Two Non-Traditional Approaches to B2B Registration

Two Non-Traditional Approaches to B2B Registration
Michele Linn - Mon Sep 21, 2009 @ 04:03PM
Comments: 53

Two alternativesLast week, Stephanie recommended marketers collect incremental information during the registration process, asking for more information during each interaction. Along with Stephanie's suggestion, I also want to share two other alternatives.

Option 1: Self-selection

Several weeks ago I was intrigued when I was presented with two options when downloading a white paper:

  • I Want the White Paper and I Want to Talk with Someone
  • I Want the White Paper and I'll Contact You When I'm Ready

I think this is a pretty ingenious way to approach registration (and a shout out to Walt Kania who suggested something similar in the comments to Stephanie's post). I like the idea of prospects self-selecting a follow up phone call as it sets the expectation for the person downloading the piece, and it helps marketing and sales prioritize leads. Additionally, I would venture to guess that more people may be willing to register for the paper if they know they will not get a phone call.

Registration Details
For those curious on the specifics on how this was managed, registration was required for both options, but different fields were required.

For those who want to download the white paper but not be contacted, they needed to complete this info:

  • Company name
  • Title
  • First name
  • Last name
  • Email address

For those who want to talk to someone, a few additional fields were required:

  • Phone
  • Company website
  • Comments (optional)

Both also had an opt-in for the company's newsletter.

Follow Up
I registered as someone who does not want to talk to anyone, and I immediately received an email from the company that thanked me for downloading one of their resources (unfortunately, they didn't mention what the resource was or provide a direct link to it for my easy reference). The email also explained a bit about the company and provided seven links for more info (I'm all for providing a next step, but this is a bit too much in my opinion).

And then, about six weeks later, I received another email from this company with a related offer. I'm not opposed to the second email I received because it was relevant, but if this was the company's intention, I think they should add an option on the download form where a user can select to receive additional emails from the company on related topics.

Option 2: Voluntary registration AFTER the download

I also recently downloaded an eBook that did not require registration. Interestingly enough, AFTER I downloaded the eBook I was offered an option to sign up for this person's newsletter and receive links to this author's other eBooks.

I like this approach, too. It lets the eBook roam free, which will increase its visibility and reach. However, this also provides a way for this person to capture emails so they can continue the conversation.

I'd love your thoughts on the ongoing registration debate. Do you think these two ideas - or the incremental registration suggested by Stephanie -- are effective? Do you have any other alternatives?

Related Posts:

Read more Savvy B2B posts from Michele.

Comments: 53

Comments

1. David Locke   |   Tue Sep 22, 2009 @ 07:22AM

Company and Title would prevent technical enthusiasts from downloading the white paper. The white paper should be selling the next conversion. It should sort out the technical enthusiasts from the economic buyer.

Being that this whitepaper would be the first one anyone downloads, it is too soon in the purchase cycle to call them or for them to have questions.

Get their participation in a permission campaign, aka newsletter, and include successive surveys in each newsletter. Do not disqualify anyone. Instead, offer different content and paths to each identifiable stakeholder in your marketing or in the purchase process.

You could use session maintenance like cookies and content management ids to preserve continuity across touchpoint contacts until they provide registration information.

2. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Tue Sep 22, 2009 @ 07:48AM

David,

Interesting thought that including title and company on the reg form would preclude a technical enthusiast from downloading a white paper. While I am of the "only ask for the necessary info" school of thought, I had not considered that certain fields are worse than others, and I wouldn't have thought that these are fields that people would want to ignore.

If the white paper is designed for earlier in the buying process, I agree that readers won't want to talk to someone, at least not immediately. It makes sense to nurture these leads and/or have them subscribe to a newsletter as you suggest. So, even though I doubt many people would ask to talk to someone, I still think it is a good way to approach registration, even if it just gives the registrant a bit of a warm fuzzy when they know they will not be called. Would you agree or do you think it is simply unnecessary?

Thanks for stopping by!

3. Dale Underwood  |  my website   |   Tue Sep 22, 2009 @ 02:28PM

The main issue here is that no matter what tricks you come up with they will not make up for content that the prospect does not perceive as valuable. You end up trying to dance around how to get something of value (contact info) for something of little perceived value (whitepaper). While both options above make sense, they are about as good as you are going to get given the offer.

Although I agree with most of David's comments, I would point out that any contact is an opportunity to engage and qualify the prospect. What's wrong with following up with a courtesy email making sure they received it (and to check their spam filter if they haven't)? It gives you the chance to ask a simple probing question like "Have you established project requirements for your XYZ project, or no? We have accumulated requirements from dozens of customers and combined them into a master check list that is available electronically." You'll be amazed at how many people who "aren't interested" want that list. It is the start of a fruitful sales conversation and you would have missed it in the nurturing cycle.

4. Jonathan Kranz  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 23, 2009 @ 03:28AM

Interesting! Any way you can get the data comparing the number of people who opted for the phone call versus opting for "contacting you when I'm ready"?

5. Michele Linn  |  my website   |   Wed Sep 23, 2009 @ 07:57AM

Dale: When done well, I don't see either of these two approaches as tricks. I like the first approach because it is very clear what will happen when you register, and the second method is nice because it provides a way for the content to go viral yet it still gives interested parties a way to stay connected.

Also, I completely agree that the initial email I was sent after I downloaded the paper is a great idea. It lets the prospect continue the conversation if he or she sees fit. I'm all about nurturing leads because, as you suggest just because someone isn't ready to buy now doesn't mean that they won't want to buy at a future time.

Jonathan: Great question and one that crossed my mind. I am going to do some digging, and I'll let you know what I find out. I would venture to guess that the people who selected the option to get a phone call is very small, especially considering that the offer was a white paper, but I'll see what I can find out.

6. Walt Kania  |  my website   |   Thu Sep 24, 2009 @ 05:20AM

Good fine. I like these ideas.

Both of these are far better -- from the customer's point of view -- than the standard ransoming registration. They ASK permission rather than ASSUME you want contact because you were forced to fill out a form. The customer really doesn't care that you need to qualify your leads or follow up. What they care about is the information or ideas. You have to start there.

7. Walt Kania   |   Thu Sep 24, 2009 @ 05:21AM

Um. . . I meant Good find.

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