Much time and money goes into creating b2b white papers. But where’s the ROI? Sales want leads while marketing stoically tracks metrics about visitors brave or curious enough to register an interest.
Meanwhile, hovering over the tech sales funnel entrance is a mysterious black hole known as “prospect engagement”, where information about how prospects actually use and distribute white papers never seems to escape the post-download event horizon.
However, in the comments thread of a LinkedIn discussion group, I discovered one company with an enterprising solution.
B2Lead.com is offering vendors with white papers the opportunity to securely and privately host html versions of their papers, along with a set of integrated social media tools. These tools allow registered readers to use Twitter, FaceBook, LinkedIn, and email to spread the word. On receiving social media updates, interested parties can then freely register with the site to access the white paper content and join the discussions.
I was curious enough to register and check out how b2lead are using the product with their own white papers.
Their business model is based on charging only a cost per lead, so there are no large, up-front fees.
Another very attractive feature are the metrics on the who, how, what, when and where concerning distribution of your white papers.
This has long been an irritating problem for b2b marketers who know that people share their white papers but have no easy way of tracking and engaging with these folks.
Are White Papers Destined To Migrate to Social Delivery Platforms?
Much will depend on the value that b2b white paper readers assign to the time cost of registering and regularly visiting a social delivery platform. And this, in turn, will require marketers using such platforms to really think through exactly how they’re making the visitor’s experience a useful and interesting one.
Because the b2lead experience is designed to be social, a big opportunity exists for word-of-mouth referrals to become viral, or to die a quick, digital death should the value for the reader soon evaporate.
This could happen if the white paper sponsor sees this social delivery platform as yet one more place to mine prospect data for lead and demand generation activities.
(Of course, accurate data is important for the marketer but it’s the kiss of death when strongly sensed by the potential prospect.)
I’ve got some additional questions on the viability of private label versions of this social delivery platform but those can wait for another day.
How about you? What value do you see in hosting white papers as ‘cloud papers’?
– Mark ‘white paper writer‘ McClure