By Kevin Gault
When marketers offer access to white papers on landing pages, they hope that people who download them are qualified sales leads. But because readers often put limited, inaccurate data on registration forms, this type of marketing can be a waste of time and money.
If the reader scans a few pages of a white paper and decides he’s not interested in the topic, the marketer is left with personal data that’s essentially useless. But there’s a new technology that can prevent this from happening.
It’s called “in-document forms” and, combined with a new way of analyzing data provided by readers, it departs from the current trend of using a long list of registration questions to generate sales leads.
Lack of Qualified Leads
“The registration forms that marketers use on landing pages rarely generate qualified sales leads,” says Pat Weilmeier, Director of Marketing and Communications for Docmetrics (www.docmetrics.com), a web-based application from Vitrium Systems that lets marketers embed in-document forms in PDFs, collects data on how people engage in white-paper content and generates real-time reports.
“Leads obtained with these methods aren’t providing the information that marketers really need. With web registration forms, you have no visibility of the reader after the white paper is downloaded. In fact, once the reader gets the PDF of the document, the marketer doesn’t even know if they’ve opened it.”
Sales reps can become frustrated with these “leads” because when they follow up, many people they contact didn’t open the white paper, haven’t read it, or aren’t interested in the product.
A Different Approach
A white paper configured with in-document forms takes a different approach:
* Instead of making readers fill out a long registration form, they can download the document without registering.
* After reading a few pages of a white paper, the reader comes to a page with a few registration questions. Answering the questions gives him or her access to more pages. This pattern continues throughout the document.
* As the reader fills in his or her brief responses, the data is relayed to a company (such as Docmetrics) that sends detailed, real-time reports about readers to the marketer.
“This system gives the marketer data as the reader is engaged in the content of the paper,” adds Weilmeier, “and when a reader passes the document to other people in the company, the system provides data on those people as well.
“Also, the data is very specific. It tells the marketer if the reader read the entire document or only part of it. It tells whether he stopped at a certain page for while or moved quickly through the document and it tells the total time he spent reading it.”
The data that marketers get from in-document forms helps them decide on the length and content of white papers and which combinations of copy and graphics appeal to readers most.
In-document forms and the data they provide give white paper marketers these important benefits:
* Marketers get data on how people “consume” content as opposed to limited information from landing-page registration forms.
* The fact that marketers can survey readers in real time as they read a white paper provides richer, more accurate information.
* Data received from reader behavior allows marketers to optimize the content and formatting of their white papers.
In-document forms work because they create a fair exchange of value. As a reader receives value from the content of the paper, she’s willing to give value to the marketer by providing accurate, helpful answers to questions.
The bottom line for marketers: A much better chance of getting highly qualified sales leads.