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Free content vs email registration requirement, which is better?

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Interview with Direct Response Specialist (DRS) and Social Media Executive (SME)

DRS: Well this is not even a fair debate. When providing free content, how are you supposed to track sales leads? How do know who is downloading your free papers, reports or whatever? Don’t you know that one of the most valuable tools a company can have is their database of current and potential customers? Free content, well that is just plain dumb.

(Social Media Executive is loosening up his tie a bit and rolling up his sleeves).

Moderator: SME, what do you think about what DRS just said?

(SME takes a deep breathe and leans forward towards me, but with his eyes directed to DRS)

SME: Listen, we can have a debate and voice our opinions, but there is no need for any kind of name calling. Otherwise we can just take the debate outside.

(Quickly the Moderator speaks)

Moderator: Gentlemen, gentlemen, let’s just calm down a bit and take it easy. There is no need to go outside.

SME: I apologize, I was out-of-order and I am very embarrassed.

DRS: Ah don’t worry about it. It’s easy to understand why an idiot who knows nothing about marketing would say those kinds of things.

(Fight breaks out, debate is over)

We have an interesting debate here – should you offer your content for free without requiring any kind of registration like an email or phone number or the opposite?

The Social Media Executive did not even get a chance to voice his argument, but we can imagine that he would probably say that by giving away your content for free, more people would consume it and spread it around. Making registration a requirement will undoubtedly reduce the number of could potentially download your product.

In my opinion, I think they are both right. I noticed that once I began offering free marketing data analysis tutorials on my site, there were substantially more downloads for free content than there were for my newsletters (newsletter material are different from my tutorials) which required a name and email registration. So my suggestion is to use both methods. Why not?

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