When a prospect is looking for answers, very often free reports or white papers can build awareness of your company. But, how to do this the right way?
Brian Carroll in "When is a 'Free Download' no longer free?" reminds us of a huge mistake business-to-business marketers make with white papers. He also points out how to properly use telemarketing for follow up, while reminding us about micro conversions and lead nurturing.
Here are several other mistakes to avoid in free report lead generation:
Collecting too much information upfront. If providing the free report on-line, then just capture the email initially. Off-line capture just enough to deliver the report.
Incorrect or premature follow up by telemarketers. Read Brian's articles for details on how to do this right. Use a soft service approach.
Not enough value in the report. Your report must be a report, not a fancy brochure. Provide a few tools, it must have enough value to price and sell with your product.
Failing to qualify with follow up measures. Your second step should capture full information, use bounce backs in your report, and start the name through your lead qualification funnel.
Writing for a general audience. Be specific about who will benefit from your white paper, then write just for those people. You're allowed more than one white paper if your buyers have different roles or prospectives.
Not making white papers functional. A great white paper will have as much value to a customer as it will to someone looking. Solve real problems giving resources that position your value.
Haphazard content distribution. Use the white paper libraries available, but also go directly to buyers in your market with your white paper.
Forcing the conversation before prospect knows what to ask. Let the white paper cultivate a follow on contact, it should improve the readers ability to ask good questions about what you offer.
The reason many B2B firms jump on these white paper "leads" is because they don't have a system to qualify prospects. While immediate telemarketing will convert some, these results are short lived.
Instead, opt for a series of small steps that move the prospect towards connecting with your sales team. Use your lead qualification funnel to follow up as the report helps the prospect understand your value.