Filling out forms is like putting a gatekeeper in front of your content. This is a very common practice of many manufacturers, businesses, and other organizations marketing their products or services. The ask visitors to fill out a form in order to download an e-book or a report. This is referred to in online marketing terms as “the gate.”
The reason they do this is simple: filling out the form provides marketers with names and addresses and most importantly email addresses that can be used for marketing purposes down the road. There are many practical reasons for this and it can be a very good opportunity to build a database.
However, is this is a good idea? According to studies by David Meerman Scott, author of the book, “The New Rules of Marketing and PR,” when visitors are not asked to fill out this form – meaning there is no gate, downloads can be as much as 20 times more. Visitors feel more comfortable downloading the content if they do not have to fill out a form and that means your quality content, that helps promote your company, products, and services in a credible way, has more chance of being read my more visitors. And quality content leads to loyal customers.
Another thing, when content is freely downloadable, there is a greater chance that visitors will share your information with others. This ups the ante, so even more people will know about your company and improving the marketing potential or your content.
While I do not totally agree with Scott, it does appear that the bottom-line is: Bring down the barriers. Don’t cut your customers off.
Robert “Buzz” Kravitz is president of AlturaSolutions, which works extensively with B2B industries such as the professional cleaning, foodservice, hotel, hospitality, and Green-related manufacturers and organizations. Contact him at www.alturasolutions.com