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Perry Marshall: Attract More Customers with White Papers

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In writing white papers, there’s one tiny thing that’s vitally, critically important, above all other things:

YOUR HEADLINE.

The headline is more important than anything else! If you choose a headline that’s not interesting, nobody will read your paper. It doesn’t matter how good your paper is if nobody reads it!

Let me give you some examples of BAD white paper headlines (these are real white papers, by the way):

“Business Reality of the MidMarket Real-Time Enterprise” (That’s a horrible title! It’s extremely vague and communicates no benefit whatsoever.)

“WorkSpace – the CRM Solution from Relavis and Mainline” (Who cares about Relavis or Mainline? Customers only care about themselves.)

How do you write a good headline? The first tip is, don’t get your inspiration for headlines from the technical world. Here’s an example from a New York Times bestseller list of a few years ago – titles of the top 5 advice books:

  1. THE PURPOSE-DRIVEN LIFE, by Rick Warren
  2. ATKINS FOR LIFE, by Robert C. Atkins
  3. THE SOUTH BEACH DIET, by Arthur Agatston
  4. THE POWER OF FULL ENGAGEMENT, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz
  5. THE POWER OF NOW, by Eckhart Tolle

Make no mistake, the titles of these books were critical to their success. Titles 1, 4 and 5 are all formulaic:

The ___ driven ______

The Power of ________

Numbers 2 and 3 work because the subject of dieting is a never-ending customer magnet, and Dr. Atkins, who was famous, had recently died.

So in ALL cases, the titles are tapping into fundamentally appealing psychological triggers.

*Here’s a perfect “success test” for any title you choose:

Imagine that you’re running a tiny classified ad in the back of a magazine, with nothing but your headline – plus the words “for more information call (800)555-0000.”

Put your headline in that ad and ask yourself, “Would this, all by itself, make my phone ring?”

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