White Papers Hurt Conversion Rates

I’ve never really liked white papers. According to wikipedia, white papers are suppose to help readers make a decision.  But these ancient documents are often several pages long and contain WAY to much information to make a concise decision.

I’m currently reading through The Art of Explanation, and found it very interesting that they never mention white papers (not even once!) as a good medium to explain something.  The simple fact is, that other technologies and mediums do a much better job of explaining a product or service.

But you can put my personal feelings on white papers aside.  Recently, Dr. Oldroyd has proven that white papers suck in his Lead Response Management Survey.

Dr. Oldroyd wanted to find what methods companies use to incentivise visitors on their web site to fill out a web form, and what are the effects of those offers on their lead qualification and close rates. His findings…

Offering an eBook, Proposal Request, and Price Quotes all have a strong positive relationship with increased close rates, while offering White Papers actually decreased close rates!

Offer by Close Rates



So think twice about adding White Papers to your next Personalized URL “PURL” campaigns.

  • http://www.internetbusinesspassion.com/ Ryan Cote

    Great post Marty. But doesn’t an eBook contain MORE information than a whitepaper?

  • http://www.purlem.com Martin Thomas

    Great point. I suppose my argument would be that the purpose a white paper is to help readers make a decision – in which case there are far better mediums for decision making today. Whereas eBooks are more to teach or inform – not necessarily to help somebody make a specific decision 🙂