Then again, maybe I won't download your eBook after all hot shot

Ed Marsh | Sep 4, 2014

Really?  Are you serious?

What follows is the redacted text of an email I received in response to my registering recently to receive blog articles by email.
"You have successfully joined our newsletter. 

Download Link: redacted 

Terms and Conditions for the redacted eBook 

Clients downloading the redacted eBook are granted a non-transferable license to access and use the eBook for personal reference and informational purposes subject to the following:
  • The Client shall not move, copy, reproduce, network or otherwise transfer any eBook file to any computer or other device of any other person;
  • The eBook must be downloaded within 12 hours from the time the email for downloading is received;
  • The Client is permitted to download one (1) copy of the eBook;
  • The Client shall not move, copy, reproduce, network or otherwise transfer any eBook file to any computer, t ablet [sic] or other device of any other person; 
  • The Client shall not make alterations to, or modifications of, the whole or any part of the eBook, nor permit the eBook or any part of it to be combined with, or become incorporated in, any other document; and
  • The Client shall not share, lease, loan, rent, sell, license, sublicense, transfer, network, reproduce, display, distribute, translate or otherwise make any of the eBook available to any other person. 
Access to redacted’s eBooks is granted on an individual user basis. If these Terms are violated the Client’s right to use the eBook will be terminated immediately. In the event of termination, the Client must destroy the original and all copies of the eBook. Redacted reserves the right to seek and may pursue all legal remedies for any infringement of copyrighted materials."

And it started out so well - social media straight through conversion

legal_barriers_to_B2B_content_marketing

This seems wrong, or at least really odd, on lots of levels:

  • I signed up for a blog subscription (which they confirmed in the first line), not an eBook
  • I'm not a client - this download was from a public page on their site
  • I can't share it?  Isn't that content marketing nirvana?
  • 12 hour window?  Seriously?
  • 'alterations' to your eBook?  Not to worry.  Did you really think I would even actually download it after seeing this?
What's really a shame about it is that just by chance I stumbled across the company's website as a result of an interesting tweet on a subject of interest.  Turns out they have a pretty strong digital marketing approach - one that makes them unique (as far as I know) among companies in their space.

Everything seemed perfect - Twitter actually drove interested traffic to a site about manufacturing business valuation (not exactly a sexy B2C topic) and the site held my attention across about 10 pages and 10 minutes - finally resulting in a conversion.

And then this disappointment.

Important B2B Marketing Lessons

How does this apply to your activities?  After all, you're not some kind of control freak who's going to create great content and then discourage people from using it, much less sharing it.

This company couldn't have created the volume of multi channel content they did without some talented, empathetic and strategic minded folks driving and contributing to the program.

They did lots of stuff well - including even using social media effectively for this very unique area of expertise to rise above the noise.

But somewhere, some bureaucrat got involved and created this absurd form email.  And sadly, perhaps not knowing or thinking they could just pick their fights, the folks that did the great work acceded to this absurdity.

And you ask, isn't it just a small point?  It worked, didn't it?  

NO.  A typo is a small point.  But content marketing and lead nurturing (in this space it's often a 3-5 year buying cycle) entails a journey.  When that journey is disrupted, the value of the conversion is lost.

Needless to say this email didn't just interrupt my journey, it resulted in a full on crash with air bag deployment.

Don't squander your results.  Bought into the concept of content marketing but need some business grade advisory on how to optimize it?  Let's talk.

image - HuffPost 

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