A common practice of many manufacturers and other organizations marketing their products or services is to 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: the filled-out form provides marketers with names, addresses, and—most important—email addresses that can be used for marketing purposes down the road.
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—the number of downloads can increase by as much as 20 times. Apparently, visitors feel more comfortable downloading the content if they do not have to fill out a form. This also means that quality content that helps promote a company’s products and services in a credible way has more chance of being read by more visitors.
And quality content leads to loyal customers.
In addition, when content is freely downloadable, there is a greater chance that visitors will share the information with others. This lets even more people know about the company and improves the marketing potential of the content.
The bottom line is this: Take down the barriers. Don’t cut off your potential customers.