for download in order to get leads. The money is in the list, but the money is not only in the list. The point of collecting leads, that is names, email addresses and other demographically identifiable information, is to use those as a basis for getting to understand your customers better. Study their behavior to understand what makes your customers tick and to build better profiles and segments to have more meaningful interactions. That means the white paper has to generate a response or conversation. Making your white paper interesting, actionable, and readable will help, but you’ll be far more successful getting responses if you initiate the post-download interactions and follow-up conversations through a well-planned lead nurturing campaign.
12. Offer contact informationSome people actually prefer to contact you immediately upon finding the white paper, so make sure your contact information is on the download page. Others prefer to contact you as they are reading the white paper, so make sure your contact information is found there as well. I like adding simple contact information in the footer of my white papers. Others just feel a sense of confidence knowing you are providing your full contact information and not trying to remain anonymous while asking for their personal information. In simple terms, make it easy for them to find your contact information everywhere.
These are a few tips that I find useful. What other techniques have you tried to increase leads from white paper requests?