Remove Forced Mailing List & Sales Funnel Sign Ups From White Paper Downloads

Posted By Debbie on October 30, 2018

I want to encourage everybody to stop doing this before I can download your white paper. It’s not user-centered. Nearly zero people WANT to be on your mailing list or get contacted by your sales team, which have to be the only reasons you’ve put up this obstacle.
“I hope this company delays me reading their document so that I can fill out a form and end up on their mailing list or among their sales leads!” said no-one ever.

Which best describes me? Is, “Frustrated,” a choice? How can you help me? Just let me download this thing without requiring me to do the opposite of what I want to do here.

Work phone and comments are the only optional fields. You will have to fill out the rest of the fields to download this.

And this was a white paper on digital customer experience.

That’s right! The people who want to tell you about digital customer experience first want you to jump through a hoop that isn’t customer-centric at all. It requires the customer to do something nearly zero customers ever want to do on a website.

How about the first digital customer experience trend for 2019 be that we really start valuing the users and designing for them. That means no more popups, interruptions, or obstacles where they are not helping users accomplish tasks.

Create a white paper that is so good that after reading it, I come back to your website and WANT to be on your mailing list.

As a UX expert, I’d like to see someone writing about digital customer experience walking the walk. You get digital customer experience? You’re the expert putting out the white paper? Then you know this form shouldn’t be here OR should be optional (and should be shorter).

If your white papers are great, I will come back to read them again and again. I’ll subscribe to your mailing list willingly because I trust you’ll provide great content and treat my information respectfully.

Let’s imagine what happens if you just gave me the white paper, it’s awesome, and you didn’t need my info.

Your white paper is awesome. I tell EVERYBODY. I post to LinkedIn, “Hey, [company] has this great report. You should check it out!”
I tell my manager (if I have one). I share it with colleagues. They tell people and so on and so on and so on.

Free buzz and organic word-of-mouth can be more than worth it.

People are talking about your company and what did it cost you? Marketing people know that buzz is a lot of free or nearly-free press. And if the quality of the white paper is good, the buzz should be good. Maybe the next time I need [whatever your company does], I’m thinking of you because that white paper was that good.

Other options?

I’m giving you FAKE information to download this. That wastes my time filling out the form and accomplishes ZERO marketing goals. You have a mailing list subscriber who won’t open the newsletter. That helps your mailing list stats look lower. Add fake addresses or uninterested people and you will see unsubscribes and lower percentages that open your emails.

Or I choose to not download this, as I did here. Someone I trust recommended that I read this. She linked it to me twice. And both times I decided I didn’t want to fill this out and end up getting sales calls or emails.

Along with “join our mailing list” popups, white paper obstacles should go away.