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Partners: Take Down the Barriers to Your Content

How many times have you clicked on a link to download a document that caught your eye, been met with a form, thought, "Never mind, not worth it" and left the page?

Since the dawn of content marketing, there has been an ongoing debate about when, if ever, you should put a form between marketing content and the person with an interest in reading it. A form will obviously reduce the number of downloads, but without a form there is no way to measure your marketing success.

As the technology that supports inbound marketing matures, there are methods that you can use to achieve the best of both worlds.  

Use the Full Power of E-Mail
Last week, I received an e-mail from a partner offering an e-book on a topic of interest to me. I clicked on the link and was taken to a landing page with a form. Why? The most basic e-mail services deliver a report listing the e-mail addresses of the people who clicked on each link. Could it be so important to know that I actually downloaded the e-book to risk losing me?

One explanation could be that the partner only has one landing page for the e-book, which includes the form regardless of the where the visitor comes from. To improve and expand your landing page options, there are several low-cost tools, including Unbounce and LeadPages, that make it easy to set up unique pages.

If you are investing in content development, it may be time to look at a marketing automation platform. Connecting your e-mail and your Web site, plus automating responses to prospect activity, can simplify your marketing efforts. The cost of automation can pay off in both time savings and results.

Use Retargeting To Stay Connected
One alternative to using forms is to use retargeting ads to keep the engagement going. Retargeting is a paid search marketing service that identifies visitors to your Web site and displays ads to them as they visit other sites. We're all familiar with the practice -- look at a pair of shoes on and they follow you around for days. There is no reason that you can't do the same thing.

"Partners are absolutely finding success with retargeting campaigns, but like everything else it takes a strategy. The most successful partners are offering content that follows up an initial download," explained Barb Pfeiffer, senior consultant at The Partner Marketing Group. "The highest ROI is also going to partners who invest in creative imagery and copy in their ads to help them stand out from the clutter. One successful retargeting campaign created a series of ads -- each with an offer addressing a different stage of the sales cycle." 

Pfeiffer recommends working with a reputable SEO/SEM firm to help you build a retargeting strategy that will work to achieve your goals and work within your budget. For a more detailed explanation of retargeting, check out this post on HubSpot.

As to requiring a form to download the content you offer through a retargeting campaign, Pfeiffer said, "It's hard to justify using forms with a retargeting campaign. You're paying to bring people to your site, so setting up a form that decreases the likelihood they will engage has a hard cost."    

Creating your marketing content is just the beginning. Getting that content in the hands of your prospects means staying in front of the latest marketing tactics and technology. If you don't have the internal resources, find an inbound marketing firm to help. There are service providers listed on Microsoft Ready-to-Go to get you started. Summer is coming up, which is a great time of year for partners to work on the block and tackle for your business.

How are you making the most of your marketing content? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.  

Posted by Barb Levisay on April 30, 2015


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