Archive for January, 2011

It’s not a rhetorical question. I’d really like to know. And probably so would a lot of corporate marketers and their agency partners.

So please take this simple three-question survey: How Much Do We Lie On Landing Pages? And please encourage friends and colleagues to do so, as well. Whether they’re professional marketers or, better yet, just plain consumers and business people (aka, customers).

Important: Be sure to click the “Finish Survey” button at the end. Also, you won’t be asked for contact or personal information when taking this short survey. And we’ll share the results via Twitter and here on Touch Point City soon.

Engagement or Evasion

While it’s a fairly simple question — “How much do we lie on landing pages?” — it’s one with simply powerful implications for how we go about content marketing and lead generation/nurturing.

Most content programs, at some point, attempt to attract visitors to a landing page (what some call a “squeeze page”). That’s where the marketer offers something of value — an e-book, a white paper, a how-to video — in exchange for the visitor’s name, contact information, and often some level of personal or business biographic detail. 

But what if people aren’t 100 percent honest with the information they provide on that landing page form? What if instead — to be contrary, or more likely to shield themselves from follow-up marketing contact and sales calls — they type a colleague’s name? A phony e-mail address? What if the phone number they give connects to the company operator, not their direct dial, making it easier to screen follow-up sales calls?

If a tree falls in the forest, but no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a prospect comes to a landing page, but provides false or misleading data, does it constitute a lead? Do you really have engagement?

Gating vs. Ungating
Knowing how much people lie on landing pages could help all of us get clearer on the issue of “gating” vs. “ungating” our value-adding content — a key consideration in the implementation of any content strategy.

Thought leaders such as David Meerman Scott have advocated for some time that it’s best to  “ungate” — make it as easy and non-threatening as possible to download, consume and share your content. The fewer obstacles and concerns you create for the user, the thinking goes, the more readily your content will be downloaded and shared. The more widely consumed and disseminated your content, the greater your market reach and the wider you’ve opened the top of your engagement funnel. The more people you reach, the greater potential for more people coming back to you for more content — or for more information about your product or service.

In fact, David cites one case study in which an ungated e-book was downloaded at a rate 16x that of the same content when registration was required. In a recent Twitter conversation, Ardath Albee says she often ungates her content, and advises clients to do so, as well.

Meanwhile, picture the corporate marketer who has finally convinced skeptical leadership and colleagues to go along with a content marketing strategy. Now picture that same marketer explaining to the CEO and the VP of Sales that, well, no, we’re not actually going to ask people for their contact info. We’re going to give our content away.

Wait a minute, the skeptics might argue: Just how do you propose to generate leads and measurable ROI if we don’t at least require minimal name and contact information in return for the content? It’s a legitimate and common question.

But again, if a good percentage of those leads will be hollow, because they include fictitious information, then are they leads in name only?

I’ve got my own views on gating vs. ungating. You do as well, and I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences as comments.

But meanwhile, I hope you’ll take the survey. Let’s get a sense for how much people lie on landing pages, then continue the exploration of gating vs. ungating from there.


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