When I was at Uni there was always “that class”. It was the class with the interesting name like “Sex and Politics” but was really about obscure French theory and the heterogenity of Southern Pacific political parties in the pre-war period.
That’s right, boring!!
I had the same experience the other day when I downloaded an eBook.
It made my blood boil that I had provided my contact information on the promise of receiving something really interesting and useful.
Sadly, it was neither.
Having been disappointed how likely am I to buying the service?
I subscribe to a lot of Internet marketing type, SEO, ecommerce and related services and cannot open my email without being assaulted by emails promising 3 Quick Tips, The 7 Rules Of Engagement and Make Her Big Happy.
The last email I expect. It is clearly spam and I know to ignore it (for now).
What frustrates me is the profusion of guides and white-papers that are really spam masquerading as something useful; kinda like how KFC masquerades as corn fed organic free-range chicken.
I have decided to call it Spamducation.
The problem is that the core goal for many white-papers and guides is not informing and engaging buyers, it is generating leads. This leads to compelling headlines and disappointing content written by amateurs or second-rate copywriters.
What would be great is actionable or useful information that cannot be easily found in a Google search. Without that the eBook business is really just a cynical lead generation exercise.
So before you write a guide or white paper to generate leads consider the following:
Are you qualified?
Do you know enough about what you are writing about? If not then find someone who does. Your brand will be damaged by inaccurate information and your customers will lose trust.
Is the topic right for your buyers?
Knowing what you know about your customers, is the topic relevant?
How does it relate to their tasks and objectives in relation to your products and services?
If it is relevant then write your guide or white-paper. If not, you need to start again.
Is it really valuable for your buyers?
Are you presenting old information in a new way, new information in a new way, or old information in an old way?
What problem are you solving? If what you’re doing is the same old stuff then stop and start again.
Is it annoying?
Your education should have actionable information so your customer can say:
“Wow! I have that exact problem and now I have a clear pathway to solving it.”
Is it lazy?
Finding information using search engines like Google is easy. So much so, that I can do a little research and trot out a plagiarised eBook, learning guide or quick tips document.
This is just lazy and purposeful plagiarism is plain wrong. If your document is inspired by someone then at least credit them. They may have worked hard and deserve some recognition.
Your education should also be unique to your customers and their place in your behavioural model. There is little point offering information about building a space ship if your customers are yet to master basic thermal dynamics.
Do you really need that email address?
This might make some marketing folks turn pale, but do you really need to collect contact information before offering the eBook download?
If the information is engaging and exciting then you will have built credibility and trust with your buyer and they will be more likely to call or email you when they’re ready to purchase.
Education tools like eBooks are a great way to build credibility with your audience, so don’t burn that trust with spamducation.
It’s corny, but I gotta do it:
“educate don’t spamducate”.