Dear marketing platforms, tech solutions and researchers: Please think twice about publishing a whitepaper or ebooks. I think most of them are an absolute waste of your time to produce, since most will reach an audience of no one.
OK, that may be a bit harsh. But let’s be honest: When was the last time you received and actually read a useful whitepaper from anyone?
Please tally the number of emails that offer you whitepapers. Next calculate your ratio of receiving these offers vs. actually downloading AND reading? Mine is 17 offers, 2 downloads, 0 satisfaction for the first 17 days of the year (the two I did download were complete duds that were glorified ads and offered no useful data points or insights whatsoever).
And while we are at it, I equally detest the cheery templated follow-up email: “Hey Maarten, thanks for downloading our whitepaper. Can we coordinate some time to chat about implementing [insert business here] some time this week?”
“Click to receive our success-guaranteed template to create your own, professional looking word clouds or infographics.” Or worse: “our free templates to create your own social media placements” (insert cat photo here, insert clickbait headline here, etc.). As with the whitepapers, most if not all of these templates are missing the mark. They are way too simplistic, generic and (mostly) awful looking for any brand or company to use. And if you are hustling these types of solutions to small and mid-sized companies, then why are you targeting the likes of me?
“Free analytics! Send us your social media handles and we will provide you with a free analysis of how bad you are doing and how much we can improve your likes, shares, clicks, fans and followers.” First of all: What the hell? Why do I need to give you my handles when a simple Google search would have given you all my public handles to begin with? And then some of those yoyos ask me to share my secure details for any of my business platforms. I am sorry, but unless I get hit by lightning or fall on my head today and lose my marbles, I will not send you anything, thank you very much.
Qualified leads quandary
If you think that reaching me with any of the offers listed above is a showcase of your lead-generation awesomeness, think again. In my book, you have just proven the exact opposite of your abilities (mouse moves to delete; click; gone!).
I hear you thinking that if none of these approaches actually work, then why are they still being used? Because sending templates, whitepapers and other supposedly free
stuff to make your business better is lazy template marketing in its own right.
It is offered by platforms and agencies that survive on volume. They are only interested in drive-by marketing. They are not in it to foster long-lasting relationship, but only interested in the sell.
Sorry if I insulted you if you’re one of these folks. Just prove me wrong.