6 Tips For Writing White Papers & eBooks That Convert Sales

My First eBook

Studies show that self-educating buyers regularly download white papers and eBooks as part of their pre-purchase research. They’ll gladly trade an email address for good information that helps them make a buying decision or just makes them smarter. But far too many companies today are making a huge mistake with their white papers and ebooks. They aren’t living up to their end of the bargain. Instead of providing truly useful information, they create thinly veiled sales pitches. So today, allow me to offer up 6 tips to help you create more effective white papers and eBooks that will generate downloads and convert invisible buyers into visible customers ready to succumb to your social selling campaign.

Make It Sexy

Boring is easy to ignore, even if it is the first result in Google. You’re fighting for the most precious resource in the world — attention. So if you have a great story to tell or incredibly useful information, dress it up in something sexy and take it out for a night on the web. Make the prospect think that your content is worth filling out the web form to obtain.

Educate and Inform

If your reader wanted to be sold they’d call a sales person. When you offer a free white paper or eBook, you’ are promising to trade useful information for identifiable information — an email address. Nothing stops a sale faster than disappointing a prospect with bait and switch content marketing. Sure you’ve gained a new lead but at what price?

Save The Bullshit For The Ranch

Just give people facts and verifiable information versus conjecture and your latest and greatest sales spin. White Paper and eBook readers are in an analytical mindset when they consume your content. They’re not reading for their entertainment. They have a knowledge goal and they think (because you made it all sexy) that your content will answer some question they have right now. So don’t give them your opinion… that doesn’t help them. Instead, use evidence based selling to make your point, educate them and set the stage for a conversion.

Treat It Like a Breadcrumb

Your White Papers and eBooks should always lead to the next piece of content. They’re breadcrumbs — and just like Hansel and Gretel dropped breadcrumbs to mark the way home, you too should use breadcrumb marketing to lead your prospect to your home base.

Don’t Follow Up

Make yourself available if you’re needed. The worst thing you can do is instantly follow up with someone that has downloaded your latest eBook. It screams lead gen! Social Selling is more elegant than that… be patient, let the reader know that your company has lots of other information and you’re happy to help them find anything they need.

Don’t Hide Your Book Under a Bush

Let it shine, let it shine. Get the word out. Look for opportunities to guest post on relevant blogs and websites. Buy a Facebook ad or two. Send an email, talk about it on social networks and maybe even call a few folks that you know would really enjoy and benefit from the information. Creating a White Paper or eBook takes a lot of effort and if you’ve created something that is truly helpful, people will thank you for alerting them to it.

Done correctly, white papers and eBooks can be key tools in your Painless Prospecting efforts. So use them correctly and enjoy creating better qualified leads that convert more easily and at a higher ratio.

To learn more about increasing leads and conversions with social selling, check out out inexpensive online social selling courses or schedule a time to chat about our powerful social selling workshops.


The Invisible Sale

Stop losing leads and sales to digitally savvy competitors. Take the first step in building your own Painless Prospecting platform that drives leads while you sleep.

  • Research shows that today's “self-educated buyers” are more than halfway through the buying decision process before they even contact you.
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  • Learn from the Pros: suggestions for choosing devices, apps, software, and accessories for quickly creating high-quality DIY content
  • Real-life B2B and B2C case studies showing how others have applied Tom's techniques

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About Tom Martin

Tom is 25+ year veteran of the sales & marketing industry with a penchant for stiff drinks, good debates and showing companies how to Sell Greatly, and turn conversations into customers. He is the founder of Converse Digital , author of The Invisible Sale and a contributing writer for Advertising Age. Tom guides clients through the digital sales & marketing maze and helps companies teach their sales force how to Painlessly Prospect their way to more sales. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.


  1. Thanks for the tips Tom. Do you have a guide or any tips on structuring an eBook or Whitepaper?

    • Kameel,

      I’ll be sharing more on tips along those lines in future posts. I have a process I call Cornerstones & Cobblestones — a disciplined way to create both eBooks and White Papers. I have an entire chapter in my new book, The Invisible Sale (http://www.TheInvisibleSale.com) dedicated to the process if you’re interested.

  2. Hanno Malmiste says

    It’s good to see an article like this.

    It will surely incite people to write better eBooks and guides that are more informative than just thin air.

  3. This is useless rederic.

    Try this site for actual tips you can do something with.

    [url removed]

    Then you are ready for this fluff

    • Dan,

      A little harsh don’t you think? And I think you meant Rhetoric — which given you linked to a website touting yourself as a freelance copywriter is kind of funny.

      Thanks for the laugh.

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