Lead Generation Conundrums

    September 6, 2006

Our client list over at Page Zero is varied. One of the ways we can most consistently add value is in custom work driving paid search traffic and helping with site design and copywriting for “complex” sales, such as B2B campaigns with long sales cycles.

The question is, when designing the website, planning the sales strategy, and tweaking landing pages, how *exactly* should one go about it?

The debates can be endless, and it’s good to have principles in hand rather than simply falling back on the “just test it” mantra (which does make sense too).

One approach to getting prospects to trust you (and to offer contact info), of course, is to offer a white paper. Again, though — how to produce it, what tone do you take, how to promote it?

I remember when I produced an ebook (not exactly a white paper, because I charge for it and it doesn’t offer some of the things that white papers do) I was so thankful I could fall back on a resource from someone who’d done it before (in particular, Marcia Yudkin).

Now, I’m thankful again! In the midst of some of these B2B conundrums, I recently read Writing White Papers, by enterprise “B2B” marketing expert Michael Stelzner. The book is amazingly comprehensive, covering every aspect of producing and marketing white papers.

I particularly like the stipulations as to tone; he explains today’s sophisticated enterprise customer wants you to sell to them without being “salesy.” No one minds an intelligent latent sales pitch. But that means paying attention to how much you offer in return for the leads you seek.

Anyway, back to our website design and testing conundrums, I’m looking forward to tapping Mike for ongoing tips to augment our own expertise… expertise he demonstrates in this timely post on his blog, comparing white papers to a “demo” in the world of gaming. Give interested prospects enough to “play with,” and they’ll give up their contact info.

It goes without saying that being extra forthright about how much email contact they’ll receive, in what form, is a big part of the mix. Disclose your intentions fully, and don’t mislead prospects, in order to avoid a bad rap in the industry.

It’s perhaps not coincidental that this type of thinking has found its way into Google’s assessments of Landing Page Quality for AdWords ranking purposes… not all “users” are created equal, but the kind of respect accorded to high-end business customers is also worth offering to B2C customers too.


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Andrew Goodman is Principal of Page Zero Media, a marketing consultancy which focuses on maximizing clients’ paid search marketing campaigns.

In 1999 Andrew co-founded Traffick.com, an acclaimed “guide to portals” which foresaw the rise of trends such as paid search and semantic analysis.