If you follow my posts on Savvy B2B, you know that I think it often makes sense to remove the registration requirement from your content, especially if your objective is visibility, the content targeting someone earlier in the buying process, or you don't have a good way to follow up.
Even though I think too many pieces have an unnecessary registration barrier, there are also many times when it does make sense to ask people to register for your content, such as when you need to generate a list AND you have a follow up process in place.
But, even though requiring registration is a completely valid approach, it doesn't mean that you should slap the piece behind any old form on your website and call it a day. Instead, think through the entire process. Here are the questions I ask to think through the registration process.
What will the landing page look like?
I often see something like, "Register here for this white paper" with a title and a pithy description. It's always a good practice to give people some details about what they are signing up for: what will the piece tell them and how will it help? If you are connecting your offer to something like a newsletter or an email series, you also need to be explicit about what emails the person is signing up to receive. Here are some more tips on creating an effective landing page.
What information do you want to collect on the form?
It's common knowledge (although not common practice) that your form should only ask for the information you need; every additional field you require decreases the number of people who will register for you offer.
Ardath Albee recently had a great post on her blog Marketing Interactions about designing forms with your prospect in mind. Here's her conclusion, which I think is spot-on: "What if a rule was made that every field of information collected had to be used to generate something valuable for gaining more prospect attention, creating interactions and propelling conversational opportunities?" Yes, the B2B marketng world would be a better place!
Is there a way for people to indicate that they are simply researching?
Ardath calls this out in her post as well, but this is point is so simple and important that it is worth highlighting. There are many people who aren't looking to buy when they download your offer, so let them tell you that - and, even more importantly, keep that in mind when following up.
Will your offer be available for download or will you send it in an email?
Do you want your offer to be downloaded as soon as someone registers for it, or do you want to send it in an email? I always suggest sending the download in an email; check out one of my first posts on Savvy B2B for seven reasons why.
How will you follow up?
As mentioned, this is key. We are all inundated with emails, and many people, including me, delete any follow up emails that don't have a context (i.e. why I am receiving this?) As I was telling my "Savvy Sisters" on one of our recent calls, I'm a purist when it comes to email follow up. I think it is a bad idea to collect names for a rainy day (i.e. whenever you may need them). Rather, I think your purpose needs to be explicitly stated and your emails need to follow a specific plan.
I'd love to know what else you think it important when designing your registration process. Tell me your thoughts below.
- IT Pros Don't Want to Register for Your White Paper
- Eight ThingsYour Prospect Wish You Knew
- Two Non-traditional Approaches to B2B Registration
About the author: Michele Linn is a B2B content strategist who helps companies create content and think through how their B2B prospects will consume it (from registration to promotion). You can follow her on Twitter or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.