Prospects are hungry for information. White papers have been used to feed these prospects, and marketers have found that white papers are a very valuable tool to get information in front of their buyers. Today, white papers are also becoming an important tool used in successful video marketing.
The questions to ask about video white papers are what and when. What information is typically produced and when should that information be provided to prospects?
The information produced in a white paper is typically technical information or information about business problems or use cases. Generally, white papers are made available in the buyers search process before they engage with a sales rep. Buyers in this stage are out on websites downloading white papers as they establish their criteria for solving their problem. This is really the beginning of the journey with prospects and that’s why it is so important for many marketers to use white papers.
The common medium for white papers has been PDFs and although they have been effectively used in the past, there are a few key drawbacks. The first is a content issue. Marketing needs access to domain knowledge in order to create a white paper. The time involved in sitting down to write a 5-10 page white paper is extensive and is further complicated by the fact that marketing needs to go outside the department, to a technical person, an executive, or another person with subject matter expertise, for help. That means obtaining their commitment, getting on their calendar, and conducting one or more interviews. Once that is done, there is still time to be spent writing the white paper, putting it in the right voice, etc. So, access to and creation of content is a big challenge with a PDF-based white paper.
The second problem is one of accountability. You may always be able to tell that a prospect has downloaded a white paper, but it is hard to carry that any further. You won’t necessarily know if it has been consumed, if someone opened it up and read the first two lines or if they read the entire document.
Finally, there is a problem of differentiation. If a prospect has downloaded a white paper from your website, chances are that they’ve also downloaded six PDF white papers from all your major competitors which they may or may not have read.
At Sales Engine International, we believe that video is a highly effective yet underused medium for white papers. Video marketing techniques can give your white papers an edge over traditional PDFs.
First of all, the personality of the organization and the presenter will come through in a video white paper. Rather than reading a static document, the prospect will get a feel for the company and the subject matter expertise within your company by watching your expert talk about a subject in which he or she is highly knowledgeable.
Second, the visual aspect of video marketing is also much better for engagement. You can keep your prospects interest for a much longer time frame with video than with a written document.
Third, video marketing and video white papers clearly create differentiation from the stack of PDFs that are sitting on your prospects desktop. You’ve chosen to present your information in a dynamic video format, and they are doing it in a static PDF — clear differentiation in your product.
Fourth, and very important to marketers everywhere, is measurement. Video marketing presents marketers with greater opportunities to gather intelligence about the consumption of content. By offering a video white paper, you’ll know when it was downloaded, when it was viewed, how much of it was viewed, if it was abandoned and where it was abandoned. And you’ll be able to use those metrics to improve your process and gain a better understanding of your prospects.
Taking a video marketing approach to creating white papers also means it will be easier for you to capture the content you need for your white paper. Your subject matter expert can be prepared in advance by reviewing questions you provide. That also ensures that your expert covers the point you’ve determined to be the most important ones to convey to a prospect. Your expert’s knowledge will be clearly articulated to the prospect and the process of capturing the information will be much easier and more efficient for all involved.
Finally, as with all video marketing content, you can convert the video white paper to a print version, which will allow you to get an SEO lift on your website and give you another medium for presenting your information.
Taking a video marketing approach to presenting your information in a white paper can be very effective.