There’s a standard practice with eBooks and White Papers: in order to access them, you need to submit your name, email address, and maybe even a lot more.
Then with your contact info, a company can market to you: add you to a CRM, put your in an email drip campaign, send you offers, promos, or further product info.
And it makes sense.
After all, a lot of work goes into creating eBooks and White Papers, and the least people can do for all that hard work is to hand over their name and email.
But the problem is, it doesn’t always work.
A company could spend dozens, hundreds, and even thousands of employee hours creating an eBook and once launched may only result in a few leads or sales (which may or may not warrant the time invested).
A lot of it has to do with email fatigue – people are just tired of giving away their email addresses and adding more water to their email firehose.
A lot of it also has to do with the fact that those seeking out things like eBooks and White Papers are simply looking to learn something, or are in the early, information-gathering stage of a buying cycle.
For these people, giving up their name and email is simply asking too much.
So what are the other options besides gating your content, you ask?
Here’s some ideas…
Alternatives to Gating Your Content
Put It Out There… Everywhere
Think of your eBook or White Paper as a way to build awareness, interest, and even possibly links.
That’s what I did with my recent AdWords eBook. I created a landing page that has all the info, and to access it you just need to click a button – no name or email required.
I also uploaded the eBook to Slideshare, added it to my LinkedIn profile and email signature, and uploaded it to a few sites where people search for eBooks.
So far this has helped me get over 2000 views of my eBook, and that doesn’t count people who’ve shared the direct url with others.
Your content is your marketing, and your marketing is your content.
Download with a Share
Instead of asking people for their name and email address, you could simply ask them to help spread the word in order to access it.
There’s tools like Pay with a Tweet, Click to Tweet, or you can simply ask someone to share the page (as I did on my landing page) on the social media platform of their choice.
I like the idea of the download with a share, but it still may be another obstacle to give your reader to overcome, so use with caution.
Ask an Influencer to Help Spread the Word
No matter what your business or what your industry, there exist bloggers or influencers who have the ear of your target audience.
What’s important is to first identify them, and then engage them (for the entire strategy check out the book called Influence Marketing, co-authored by our own Sam Fiorella).
What you don’t want to do is find them, introduce yourself or your brand, and then ask them to help promote your content.
Before you even finish your eBook you should already be engaged with your influencer(s).
Give them an advance copy, ask them to review it, or perhaps they can be interviewed, quoted, or included in the content somehow.
Put an Offer in Your eBook for Something Else
Now that you’ve got a lot of people reading your content, it’s time to try and engage those who are truly in the market for your products or services.
On the front page of my AdWords eBook, I include a teaser about a special offer at the end of the book. It’s for a FREE competitive PPC report and yes, this time if you want that, I’ll require your name, email address, and a few other bits of info.
The key is, make your eBook accessible to anyone, build awareness and links, and if people like what they read, give them an opportunity to engage with your business.