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Better White Papers With Smart Funnels [Case Study]

Better White PapersThis article is part of a series of SmartFunnel case studies that provide examples of demand generation campaigns, which combine the best of inbound and outbound marketing strategies in order to generate great results.

White papers are a staple of most B2B marketing strategies. This particular SmartFunnel is designed for maximum efficiency by extracting the greatest lead generation results from the minimum content creation effort.

Case Study – Background

A security software vendor startup with a very small staff needed to reach out to prospects quickly in response to a widely reported security breach, which was causing a spike in search traffic for specific keywords. We helped them develop a SmartFunnel that would leverage existing content in the most efficient manner possible, expand brand awareness, and generate sales qualified leads.


Working with the outside sales manager, we modified an existing sales deck by removing specific product information and enhancing the problem/solution content. The end result was an informative presentation that delivered high value information to engineers looking to solve a specific problem.

We crafted a narrow Google AdWords campaign focused on a group of keywords associated with the security breach. Clicks were directed to a landing page where they could download a PDF that was a summary of the aforementioned slide deck. Conversions were stored in an email marketing segmented list and triggered an autoresponder sequence that invited prospects to attend a more detailed webinar.

The webinar was delivered using the presentation and had its own landing page and segmented list. Registrants were followed up upon by email autoresponders and live calls.


The campaign delivered excellent results in a short period of time with a minimum investment of time by the resource-constrained startup. In a four-week period:

  • The ad campaign generated 238 clicks at a total cost of $2,211.
  • The ebook was downloaded 102 times (a 43% conversion rate).
  • 55 prospects registered for the webinar.
  • 12 sales qualified leads were generated ($184 cost per lead).
  • 3 sales were booked for a total ROI of 646%

SmartFunnel Template

This is one of the most basic and effective strategies for lead generation. It utilizes a technique that can turn a single PowerPoint presentation into a content-marketing powerhouse. The diagram below illustrates the basic process.

  1. Concept – Develop the concept you wish to communicate. Focus on solving a problem and delivering value (not bragging or selling).
  2. PowerPoint – Create a presentation that delivers the content.
  3. Annotate – A well-designed presentation will be very visual and contain little text. This is perfect for live deliveries but not for sharing, so you’ll need to create an alternate version that is annotated and then you can upload it to Slideshare and/or create a PDF ebook.
  4. Present Live – Use the slide deck for live presentations with clients or at workshops and conferences.
  5. Webinar – The presentation can be narrated and delivered via webinar and/or recorded and uploaded online.
  6. Transcribe – Use the webinar script combined with the visuals to publish an ebook.

Content Marketing With PowerPoint

Once you have all of the content ready to go, you can develop a SmartFunnel to drive webinar registrations and ebook downloads. Incidentally, this can go in either direction: from webinar to ebook or vice versa. The SmartFunnel steps would be as follows (see Figure 1 for a visual flow diagram):

  • Traffic Source: Select one or more traffic sources (advertising, email lists, social media, etc.) to direct prospects to a landing page.
  • White Paper Download: When visitors fill out a conversion form on the landing page, redirect them to a Thank You page that, in turn, registers a conversion event in your analytics tracking software. Also, be sure to include an email opt-in option on your conversion form. The conversion form should be connected to your email or marketing automation software and segmented appropriately.
  • Webinar Announcement: After a few days, send a webinar announcement email to prospects who downloaded the white paper. Also, leverage additional traffic sources to drive prospects to the webinar registration landing page.
  • Webinar Registration: Create a webinar registration landing page and follow a similar workflow to the white paper download. Send a confirmation email followed with a webinar reminder 24 hours before the event.
  • Follow Up: After the webinar, send out a webinar replay email for those who could not attend (the webinar should have a call to action itself). After a few more days, send a product or service offering email to move prospects through the sales funnel. This could take many forms including free assessments, discounts, free shipping offers, etc. After a few more days, send an “objection killer” email for those who did not initially respond, which attempts to overcome common objections.
SmartFunnel Automations - Better White Papers

Sample SmartFunnel workflow to maximize the ROI from white papers and ebooks (click for larger image).

If you haven’t downloaded our detailed guide to building SmartFunnel Campaigns, click on the image below to grab yourself a copy and learn more!

SmartFunnel Campaigns

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