This is the first Copyblogger post by Michael Stelzner of Writing White Papers.
Today’s “I want it now” culture dictates that you make people happy by providing what they want, when they want it.
Need information? Google it.
However, is it really wise for marketing folks to satisfy people’s desire for instant access?
M. Scott Peck describes delayed gratification as a sacrifice of present comforts for future gain in his book, The Road Less Traveled.
By NOT providing people what they want, when they want it, you can actually improve your image, enhance your branding and increase your sales.
Unlike any other point in history, we can immediately access information.
With this great accessibility comes information overload.
With information overload comes poor retention.
With poor retention come weak branding results.
And we all know what happens if no-one remembers your brand—business stagnates.
What I am about to explain may seem counterintuitive or even downright crazy.
However, remember that you are in business to make money AND that people are willing to wait for the right something.
The Common Lead Generation Mistake
Let’s say you have some great information and have formatted it into a white paper or an ebook.
You have written this material to ultimately grow your business.
You really have two marketing options:
- Give it away: With this option, you simply have a PDF file publicly available for immediate access and hope the document does all the selling for you.
- Gate it away: This involves providing a sample of the content and then asking people to do something to gain access to the rest.
I am going to focus on the concept of gating your great content.
This is particularly common with lead generation campaigns tied to white papers or free reports.
After people read a sample of your wonderful content, you ask them to complete the registration form.
Now here’s the big mistake many marketers make: They simply send on the requested information immediately after the form has been completed.
The logic goes like this: I have captured my lead and that’s all I care about.
However, you’ll have a much bigger marketing opportunity if you send something else, rather than what was requested.
With immediate access after registration, you end up simply making a very quick impression on readers that is easily forgotten.
Because the only post-registration touch point is the document itself, you are banking fully on the strength of your ebook or white paper to do all of your selling.
If you could, wouldn’t you rather have four or five touch points?
Delayed Response Marketing
There are acceptable ways to get a few marketing messages delivered and improve your image, while maintaining your reader’s interest.
What I am about to outline comes from personal experience.
I wrote a document called, “How to Write a White Paper: A White Paper on White Papers.” More than 44,000 people registered for the paper and I still have between 50 and 100 people signing up daily. To see how I set up the main page, click here.
Here is the delayed response marketing principle applied:
Touch Point 1 – The “Thank-You” Page: After the registration form is submitted, send the reader to a “Thank you for registering” page. This is where you make your first pitch for some of your value-added services. You should also include the email address your document will be sent from so folks to add it to their white lists (increasing delivery rates). See a sample here.
Touch Point 2 – The “Thanks for Registering” Email: Set up an autoresponder that sends a thank-you message to new registrants. This is where you can thank them for registering and state, “While you are waiting for our paper, you might be interested in this other information.” You can link to some of your services, your blog and so on.
Touch Point 3 – Send the Content One Hour Later: Set up a delayed message that sends the requested document (or links to a page that contains it) after an hour has gone by. Be sure to mention again some of the other services you offer.
Touch Point 4 – The Actual Document: The ebook or white paper is the final touch point. By this time, the reader has been expecting your content and should be familiar with your name, company and brand.
Touch Point 5 – Your Newsletter (optional): If you have a newsletter, it would be wise to add the option to subscribe to it on your registration form. Set up a three-day delay and send a special prefabricated edition of your newsletter. This provides another opportunity to get your name in front of a prospect.
By NOT sending what they want right away, you can actually:
- Increase your name recognition: Every time the prospect reads something from you, your name becomes etched in their brain. More touch points mean more chances you will gain their business.
- Establish a relationship: By sending well-crafted messages, you begin the process of establishing trust with your prospect. These relationship-forming steps help take you from an information dispenser to an advocate.
- Increase your open rates: Because readers are expecting an email from you, your thank-you message and follow-up message will have a very high open rate. This is the prime time to mention related products and services.
- Improve the desire to read the document: When the final document arrives, the reader will have been prepared for this great piece. The delayed gratification concept kicks in and they will likely treat your work as extra special, devoting time to your useful resource.
What are your thoughts? Do these concepts run against the grain of typical online marketing strategies?
Michael Stelzner is the author of the book Writing White Papers: How to Capture Readers and Keep Them Engaged. Subscribe to his 20,000-reader newsletter here.