Your web analytics challenge for this week

OK, here it is:

Your challenge for this week is to look at all of the traffic that doesn’t convert. Doesn’t buy. Doesn’t sign up for your newsletter. Doesn’t download the whitepaper you’ve stuck behind a lead form.*

What was the point of those visits? What were those people trying to achieve?

Achieving that goal may never provide an ROI, ever. But I’d be willing to bet that if you helped them achieve it, you’d turn a lot of them into customers. Rather than forcing them down one of your narrow roads, build the path they want.

* There are two ways we can get a dog to sit:

  1. The dog loves and trusts us. We give him treats often, mostly for no reason at all. When we want him to sit, we can lead with the command, and offer a treat as a reward when one is handy.
  2. We are insecure about our relationship with the dog, and aren’t sure if he will sit if we simply ask. We lead with a treat, knowing the dog will be willing to do what we want if we show him the reward first.

Making people fill out a lead form to download something they want to read (industry research, etc., if it’s relevant to your brand, specifically, I think it’s fair) is something I genuinely, deeply hate. It teaches people that your love is conditional, and your brand is self-interested, rather than pouring your affection on the market.

Yes, I understand why this is done. Yes, I understand sales. But it doesn’t change my hatred for this tactic, and I will gladly redistribute your PDF to everyone I know so they don’t have to fill out your stupid form where I put as my email address.

Help me achieve my goal, and you just might make me a customer.

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  1. Evan,

    I’ve been on both sides of this practice and I am going to disagree with your hatred of this. It takes time, money, and resources to created these white papers, case studies, etc. Why is it such a horrible thing to ask folks to provide a little contact information in exchange for this information?

    Everything can’t be free. At the end of the day, some exchange of currency has to take place for the business world to keep spinning.

    Just my 2/5’s of a nickel.


    Posted June 6, 2011 at 8:56 am | Permalink
  2. Totally fine. Like I said, I can completely understand it, but it doesn’t change my hatred. In the end, it will never be an exchange of currency for me, unless it was going to be anyhow (without the lead form). It’s only an exchange of my time and the nuisance of them bothering me on fruitless sales calls. Which is why all of my information that goes into those forms is trash. The practice isn’t going away. But it’s not the way I’d run my business: I have faith that when I help people, it will be rewarded if what I do charge for is of value.

    Clearly, I’m not saying that everything should be free. The world isn’t black and white. It’s liger.

    Posted June 6, 2011 at 9:41 am | Permalink