Tag Archives: white papers

Boost conversions with simple registration changes

The thought of testing big new campaign strategies may be as scary to businesses as an eight year old watching “Friday the 13th” – both can give you nightmares.

Instead of sticking their neck out with a new marketing idea right now, many companies are switching the focus to improving successful tactics that have lived up to their investment year after year.

The content registration form is one of those most proven tactics – and it’s a place where simple changes can make a big difference in your conversion rates.

The gurus at Marketing Sherpa recently dug through all of their best past case studies and B2B marketing research to find the most effective registration form tweaks that deliver the best results.

Here are some of the most simple ways B2B marketers have improved conversion rates of their registration forms:

Keeping it short. Long registration forms = higher abandon rates. Yes, you want to get as much information as possible, but you could be scaring prospects away with your long form. Instead, focus the questions on the information that’s most essential. Keep it basic, but add a follow-up communication strategy to collect more data once the prospect shows added interest.

Make it voluntary. Give prospects the information they want, whether it’s a product demo or white paper, then ask them for personal information. Strategically positioning voluntary registration forms alongside online demonstrations, and telling visitors that it was voluntary, has the potential to deliver “impressive” conversion rates.

Use secondary offers carefully. It’s usually best to limit landing pages to a single call to action, but in some cases, giving prospects a second option can boost conversions. If prospects aren’t ready to give you all of their contact information, but have the option to download a white paper, for instance, it could significantly improve your conversions.

Pre-populated fields work. If you have the advantage of knowing some of the prospect’s key information, pre-populate fields on the registration form to make it easier for them. One company found an almost 95% conversion rate increase after they started using pre-populated fields.

Take the “reset” button out. “Reset” or “clear form” buttons are a lingering, old-fashioned registration form trend that has worn out its welcome. You don’t want prospects to make it to the end of the form and accidentally hit “reset” instead of “submit.” Chances are, they’ll leave your site before the go back and fill in everything again.

What other tips do you have for improving registration form conversions? Please leave a comment and share what works for your company.

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B2B’s bread and butter: The white paper

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

White papers, B2B's bread and butter

InformationWeek recently released an insightful report on how to maximize the power of white papers in B2B marketing.

Researchers surveyed 542 IT decision makers and how they use white papers. The survey results show that white papers are still considered an important tool in persuading and engaging customer decisions.

You’ll have to register with InformationWeek to download a full copy of the report, but here are some highlights:

  • 76% of respondents use white papers for general education on a specific technology topic or issue
  • 74% percent use white papers to investigate possible technology solutions
  • 83% use white papers just as much or more than they have in the past
  • 93% pass along information they find in downloaded white papers to colleagues

While the survey dealt specifically with IT buyers, the results of the survey are easily translated across all areas of business to business marketing.

The survey also asked for feedback on what readers want from white papers, information that anyone within the IT industry or not can put to good use. Respondents revealed the top features of a good white paper include:

  • A concise abstract
  • Transparency/minimal marketing
  • Case studies
  • Product information with specifications
  • Technical diagrams
  • Downloadable PDF version

Survey respondents also revealed some eye-opening statistics on the impact white papers have on readers. Among the survey respondents:

  • 54% contacted a vendor for more information as a result of reading a white paper
  • 36% made a purchase after reading a white paper
  • 32% included a white paper in a case to support a purchase.

As new media struggles to show its growing value, the tried-and-true methods like business to business white papers prove that they still can have powerful results.

Online marketing content ranks high with buyers

White papers … they’ve still got it going on, if you know what I mean.

A recent study by TechTarget revealed that white papers are still king among buyers. Their Media Consumption Benchmark Report dispelled any questions surrounding white papers and if they still have any pull as a marketing tool.

While TechTarget serves the high-tech market and the results should be examined in that context, many of the main points can be helpful in other markets including the HR technology industry.

Michael Stelzner, author of Writing White Papers, recently highlighted the key findings of the 47-page report on his blog. Here’s how  buyers view white papers:

  • To evaluate a solution, people turn to white papers first. More than half of respondents rely on white papers more than newsletters (51%), trials (46%), product literature (41%),  articles (38%), webcasts (48%), case studies (26%), podcasts (9%) and virtual trade shows (8%).
  • Buyers frequently read white papers: 52% of buyers read an average of 5 or more white papers in a three month period. Buyers consume more white papers than any other type of media available.
  • What buyers don’t like about white papers: that they’re too product focused or too long.
  • The majority (80%) of buyers view white papers as an effective source in the decision making process, more than any other marketing tool.
  • White papers come in above all other marketing forms for gaining awareness and consideration among buyers. Almost half of buyers (47%) use white papers to gain awareness and 36% use them when considering a solution.
  • Buyers like to share white papers. White papers are the most forwarded material among buyers, as 42% either frequently or very frequently forward white papers to colleagues and friends.

The report is hard evidence that buyers value content that helps them solve problems and are more inclined to engage with your brand when they find that content helpful.

For more information on the power of white papers and content marketing, read these related posts:

Have White Papers lost their value?

What makes a White Paper valuable? Jonathan Goodman of the HRmarketer.com blog recently asked that exact question (via LinkedIN Answers) in the “Hiring and Human Resources” category.

Answers rolled in, not all from HR professionals, but a variety of “industry folks” voicing their opinion on the topic.

Here are a few outstanding quotes:

“The value of vendor white papers to HR officials is inversely proportional to the amount of vendor promotion in the white paper.”

“The pros will be exaggerated and cons will be omitted. The bias never goes away in any white paper…I always feel that I am told half truth.”

“White Papers are only valuable if they contain information that is otherwise very hard to find.”

“I believe that, white paper[s] should never be written just for the sake of writing but always for the sake of answering somebody’s query or dilemma.”

You can read all of the answers on the LinkedIN Answers page.

The conclusion – most professionals read White Papers with skepticism, asking “What are they trying to sell me?” in the back of their minds. But, the responses also show that White Papers still hold communication value, especially on the Web.

Through experience, Goodman advises to take pride in everything you publish. He also reminds us that credibility is something we earn from our readers and their trust should never be taken advantage of.