Do you need your prospect’s contact information?

It’s an old argument, and one which doesn’t show any sign of being resolved, but it’s always worth revisiting “should I demand contact details in return for marketing information?” I’ve recently been involved with a Google AdWords client in engineering components, who was paying £750 a month to send 500 people through to a page advertising one of his products and offering a nice background guide to the technology. About 50 people a month (10%) were entering their contact details in order to be emailed the guide. So it was costing the company about £15 a time to get an email address of an early-stage prospect. That was considered great value, and the campaign had been running largely unchanged for over a year. Prior to using Google AdWords, the client had been spending the same money each month on two quarter-page advertisements in magazines, and was happy to get 10 requests for information from these, working out at £50 to £100 a time.

But what about the other 450 people who were interested enough to click on a Google AdWords advert, but who decided not to send for the nice background guide? How many of these were lost prospects? The company decided to find out, by changing the offer to “click here to download the guide”. Now there’d be no reason for anyone not to download it! The result was an instant five-fold increase in the number of downloads, from 10% of visitors to over 50%. (You might ask why it wasn’t 100%, given that the visitor had deliberately clicked through from an advert describing the offer, but that’s advertising!)

So the next question was: would we rather have 50 identified individuals downloading the guide, or 250 unidentified ones? That’s a big question. To help with its decision, the company intends to put some nicely tagged links in the document to count the numbers clicking through to its website, but it’s still going to be a subjective decision. I would say that the earlier you are in the buying cycle (this particular guide was a technology primer, so it was pretty early on), the more it’s about numbers. The later you are in the buying cycle, the more it’s about names and contact details. Another Google AdWords advertising campaign we’re running at the moment, for a different client, is sending people through to a page where they can directly request a sales call. That’s as “late stage” as it comes! The company concerned gets only 3 or 4 requests a month from this for £1000, but the leads are so “hot” that it considers the exercise to be the best value it’s undertaken, ever.

Whatever medium you’re using for your advertising, it always pays to consider carefully what you want to get out of it. And of course, measure everything.

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