Specializing in Marketing Services for the Learning and HR Solutions industries

Archive for February 2015

What is a white paper and how is it used as a marketing tool?

A white paper is a marketing tool that is persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution. It takes the objective and educational approach of an article and weaves in persuasive corporate messages. The goal of a whitepaper is to inform and persuade based on facts and evidence; not to tell the world why your product is the best and why they need to buy it now.

There are several tips to writing an effective white paper. The first tip is to be sure your white paper is used to educate the reader but also define how your product can provide a solution for them. To be able to convert that reader into a buyer focus your message on their needs, wants, and the solutions your product will provide. Briefly explain the product features and how it would be beneficial to them and their business. Will it help generate more sales, increase revenue, expand product awareness, etc…? The second tip is write your white paper just like you were speaking the content to the prospect in person; write it as if you were writing to one person only, not a generic crowd. The final tip is to have good copywriting; copywriting is the art and science of selling through written word. This is very important for your content marketing campaign to be successful.  Within a white paper the “selling” needs to be more subtle and understated but the sales and persuasion element still needs to be present.

Now that you know how to compose a white paper you will need to determine how you will want to use it to market your business/product. Marketers can use white papers as powerful tools for:

  • Lead Generation: Most organizations will leverage their corporate website through a landing page, online advertising campaigns or white paper syndication networks to generate leads.  Additionally, many direct mail and traditional advertisements use the white paper as a call to action.
  • Thought Leadership: Often, businesses will write white papers on concepts that are theoretical or discuss the future of an industry or technology. Thought leadership papers are typically written to demonstrate forward thinking, to help convince existing customers to stick with a company and to persuade the world to buy in to a future vision. These types of white papers convert nicely into trade publication articles.
  • Close Sales: White papers are often used in the later stages of a sales cycle; as a “leave behind” after a client meeting. While white papers can help close existing prospects, they are most effective for generating pre-sales leads because executives and decision-makers rely on white papers when researching solutions to problems. White papers used to close a sale tend to be more technical and are usually targeted at influencers. However, hybrid papers are also effective sales closers, as they tend to address a combination of business and technical benefits.

In today’s crowded content marketing landscape, marketers like you can use white papers as powerful effective lead generation tools. But you have to do it right to stand out and be effective. To stand out and succeed you need to use solid copywriting, effective content marketing techniques, and be able to promote your white paper in the proper marketplace. Composing a white paper will help further build trust and credibility with a reader and perspective buyer which in the end will help generate revenue for your overall business.

Elearning website design: How to use a minimalistic approach

pepsi

Good design is a lot more than the adding or subtracting of elements. The concept of ‘less is more’ may sound a little cliché, but you can see how powerful it is with Pepsi’s logo evolution: the simple, clean image is instantly recognizable and familiar; no unnecessary elements are included.

Think about it: When you are at the store walking down the shampoo aisle, you look for the symbol on the bottle that represents your brand. You don’t pay attention to the unnecessary text or fancy whimsical designs surrounding it. You look for the logo that is representing your chosen brand. The rest becomes nothing but a distraction.

What you remove from your design is equally as important as what you add. Your design principles become much more important to understand and implement when the clutter is removed, allowing your message to take center stage.

The first step in designing the visual elements for an elearning website is to think about something simple that gives you inspiration. Think about that photograph you like, a movie trailer you watched recently, a magazine you read every day — or even a blog post. 

After you commit to minimalism and have found inspiration, try the following four tips to create the kind of captivating graphic setting that is essential for a successful elearning experience.

1. Use a grid system
Organization is the key for creating a minimalist structure. Use a grid to keep everything you need aligned and perfect. They’re great from the first step of sketching out a design all the way to development, with many frameworks to choose from.

2. Use captivating and relevant fonts and sizes
Typography is about legibility and readability. If it feels as if you’re paying a visit to the optician, there’s something wrong! Pick one main font in the right sizes, and be consistent with it throughout.
Generally:

I am Times New Roman and I am boring.
I am Comic Sans and nobody takes me seriously.
My name is Calibriand I always look good.

3. Use color
Play with colors and to find what you like! Creating a clean, simple, minimal design does not mean your elearning course should be in monochrome or with a drab and uninteresting color scheme — just learn to simplify your color choices.

4. Make some space
Be sure to allow enough space around text blocks and in your design in general, because the lack of space can cause elements to blend into each other and become unclear or overwhelming to the reader.

In designing elearning courses, it’s best to keep it simple and consider these tips. If you’d like additional consulting and assistance on elearning, contact the experts at Cox eLearning Consultants.