How to generate sales leads with white papers

White papers have been around for quite a while, but I’ve noticed that many businesses misuse the idea and get disappointing results.

I think the reason is that many people don’t understand the distinction between marketing literature and a true white paper.

Marketing literature, such as a brochure, is just what it sounds like. It’s literature intended to sell you something. It may be informative and interesting, but the purpose is clear. It works best when the person requesting the literature is curious about a specific product.

A properly-written white paper, however, is not simply sales literature in disguise. It is intended to be an authoritative report or a guide focused on an important, relevant issue. It seeks to educate readers and help them solve a problem or make a decision.

When you fail to make this distinction, you often end up with nothing but a wordy advertisement. There’s nothing wrong with long, editorial-style ads, but these are not white papers.

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The selling power of “social proof”

social proof in marketingI’m not a big sports fan.

However, my wife decided to invite her family over for dinner, totaling 12 adults, 2 babies, a 5-year-old, and a clowder of cats.

So, around day 3, after one of the babies peed on our new sofa, the refrigerator broke down, and every square inch of our house was covered with food, diapers, and suitcases, I suddenly became interested in getting out of the house to see a hockey game.

Go figure.

Along with another family member who needed to escape for a few hours, I drove down to see the local minor league hockey team play a regional rival.

The first two periods saw our team down by three points. Then, in the third period, in
a burst of explosive energy, our boys started fighting their way back.

The crowd began screaming. Clapping their hands. Stomping their feet. Taunting the opposing team’s goalie. Thousands of people were suddenly functioning as one. And oddly enough, though I’m generally not given to such displays, I found myself screaming and clapping and stomping right along with everyone else.

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3 tricks kids can teach you about getting people to say “yes” to almost anything

kids manipulate adultsToday’s the big staff meeting and you’re running late. As you grab your briefcase and lunge toward the door, a little voice stops you cold.

“Are you getting my toy tonight?”

You feign ignorance. “Toy? What toy?”

Your child smiles, face full of expectation. “The Power Space Commando Ninja Mutant Laser Brain Blaster!”

Why do kids have such good memories? “I thought that was for your birthday. Besides I’ll be working late tonight, honey.”

Your child’s face screws up in dismay. “But you promised!”

You look at your watch. “Why do you need the toy tonight?”

“Because … (sniffle) … you said tonight. And I believed you!”

Your heart sinks. “Okay. I’ll stop by the toy store tonight. All right?”

The little face lights up again. “Thank you thank you thank you.”

Two minutes later as you drive away, you see your child waving frantically at you from the front window, eyes wide with glee.

You wonder … what just happened?

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Boost your direct mail response with a lift letter

lift letter sampleOne of the beauties of direct mail is that it comes with a long history of real-world testing and proven techniques.

This includes the “lift letter,” also called the lift note or publisher’s note.

The latter name hints at the origins of this technique. Back in the heyday of magazine subscription promotions, publishers often included a little extra letter in their direct mail solicitations.

They called it the publisher’s note because the message often came from the publisher.

Today, it’s usually referred to as the lift letter or lift note, since it has been adapted to work in a wide variety of direct mail packages for the purpose of lifting response.

In my Direct Marketing Glossary, I define a lift note like this: “Second, shorter letter in a direct mail package with a highly focused message. Generally signed by a different person.”

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