Targeted Musings on Financial Marketing

Two Important Ways to Utilize Whitepapers in ETF Marketing

11 Sep 2020

Whitepapers are a staple in the financial marketing landscape, and for good reason. Depending on the strategy and approach in question, investing can entail a great deal of nuance and complexity, which long form documents such as whitepapers excel at conveying. Although whitepapers certainly have their uses, their ubiquity in the financial services industry has clouded what purposes they are best suited to. For example, a whitepaper probably isn’t necessarily the first piece of content an ETF issuer should produce if they’re looking to explain their investment thesis. For all but the most complex of investment theses, a shorter piece of content such as an investment case or even an infographic could probably accomplish the job without turning off would-be prospective investors with the proverbial walls of text that we often warn our clients about.

But this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for whitepapers in financial marketing arsenal! Far from it. What follows are two important ways you might consider using whitepapers in your financial marketing plan.

Another tool we recommend utilizing is Animated Videos; here are 3 ways to do so


Use as a deeper dive into a complex topic

Whitepapers can in many cases be better thought of as a complement to existing marketing materials (shorter content pieces like animated videos, investment cases, or ETF detail pages) that may take a more “surface level” approach for the sake of accessibility. But amongst every cohort of investors that may find the high level explanation good enough, there is always a subset that is eager to dive into the minutiae behind a fund to really find out what makes it tick. This is where whitepapers come in. After your marketing initiative piques a prospective investor’s curiosity with more snackable content, whitepapers can serve the much-needed function of bolstering credibility and explaining the logical underpinnings of the ETF’s strategy.


Use as a lead generation tool

Whitepapers can also play an invaluable role in ETF marketing plans by serving as lead generation tools. Since they delve into such detail, prospective investors that are looking for more nuanced information—and are therefore more likely to invest—are also more likely to part with their email addresses in exchange for accessing this rich, lengthier content. Those email addresses are like gold to ETF marketers.

The content funnel goes something like this: first, a prospective investor lands on an ETF detail page and consumes a short, animated video that communicates the topline value propositions about the fund. Curious about the thesis behind the fund, the website visitor sees a whitepaper available and inputs their email address so that it can be emailed to them. Their email addresses can be added to email drip campaigns that, over the course of a few emails, offer up additional rich content supporting the investment thesis of the ETF in question. Finally, having consumed the short and longform content on offer, and having deepened their understanding of the ETF, the prospective investor makes the leap to a real investor, and makes an allocation to your ETF.


The bottom line

Although whitepapers can be labor-intensive to produce and may not be as attention-grabbing as shorter-form content, they can punch above their weight and play a valuable role if they’re properly integrated into a broader ETF marketing plan.