Thursday, January 3, 2013

When and When Not to Capture Website Leads

There is still much debate among high-tech marketing professionals about when and when not to capture website leads. Some feel the best approach is to place all downloadable resources (datasheets, white papers, recorded webinars, flash demos) behind a web form so you effectively capture contact info for everyone that accesses them. The downside, of course, is that you'll turn away valid prospects that are early in their evaluation process or simply wish to remain anonymous. Another school of thought is to make all of your downloadable resources available without capturing any leads. Of course, you know the downside there.

I suggest a more mainstream, hybrid approach that makes "some" of your content available for download without registration while requiring registration for more technically focused content. This approach "whets the user's appetite" by giving them just enough information to get them hooked and leaves them wanting more.

Upon reviewing practices by dozens of enterprise software companies, here is what I suggest:

Registration-free (less technical) resources:
  • Product brochures (product briefs, datasheets)
  • Solution brochures (horizontal and vertical solutions)
  • Customer case studies (in PDF format and videos)
  • Technology animations
  • Infographics
Registration-required (more technical) resources:
  • White papers
  • eBooks
  • Automated product demos
  • Recorded webinars
  • Analyst reports
Of course, when you require registration, the best approach is to leverage a system that places a cookie within the user's browser that either negates the need for the user to ever register again when using that browser (but notifies Marketo, Eloqua, or other marketing automation system when content is accessed) or pre-populates the web form so the user simply needs to click "submit." We want to capture the lead, but we also want to make it as seamless as possible for the user.

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