It’s role-playing time.
In your role, you have a great business with a new, rock star product. You need to get more exposure for your new product to generate interest and drive sales. That’s always the case with new products.
My role is that of an experienced web copywriter.
So it just happens that you and I meet by chance in the local café. As we talk, sipping our Swiss Mocha lattes, your new product comes up in conversation.
As you describe it, your eyes light up. It’s easy to see you’re excited. But suddenly, you look crestfallen. You need to find a way to get it in front of your target market. But you’re not sure what to do.
And because it’s innovative, somewhat complex and maybe a bit pricey, you also need something to break down the inevitable barriers.
My eyes light up now, because that’s exactly what I do.
But, does this next part sound just a bit creepy?
I begin to explain what I do for other businesses.
“I’m a web copywriter and I specialize in lead generation, content marketing, landing pages and more. These tools help you get your product in front of your target market and effectively capture qualified leads.”
Just as I’m really getting into it, you glance at your watch and realize you have an important meeting coming up.
“Gosh, I’d love to hear more about this, but I really need to get going.”
Reaching into my briefcase, I reply, “No problem. I have a special report that explains it all. If you’ll fill out this information sheet, I can email it to you.”
I slide the sheet across the table to you. The first three fields are simple enough: your name, company name and email address. But as you glance down the page, your mouth drops open:
- *Phone number
- *Mailing address
- *Job title
- *Number of employees at your company
- *Company website URL
- *Your goals for your business
- *Marital status
- *Number of children and ages
- *Type of car you drive
- *Size of house
- *Rent or buy
- *Your annual income
- *Do you have a dog, by any chance?
“And if you don’t mind, could you include your credit card information? You know, just in case we do business. It will speed up the process. By the way, all the fields with asterisks beside them must be filled out before I can send you the report.”
You stare at it, and then give me a sideways glance. It looks as though I’m building a dossier on you. Hmm …
“I’d love to fill this out now. But as I mentioned, I need to get to an important meeting right now. In fact, I’m late.”
Standing up, you smile at me, promising, “I’ll fill this out at the office and get it back to you the next time we meet.”
But, you never fill it out … and we never meet again.
That happens in real life – a lot.
You need a corral, not a stockade
You really do need gated content.
The content can include free white papers, case studies, tip sheets, e-newsletter subscriptions and other valuable forms of copy.
You probably already have some free downloads and great content that your prospects can read.
But you need some content that requires an action on the part of the reader to receive it. It’s an effective strategy to get warm leads from your readers. If you don’t have gated content, you’re losing money.
I checked out some bearing manufacturers’ websites. There was a lot of free, very valuable information for download. In all, I probably grabbed 20 different documents.
And I was never contacted.
It’s as if they didn’t even know I was there. In fact … they didn’t. Because nothing required that I enter contact information, I was invisible to them.
The “imaginary” form I mentioned earlier is the opposite extreme.
The form was so long and the information so personal, that even I would have headed for the door, meeting or not. Giving out that much information at our first meeting would make me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t do it.
The form was a barrier … a stockade.
Your prospect may not know you very well, if at all.
Let your prospects trust you
You need to build a trust relationship before you can get personal. Once they see that you’re legit and that your content really is valuable, they’ll be more forthcoming with additional information.
You need to drop breadcrumbs in the path to the sale. Get just a little more information at each virtual meeting while giving them useful stuff.
Studies show that you can improve your form’s conversion rate by limiting the number of fields. Contact forms and lead generation forms both benefit from fewer fields.
And when the prospect does fill out your form and gets their “prize,” you now have a good lead you can nurture. By sending you their contact information, they have given you “permission” to contact them.
Plan your lead generation strategy carefully
Even if you’ve already established your target market.
Now it’s time to figure out your target reader. Who do you want, even need to read your gated content?
For example, let’s say that you’re a bearing manufacturer and sell to equipment manufacturers, factory maintenance departments, and independent repair services.
- The engineer at the equipment manufacturer would appreciate a white paper outlining the state of bearing development, with facts and figures pertinent to equipment design. Case studies would help, too.
- That maintenance supervisor is pressured to keep downtime to a minimum. A guidebook on the proper care and feeding of bearings to increase longevity would be much appreciated.
- The independent repair service would love to get a tip sheet on how to keep expenses down and improve its bottom line while still providing top-notch services to their customers.
- E-newsletter subscriptions are great for anyone wanting to keep up with current trends and best practices.
Gated content works for any industry, not just bearing manufacturing. It works for services as well.
Research your target market and target reader. Understand their CNI factors (Challenges, Needs and Interests).
Then, develop valuable content that will actually benefit them. Content they can use, whether they buy your product or not. Something of real, intrinsic value.
When you do that, you become a likeable expert. Someone to know, like and trust. Your company will be top of mind when your type of product or service is needed.
And be sure to put your valuable content behind a simple gate. A name, email address and some company info is all you really need include.
If you ask for too much up front, you build a stockade around your content.
Stockades are used to keep people out. Gates, on the other hand, are designed to let people in.
Use gated content. And make it easy to open the gate.
Then you can capture … and nurture those leads to the best advantage.
Here’s to your success!
Article written by Steve Maurer – Steve Maurer Freelance Writing
First published on LinkedIn here:
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