5 January 2021

5 White Paper Design Best Practices to Strengthen Your Credibility

When a B2B SaaS white paper design is appealing and easy to digest, it has a greater impact on the reader—and produces better results for your company. The words in a white paper only tell part of the story. You need to follow white paper design best practices to round out the story and enhance the reading experience. 

In this post, we’ll explore 5 white paper design best practices that’ll help you attract a wider audience, help your audience solve problems and drive interest in your SaaS product. Using these methods will make your white paper stand out in a crowded marketplace and establish your company as a thought leader in your space. 

White paper design best practices that lead to success

White paper design best practice #1: Create a visually appealing cover 

Even though your B2B SaaS white paper is digital, an eye catching cover page is essential to getting your audience’s attention. The cover page is your reader’s first impression of your content, and a compelling white paper design entices them to dive deeper. 

Make sure your graphics and text are on-brand and engaging—and that they work together to give readers a strong sense of what they’ll learn. If your audience can’t tell what your paper is about and why it will benefit them, they’re less likely to take the time to read it. Hook your readers right from the start with an interesting cover that clearly conveys your message. 

White paper design best practice #2: Make your white paper design easy to navigate

Most readers are strapped for time, so they’ll go directly to the section of your white paper that applies to their pain point or the business decisions they need to make. Including a clearly labeled, clickable table of contents at the beginning of your white paper allows readers to easily navigate to the most relevant sections. 

Throughout your white paper, use different fonts, colors and sizes of headings to clearly differentiate between sections. These visual guide posts keep readers engaged and moving forward through the content. 

Page numbers should stand out and be easy to find. You want people to reference your white paper while making decisions. Allowing them to share information easily will increase the likelihood of finding and disseminating key information. 

White paper design best practice #3: Use high quality photos

Find non-generic, high resolution photos to sprinkle throughout your white paper design. Use pictures that show faces and resemble the people you want to read your B2B SaaS white paper. If you’re targeting C-suite executives, for example, find photos that showcase business meetings. Your images should reflect your industry, as well as appeal to potential customers. 

If you can, incorporate photos of your product into your white paper design. Product photos reinforce how and why people use your product. In addition, screenshots of digital products give your audience a sneak peak at what they can expect. 

White paper design best practice #4: Create visual elements to make information memorable

Make use of highlighting and callout boxes to bring attention to the most important parts of your white paper, so that even those readers who are just skimming the document will understand the main ideas and what steps to take next. For a series of important points, you can create icons specific to your white paper design as a way to flag things a reader should pay attention to. 

Another way to bring each page to life is by using background images and colors, which create interest and provide continuity throughout your B2B SaaS white paper. 

Since the eye is drawn to images and graphics before text, it’s a good idea to complement or replace written statistics with graphs and charts that will grab your audience’s attention. An infographic is also a great way to break up large blocks of text and dense statistics. These visual cues make it easier to remember the information in your white paper.  

White paper design best practice #5: Use calls to action strategically throughout your white paper

Give your audience opportunities to engage further with your business by providing calls to action (CTAs) in relevant places in your B2B SaaS white paper. For example, any time you present your product as a solution to a problem, consider including a CTA to encourage the reader to find out more, get on a mailing list, schedule a demo or talk to a sales rep.

At the end of your white paper, include a boilerplate about your company as well as a strong CTA to get in touch with. You can also use the opportunity to pitch your company in a more overt way than you would within the body of the white paper. 

What’s next?

Now that you know how to design an interesting and compelling white paper, it’s time to send your work out into the world. Learn how to promote your white paper by finding your target audience and encouraging downloads. 

This is the eighth post in a 9-part series called the Ultimate Guide to Writing a White Paper for B2B SaaS.

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Emily Amos

As the founder of Uplift Content, Emily leads her team in creating done-for-you case studies, ebooks and blog posts for high-growth SaaS companies like ClickUp, Calendly and WalkMe. Connect with Emily on Linkedin

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