How to Generate More Leads with Free Downloads from Your Website

A clever client of mine recently tagged “Give More, Get More” as the slogan for his new promotional products website; I thought it an apt choice for both his company and this article. The fact is, people like free stuff. Offering some good free stuff—such as valuable content—for download on your
website, in exchange for the downloader’s contact info, can be an easy and affordable way to generate some leads. At the very least, it can add names to your email marketing list.

What to Offer?

Knowing what to offer depends on knowing your audience and what makes them tick. In the B2B world, an insurance agency might offer “A Guide to Buying Business Insurance” while a residential realtor could provide “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Buying a New Home”—you get the idea. You want to provide content which furthers the prospect along the buying cycle but doesn’t give away the store. Avoid making your content a thinly-veiled promotional piece for the company but do include a call to action, such as contacting your firm for further guidance, more information on a product or service – whatever is fitting.

What to Ask For?

When offering a free download, you will ask the site visitor for some contact info before downloading. It can be as simple as an email address only or as complex as name, address, email, phone, etc. The amount of info you ask for depends on your use of the information. The more info you have, the better, but the less willing site visitors will be to provide it.

If you want to start emailing the downloaders, be sure to ask for permission to do so when gathering the contact info. There are spam laws and you should be sure your IT area knows them and directs you on this. Above all else, make it easy for your visitors to provide their contact info and download. (When a site requires I “register” before a free download, I run the other way—emotionally, that’s too much commitment for me.)

Start Small

If free downloads are new to your company, start small. You may not have time or resources to put together a full-blown buyer’s guide but you could create a list of 10 industry tips.

Track the Results

Now that you have your download in place, track the results. What you are looking for is pretty simple: How many people are downloading and how many are converting to sales? If you have a longer sales cycle, give it a bit more time on the conversion rate. If you notice lackluster download numbers relative to your website traffic volume—change the offer, the content itself or the information you require before the download. But make just one change at time and then retest.

Happy hunting!