11 Reasons Your FinTech White Paper Fails

PropelGrowth Blog - Financial Services Marketing and Content Strategy

Learn why FinTech white papers fail to achieve business objectives.

Your FinTech White Paper Needs a Strategy

Well-targeted and effectively written white papers can be powerful lead generation and lead conversion tools. But to be effective, they must be highly relevant to your target market, address their specific business concerns, and provide the kind of information that helps trigger a transition from one buying stage to the next.

A well-strategized white paper can attract new, well-qualified leads. It can also help facilitate and speed up the buying process for existing opportunities. Sadly, most financial services white papers don’t achieve this.

Here’s a list of 11 reasons why your white paper might not be achieving the goals you have for it, and how to fix it.

It Doesn’t Address a Compelling Business Need

Many of the FinTech white papers we see do not do a good job of addressing the target audience’s compelling business needs. Many neglect the audience’s needs altogether. In some cases, they are thinly veiled product brochures. In other cases, they’re so technical that they don’t connect with the right audience.

In some cases, the business driver is either not compelling enough or not clearly fleshed out. Make sure your paper does not leave the reader asking “so what?”

It’s Not Customer-Centric

Many FinTech marketing departments do not conduct adequate research into the needs and interests of their target audience. As a result the content they’re producing is company-centric instead of customer-centric. Make sure your white paper is about the customer, not your company. A white paper is not a brochure. It’s an educational piece that helps a prospect gain a vision of how they can solve a challenging business or technical problem.

It’s Written by a Content Farm

As content marketing has increased in popularity, a lot of services have emerged offering inexpensive (read “cheap”) content. They sell volumes of content that simply adds to the noise. Generally, the writers that create this content are inexperienced and don’t have deep industry knowledge. Alternatively, these companies are so tactically minded that they’re of no strategic value.

We’ve seen a lot of companies use materials produced by agencies that operate like content farms. Unfortunately, the content rarely resonates with the target audience, because the writer doesn’t understand the target audience.

Remember, the goal here is to provide value to your audience. An effective financial technology white paper needs to align with the reader’s objectives if it is to be relevant. Anything else is a waste of your audience’s time (and your budget).

The Target Audience Niche Is too Broad

I recently read a paper that targeted exchanges, sell-sides, and buy-sides in one paper. Because the target audience was so broad, it left the reader with the sense that the provider doesn’t understand the differences between these types of firms.

One of the goals of a white paper should be to demonstrate that your firm has deep understanding of your target market and attendant topics of interest. In this case the white paper completely missed its mark.

The needs of these different types of organizations are varied; so don’t try to cover them all with one paper. Write from the perspective of the exchange for one report, then shift the point of view and provide similar content targeted to a sell-side, and so on.

It’s Not Directed to a Specific Buyer Persona

Heads of trading have very different needs than heads of compliance. CIOs are interested in different information than CEOs. So decide in advance who should read the document, and plan your content based on what interests that audience. If you’re writing for traders or CXOs, then avoid using technology jargon.

If you’re writing for an IT team, be prepared to clearly spell out how your products or services solve their specific technical problem. But even a technical white paper needs to address a compelling business need (see Reason 1.)

It’s Not Promoted Adequately

We often see firms invest great deal of money into developing high quality content only to put it behind a registration wall on their website, send one email promoting it to their house list, and then wonder why it’s not generating leads.

The phrase “If you publish it, they will come” used to be true. But today, there is so much content out there, that your target audience is unlikely to even know that your white paper exists. So you have to do a lot of work to promote the paper, if you want it to generate leads or progress buying decisions.

The Buffalo Content Program is designed to address this specific problem. We use extensive derivative content to help promote a core piece of premium content like a white paper.

It’s Too Technical

Again, consider your target audience. If they are not technical, then be very careful about how you incorporate technical information. Sometimes, you’ll need to educate a business audience about why a particular type of technology is a better approach for solving their business problem. Be careful to not lose your reader with a lot of technical jargon.

It’s Not Technical Enough

If your target audience is technical, then your white paper can be written from their point of view. For example, if you’re writing to heads of trading technology, then you might need to dig into issues around how your technology reduces latency. If you’re writing about hardware acceleration, you may need to cover the technical aspects around that technology. But use extreme caution. If you go too technical, you may lose your reader; and if you’re not technical enough, you may lose credibility. [Tip: Seek a “reality check” from a trusted subject matter expert who can give you unbiased feedback.]

It Tries To Cover Too Much Ground

A FinTech white paper should not attempt to cover your entire product. It should address a specific topic. For example, if you’ve recently implemented hardware acceleration to speed up your system, you might write about what client problems drove that development; how you approached incorporating this technology; and what benefits clients it can reap.

It’s Too Long

Buyer research shows that the ideal length for a white paper is 6-8 pages including graphics. If you go much longer, your audience probably won’t have time to read the paper. We recommend breaking up your content into several shorter documents rather than publishing one 30-page treatise. This gives you more opportunities to nurture your target audience, and also gives you material for a year long content marketing program.

It’s Not Supported by Other Content

A white paper alone will not do all of the work necessary to facilitate the buying process. It should be part of a cohesive integrated marketing strategy designed to influence each member of the buying committee through each stage in their decision process.

For More Information

To get more information on how to make your FinTech white papers perform better, check out the following resources or give me a call. I’ll be happy to discuss.

How To Create A FinTech White Paper That Helps Convert
The 4 Stages of the Financial Technology Buying Process
Feeding The Content Beast
[Interview] Feeding The Content Beast In The Real World