A custom publishing company asked me for feedback on their recently redesigned website. As my strength is primarily in the direct marketing space, I focused on the techniques they used for generating leads, namely their downloadable offer content. My observations are as follows:
I spent some time reviewing xyz .com and downloaded the white paper: ”The Power of Custom Content Publishing…” Nice work on the white paper; it’s well-designed, offers good content for prospective customers and it generally conforms to the best practices approach we recommend.
For what they’re worth, here are a few observations you might find valuable:
1. Give Prospects Something Tangible in the Call Out
I found the white paper on the footer of the homepage under the call out “Get Smart” (I already knew it was there from previous visits). A new visitor to the site may not quickly identify “Get Smart” with a free content asset (white paper).
In fact, there’s no mention of a white paper or that it’s free in the copy at all. You might consider replacing “Get Smart” with a more straightforward call out like: “Free Whitepaper”. Telling a prospect exactly what to expect is a good way to increase content asset downloads and qualify leads (more on that below).
2. Show Prospects the Benefit of What They’ll Receive
In the same space, the benefit statement reads: “Learn more about Custom Content Publishing, how it can increase your bottom line and the elements that are involved in piecing it all together.”
Again, if I’m a new visitor to the site I may not know exactly what I’d be getting by downloading this asset (or for that matter, whether this an asset at all or whether it’s a page on your site, an article, a white paper, a video, etc.).
You may be better served to specifically call out what the asset is and something tangible as the benefit statement (e.g. Download our white paper to discover the Seven Steps to Creating Effective Custom Content Publications and how custom content can increase your bottom line).
3. Make White Paper Titles Reliable and Consistent
After clicking the link from the homepage, I’m taken to a download page on which the white paper is titled: The Power of Custom Content Publishing to Acquire and Retain Customers.
However, after I download and open the white paper, the title seems to be: “Why Custom Publishing” with “The Power…” as a sub-title. This is a subtle nuance, but could prove to be at least a distraction to a prospective customer and at worst it may create the slightest sense of distrust.
Yet still, the majority of the content (pages 3-7) is about Seven Steps to Creating Effective Custom Content Publications. You might consider retitling the white paper to: Seven Steps to Creating Effective Custom Content Publications. It seems to be the essence of the white paper and provides a valuable, compelling and tangible benefit statement for prospective customers.
4. Make Your Download Pages Irresistable
Still on the download page, while the use of white space is typically an admirable design quality, in this case it works against funneling the prospect to download the white paper as it fails to deliver on many of the best practice elements of a download page [in this case, virtually the entire page was white space with no benefit offer], mainly providing additional benefit statements about why a prospective lead should download this white paper. More on this subject in the following blog post: 5 Ways to Make Your White Paper Irresistible.
At minimum, consider including copy like (this is in rough form):
“In this insightful white paper authored by the award-winning team at XYZ, you’ll learn the secrets of successful custom publishing and how to:
- Engage with prospects and customers to drive
actions and build loyalty
- Evaluate the right type of media to use to
distribute your custom content
- Plan for ROI
- And much more…”
Additionally, you might consider removing the “click to download pdf” option entirely and make it available only via registration gated (form) download.
Contact information (so long as the requested information is limited to only what you absolutely need for marketing/sales efforts) is a fair exchange for good content. Plus, how else will you obtain the lead?
5. Minimize The Outbound Links on Landing Pages
As a final observation on the download page, it contains external links from the site CSS which may cause a prospective lead to become distracted (oh, I’ll look at their job opportunities) and fail to convert.
To wrap up, a couple of quick comments on distribution of the white paper.
6. Leverage Content for Social Distribution
In addition to the obvious email marketing, organic search and paid search methods, you might also consider pulling content snippets from the white paper into articles for the blog.
I noticed you have been hard at work in producing some great content on the blog (nice work) and the technique I’m describing can help with both content production (by leveraging the existing content from the white paper) and by creating a next step for readers of your article (by ending blog articles with something like: Learn more secrets of successful custom content publishing by downloading our free white paper: Your White Paper Title Here).
Additionally, you might consider using Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as ongoing distribution channels for factoids contained within the white paper (more on this topic on our blog: Factoids: How to Tweet Multiple Times About the Same Offer).
Learn the secrets to success and fundamental lead management principles that can increase response rates, convert more leads to opportunities, and accelerate the ROI from marketing automation software: Free white paper download: “Top 10 Tips for Lead Nurturing Success: How to Get the Most From Your Lead Nurturing Program, and How to Plan for Success If You’re Just Getting Started”.