Interesting posting by Augie Ray on SocialMediaToday laying out the well-known (Marketing) challenge: When do you give away content for free and when are you collecting contact information to proof lead generation. For sure not a scientific poll, but nevertheless the results are interesting :
Only one in eight people will automatically furnish their contact information to access desired content.
Almost twice as many people will automatically leave a site as will furnish their contact information.
The largest share of people (one in four) may share their contact information, provided they trust the firm. …
One in five will leave the site and seek the information elsewhere. I will typically do this myself, and most of the time I am successful in finding the content without navigating through the contact form.
While I didn’t ask it explicitly in the poll, a significant number of people will simply lie, completing the form with false information. (How much value are marketers really getting from their forms if bad records are added to the database?)
… It is easy enough to measure the amount of inbound traffic to a landing page containing a form and compare that to the number of downloads or completion rate of the form. The wider the gap, the more the brand should consider the disadvantages versus the benefits.It is also important to remember that in the social age there are other ways to identify and build relationships with people who download your firm’s content. Many folks who find your information interesting will share it. If you are listening on Twitter and to the larger social web, it is possible to engage and know the people who not only accessed your content but found it valuable enough to share.
Well, Augie describes, that there are other ways to connect to people downloading content (without having them fill out extensive forms, and by the way: not only my company is famous for these forms …). BUT: These ways are much more time consuming. On top of simply having the contact information by a form and try to contact the new lead, you need to do Social Media listing and build a relationship through Social. It takes much longer. With a form you immediately have the contact and it counts as prospect. And guess what today’s marketers are measured on? Number of leads, pipeline generated. The weekly dashboard looks much better. Green color is better than read color in your spreadsheet.
I strongly believe in Social and in providing quality content for free to build trusted relationships and farm the market. But I know what we are measured the latest quarterly, most of the time monthly or weekly: How much new pipeline did you generate? How many new leads did you generate? So it is not surprising to see extensive forms when trying to download content. For a marketer it seems to be better to grab 1 out of 8 potential leads and document this lead instead of trying to build a relationship to the 8 …
We still fail to convince our management on the value of farming. Management, Controlling wants to harvest immediately, not to farm mid-term. They want to demonstrate immediate ROI and success. Immediately collected leads seem to be more valuable than visitors. And influence still is hard to be measured. Modern analytics is more and more capable to help: You are able to „know“ your potential customer and provide him with the „next valuable information“ based on the data you collect on your website. But this again needs patience, more time until Marketing is able to demonstrate success. We all know the more and more upcoming sensitivity of our prospects on Data Privacy, but I strongly believe in Relationship and Influencer Marketing in the Social Age. The challenge is how to proof (fast) success and ROI. It is a Social age we are living in. But it is also an age of Quarterly Results. This is the most important quarter in the history …
Interested to hear your thoughts!
Here a good infographic on Inbound Marketing: