What’s Wrong with Using White Papers to Market Your Business?

using white papers to market your business

Using whitepapers to market your business, your products or services is very common. Not surprisingly, lots of companies use them. On top of that, these companies have a lot in common when it comes to their whitepapers.

They ALL:

  • Have at least one, but most of the time more than one, to give away.
  • Think their whitepaper is loaded with value.
  • Believe their whitepaper will grow their business.
  • Assume their whitepaper actually explains their company’s “value” to their customers.


If you are going to market your service or product with whitepapers, you need do it differently. Here’s what’s wrong with the state narketing using whitepapers – and what you can change it:

What’s Wrong?  – Everybody’s Doing It

Whitepapers have become so familiar that they have lost their mystique and authority. The term “whitepaper” has now been contaminated.

To make it worse, the titles generally include trite statements, such as:

“The State of [some industry] for [the current year]”

“How to {be more productive, sell more widgets, streamline a process] with [our technology]”

“7 Insights from [those industry leaders who really bore you] on [things you really don’t care about]”

How can you change this? Change the name and you'll change the game!

First, stop using the term whitepaper and use something different like:

  • Actionable Items Paper
  • Off-White Paper
  • [Your industry name] Solution Document

Break the mold. Have some fun!

Second, choose a title that your prospect cares about at this moment, like:

  • The 7 Steps to Eliminate in Your [ABC] Process
  • Why [an everyday occurrence] is the BIGGEST Mistake Keeping Your Company in the Red…Forever
  • 3 Reasons Why Whitepapers Don’t Work

This works because changing your title means you can loose the stigma of using a whitepaper and a great title, one that prospects care about, gains you engagement.

What’s Wrong? – It’s the Classic Bait and Switch

Years ago, in a far-off galaxy, whitepapers were written by some brilliant people in universities who had spent a long time studying something. Other intelligent people would read these whitepapers and learn from them.

Then marketers took over the idea…and messed it up.

In reality, most whitepapers are poorly disguised sales pitches listing the features and benefits of a product.

They became a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

How can you change it? Solve a real problem!

Choose a particular issue for your whitepaper to solve – like “4 Strategies to Save a Sale When the Client Chooses a Competitor”.

List out the problem and then give them detailed instructions on how they can solve it.

This works because you are proving that you know what you’re talking about. When you solve a prospect's problem, you become someone they want to turn to and the likelihood of a sale increases substantially over your previous laundry lists of “shoulds.”

What’s wrong? – They’re left hanging with no direction.

This problem is not only with whitepapers, but it is all too common. There is a lack of a real call to action.

Take just about any whitepaper, flip to the back, and read what’s there – an author’s bio, a blurb on the company, and then a generic statement like:

“For more information on how our [whatever technology or system was discussed] can help you [achieve some sort of outcome] while [streamlining some problem] call us at 555-555-1234 or email us at [email protected].”

And that’s it. Nothing else. Nada. Zilch.

Up to this point, the whitepaper has had a meaningless title and white noise for content. So, what makes you think the reader has any inclination of going further?

The offer is all in vain.

How do you change it? – Give them something they really want now!

A good title will pique your reader’s interest. They will also think you are credible. This puts them in the right mindset for you to make an offer.

That offer needs to be GOOD!

So drop those wimpy calls to action like “For more information” or “To learn more.” It’s the same as “give me a call sometime.”

Instead, invite them to act.

For example:

For clients considering your software that solves their workflow disruptions, say something like “Get your (ABC) Software Integration and Disruption Analysis.”

For customers looking into your staffing/recruiting service and need to learn how their company is not attractive to new applicants, use a CTA like, “Book a Talent Attraction Makeover Session.”

For those clients considering buying a car from you and need assistance discovering which car is the right one for them, use something like, “Check Out This Driver Dynamics Identification.”

When your prospect benefits from your process, they are all in. Until you make those changes, they won’t come near you.

Your Turn!

Now that you know what’s wrong with the whitepaper trend create something new or re-work your old ones. It’s time to have fun and engage your prospects with your whitepapers.

Ready to get to a new level? Check out our 1-on-1 Superstar Sessions here.

About Erik Luhrs

Erik Luhrs is the world's only Neuro-Revenue Strategist and has earned the nickname “The Bruce Lee of Revenue Generation."

He is the creator of Revenue Mind, The GURUS Selling System, and is the bestselling author of BE DO SALE.

Erik works with clients to create Positioning, Lead Generation and Sales systems that activate and attract the subconscious mind of their perfect prospects!

Erik is a Master Practitioner of NLP, and he is certified in The Silva Method and Accelerated Learning. He has also been featured by Forbes, Inc, Entrepreneur, Fox Business News, Selling Power, and Chief Executive.

View All Posts

The Ultimate Qualified Lead Profile Toolkit.

It’s my one-hour video training where I show you:

  • The subconscious Fears and Desires that drive a prospect to take action. You’ll know how to talk directly to them!
  • How to determine (quickly) if your prospect is an Action-Taker or Excuse-Maker. You’ll know who is ready to grab the keys and who is just kicking tires.
  • Establish the ROI ahead of time. Your prospect will love purchasing from you!
  • Make friends with the dreaded “decision-making” Learn how to handle them and even get to play on the same team.
  • Create “neat little packages” so your clients and colleagues will drive better referrals your way.

Normally, I charge $97 for this toolkit, but it is my FREE gift to you!

Grab it here now.

"People’s biggest problem is that they don’t know what their biggest problem is!" Erik Luhrs

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: