Agency lead generation: How to create white papers that convert
- Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now and attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge with more and more content being available online now.
- Agile marketers are paving the path forward combining technology and talent.
- You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.
- Venngage’s Content Marketer, Ronita Mohan shares a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.
Agency lead generation strategies are top of mind right now. Attracting more leads regularly has become a challenge—the world is more online, but that also means that there is more content available.
Rising above the noise to draw in the right leads can seem like an impossible task. But we’re here to tell you that it isn’t.
You can boost lead generation using content that adds value to your prospects—content such as white papers.
While designing white papers from scratch can be tricky, there are online resources to create attractive white paper designs that boost brand awareness and increase conversions.
So, how do you create white papers that convert? We share a five-step guide to design papers that will generate leads for your agency.
1. Target agency lead generation audiences
Before you design a white paper, you need to define the audiences who will read it.
While your agency may have a diverse set of clients, when you’re trying to generate leads, you need to narrow down your focus.
You don’t want to create content that aims to please everyone—the chances are, you will end up attracting no one.
Generic content is easier to create—there’s a proliferation of it online. But you want your content to stand out in the crowd. That is how prospective clients will notice your agency.
To do this, you should study your market segments and answer these questions:
- What pain points do your clients have?
- How can your agency resolve those issues?
- Is your current market large enough for your service?
- Are there market gaps that you should explore?
- What kind of content has already been successful?
Following this process will help you understand your audience’s needs better. This will make it easier to choose topics and designs for your white paper and boost conversions.
2. Define topics for agency lead generation white papers
Now that you’ve defined your audience—and you know your goal is agency lead generation—you need to pick a topic that is suitable for your prospects.
Remember, your aim with your content is to provide solutions to your clients’ pain points—that should be the driving factor behind creating any kind of content.
There are a few ways to find topics of interest for your prospects.
One method is to send survey questions to your existing clients asking them what kind of content they would like to see from you.
You can also look at content that has already done well on social media, past white papers, and blog posts. This will help you decide which topics attract the most views.
Consider searching online for keywords related to your clients. Google’s longtail keyword suggestions are a great place to find new content ideas.
Plus, SERP results give you an idea of what content is being searched for and why.
It is best to get granular with your white paper topics. Instead of creating a paper on the wider topic of brand awareness, the below example focuses on brand positioning.
If you’re writing about email marketing—which is a broad topic—consider focusing on something narrower.
Write about incorporating user-generated content in emails, or how email marketing can be used to improve hiring rates.
You can also focus on specific aspects of your industry, such as the impact of phishing scams on company cybersecurity, or how to outsource IT departments.
The more targeted your topics are for your audience, the more likely they are to engage with your content.
3. Agency lead generation content creation
When you’re creating content designed for agency lead generation, your mind is on sales and conversions.
However, that shouldn’t be the primary thrust of your content. If you create white papers solely to sell your agency to leads, you might end up losing them instead of converting them.
Nobody wants to be sold to—especially when they’re investing time and energy into reading a white paper.
Additionally, white papers are gated content—they require interested parties to fill up a form to obtain access to the paper.
You can’t ask prospects to put in that much effort to get a piece of content that doesn’t enrich their lives or educate them about a topic.
But you do still need to convert prospects into clients. How can you do that?
Your white papers should be educational and informative about the subject matter, like in this example about employee engagement.
Do original research into the topic and include data that backs up your assertions.
Share case studies and illustrated use cases from your agency. Not only do case studies make for interesting content but they also act as testimonials for your work.
The process of attracting prospects should be organic—encourage them with well-researched and well-written white papers.
4. Designing white papers for agency lead generation
Your white paper needs to be interesting and engaging, but it also should be attractive to prospects.
You could create a Word document, export it as a PDF, and share that with your audience. But is that going to get prospects’ attention like this example below?
It is possible to design a white paper that is colorful and detailed with templates and even from scratch.
We outline how to design great white papers to improve your agency lead generation efforts.
Be on-trend with your agency lead generation white paper design
Your white paper needs to follow present graphic design trends. This is important because, while you want to stand out from a crowd, you don’t want to stick out like a sore thumb.
In the foreseeable future, these are some of the design trends agency marketers need to be aware of:
- Muted colors, not bold or neon colors
- Flat icons and illustrations, as opposed to 3D icons
- Geometric shapes, instead of the abstract, flowing shapes of 2019
- Classic Serif fonts, which are coming back into fashion
All these design elements will influence how you create your white paper and how successfully they draw in prospective clients.
Use visuals to design attractive lead-generating white papers
Visual communication has become one of the pillars of content marketing—which is why visuals need to be incorporated into your white paper design.
Start by designing an attractive cover page for your paper.
Similar to book covers, the top page of your paper has the power to draw people to read further, like in this example.
Your cover page should also convey what leads will find within the pages of the paper—don’t mislead them with visuals that are attractive but irrelevant.
Though papers are largely text-based, that doesn’t mean that visuals don’t help engage readers further.
You can use visuals like icons, illustrations, photos, and charts to add depth to your white paper. They also make the content more readable and scannable.
When using photos, look for imagery that reflects your target audience—that will make the white paper feel more relevant to your readers.
Structuring your agency lead generation white paper
We have already mentioned the importance of having a cover page for your paper. But you also need to include an index that outlines the chapters of the paper.
To make the process easier, always include page numbers in your white papers.
Readers will be able to return to sections they are interested in if they have an index to refer to, like in this example.
When you can, try to include quotes from experts in your field—this will give your paper more gravitas. Quotes should be highlighted with a bigger font size to vary the design.
In the same vein, include tables and text boxes that focus readers’ attention on specific facts and data.
Highlight key takeaways in the summary section of your paper—it is best to summarize your findings only after the paper is written.
Add a CTA in your agency lead generation white papers
What is the purpose of your paper? You want your prospects to perform some action.
That is why you need to include a call-to-action in your white paper—so that you can convert prospects into leads, and eventually into clients.
Here are some calls-to-action you can add to your papers:
- Subscribing to your newsletter
- Trying out your service
- Scheduling a call
- Learning more about your business
Ensure your CTA is visible and stands out on your page—this will encourage leads to click on it and travel further through your sales pipeline.
Repurpose content into agency lead generation white papers
Creating content for agency lead generation can be a tough task—especially when you have to build content from scratch.
But there is a workaround for agency marketing teams—repurposing existing content. Instead of creating the text and visuals for papers, breathe new life into what you already have.
For example, your company blog may have multiple posts around one topic. These can be collated into chapters for a paper.
Similarly, a webinar can be used to create a white paper, or a long eBook can be broken down into several white papers.
The possibilities for repurposing content are endless—keep an open mind and you can create papers that will generate more leads.
5. Agency lead generation white paper promotion
Congratulations, you’ve created a white paper! Now, what do you do?
Leads aren’t going to find your paper on their own. You need to actively promote your content.
There are numerous ways to get eyeballs on your paper. Here are a few promotion methods to follow:
Create blog posts around your white paper content and include a call-to-action to download the paper, like in this example.
Leads are more likely to access gated content if it has some context around it.
Promoting your white paper through an email campaign can boost downloads.
Share previews, statistics, or facts from the paper to entice your email list to click through to your paper’s landing page.
Write a follow-up email to everyone who downloads the paper to continue a conversation—this will increase conversions.
Social media marketing (SMM)
Leads use social media to find content and future partners all the time. Sharing white papers on your channels will increase visibility for your content and your brand.
Use social media tools to schedule posts about your white paper at relevant times to your audience.
You can build a landing page for your paper that includes a summary and key learnings—enough information to encourage leads to download your content.
Your page should include a simple form that prospective clients can fill in to access the paper—don’t ask for too much information, or they may be deterred from filling the form.
Promoting your content is a necessary step if you want to create agency lead generation strategies that convert.
Key takeaways: Prioritize audience needs to boost agency lead generation
Creating a white paper is a long process but a fruitful one that brings in more clients. To be successful, you need to follow a few crucial steps:
- Target your white paper audience
- Choose topics that are relevant to your leads
- Create content that will encourage leads to partner with you
- Design the white paper to attract leads
- Promote your content on multiple platforms
These steps will help you create white papers that will boost your agency lead generation efforts.
Ronita Mohan is a content marketer at the online infographic and design platform, Venngage.