The Death of the Free Report (and the eBook)

Note: This post was archived from the Infusionsoft Blog. More details here.

Light BulbI have a problem with marketers only offering free reports and eBooks for their lead capture. You see, thousands of business owners out there toss up a Website because they think if you have a website you’ll make money on the Web automatically.  Anyone who’s spent any time marketing on the web know that’s far from the truth.  A website does absolutely no good unless you’re capturing sales or leads from the traffic. Eventually, Web Forms were born.  Then we saw newsletter opt-ins everywhere.  (I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want in my inbox is another newsletter.)

Later, people wisened up and realized that you have to actually provide value if you want people to fill out your forms.  So, free reports and ebooks were born.  Now, don’t get me wrong – ebooks and free reports can be great.  But, everyone is using them.  Truthfully, I’m just tired of them. My criticism goes with constructive suggestions and tips to help fellow marketers.

Free eBooks and reports are not unique. They’re losing value because everyone is doing it. They’re not the cool thing anymore.

Ok, so maybe we’ve propagated this problem a little bit.  Actually, I know we have.

I understand I’m might be a little hypocritical here.  I recently released an eBook one of my own sites.  Here at Infusionsoft, we’ve grown our business through eBooks and  free reports. They can do wonders when planned and used with a number of lead capturing methods.

But, what I’m arguing here is that there are countless ways to creatively capture leads without offering the standard free report.

I’ll list a few lead capturing techniques that come to mind.  But, I’d love for our blog readers to comment and add to the list.  Let’s kill the boring free reports by creating a HUGE list of creative ways to capture leads.

14 Ways to Capture Leads on Websites

  1. Surveys
  2. Free Trials
  3. Podcast
  4. Audio download
  5. Subscribe to RSS Feed
  6. Access Cool Videos
  7. Get a Quote
  8. eCards
  9. Contests or Drawings
  10. Coupons
  11. Special Offers
  12. Access Top Secret Info
  13. Webinar
  14. Teleseminar
  15. Live Event Registration

There are certainly a bunch of industry specific things you could do.  Photographers could offer access to a “secret portfolio”.  Web designers could offer a free website assessment.  Lawyers could offer a free 15 minute consult. Social media professionals could offer an assessment. You get the idea.

What creative ideas do you have for lead capture?

[Photo byjohnmarchan on Flickr]

About Tyler Garns

Tyler Garns is best known for his work as the Director and VP of Marketing at Infusionsoft, where he led the marketing efforts that produced massive results between 2007 and 2012. But he’s also been the “go-to” Infusionsoft guy for many of the top marketers and Infusionsoft users out there. His combination of technical skill, Infusionsoft expertise, and marketing experience make him one of the most reliable sources of business breakthroughs for Infusionsoft customers.

9 thoughts on “The Death of the Free Report (and the eBook)”

  1. Awesome post…and I could not agree more. I think you have to get creative and offer something of value that reflects your Unique Selling Proposition and creates raving fans.

    I am having my clients offer new and creative value items such as awesome recipes from a Health Coaching site and video tutorials from a Golf fitness site.

    Thanks for keeping us thinking outside the box!


  2. One angle I've found helpful to expand my thinking in this area is to consider angles not directly associated with what _you_ do/sell/offer, but which are things that your prospects/clients/customers (or notable subsets of them) are likely to also be interested in/in need of/concerned about. For example, if you sell a widget to doctors… what else are your doctors (prospects) likely to be interested in learning about, fixing, etc. It's okay if you can't personally (or your organization can't) provide the expertise in these other areas… you just need to be willing to do your homework to find the best sources. It's okay to provide content from other trusted sources. You'll get mucho credit as the thoughtful messenger. The neat thing about this approach is that there are lots more possibilities for how you can approach your prospects, directly and indirectly. You'll be a hero for being informative, helpful, etc.


  3. I love it! We have been looking for ways to expand our opt-in list and this makes much more sense as it's something with more perceived value. We have plenty of other things to offer people who sign up and your article came at a great time.

  4. I love it! We have been looking for ways to expand our opt-in list and this makes much more sense as it's something with more perceived value. We have plenty of other things to offer people who sign up and your article came at a great time.

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