Most people coming to your website aren’t coming to your website to buy. They are coming to your site for information. Do you have your web site’s good content under lock and key?
Research shows shows that if you require registration on your website to download content such as articles, white papers, studies or other "free" resources, you could be losing 75%-85% of your potential leads!
I saw a press release for a study last week completed by the Nielsen Norman Group, which also supports this finding. According to their study, the practice of making users register before providing them with deeper information will send sales prospects running.
You’ll do better by thinking of lead generation as a process of micro-conversions that build an opportunity profile over time, such as requesting an email address, then asking for first and last name, later requesting a phone number, and so on.
There should be a balance between collecting information and providing value; i.e., be careful about requiring registration to receive anything worthwhile. Your thought-leading content can be a lead generation tool, but only if it is easily accessed.
Almost every company has at least some decent content for leads who are in the later stages of their buying process, including: brochures, case studies, success stories, sell sheets, etc.
The key is to reach people as early in their buying process as possible. That’s where you have the biggest influence. It’s not effective to wait until they are narrowing their short list.
What most companies lack is thought-leading content that addresses needs of people who are in the early stages of their buying process. KnowledgeStorm made this same point in their recent report on evaluating and scoring web leads. And interestingly, those who do have good, relevant content lock it up behind registration pages.
Ardath Albee over at the Marketing Interactions Blog has some great thoughts on this too. Marketing Interactions: B2B Websites Not Effective