A few years ago, the company I was working for was creating some industry trends and guides for a campaign we were launching. The pieces were beautiful and insightful. These pieces would be offered as “free lead magnets” for social and display ads. I told our Marketing Director we should charge $50 for them. She never responded.
I stil stand by the recommendation and I would still love to test this today. I have no doubt that the amount of leads generated would fall tremendously but I am also willing to bet that those willing to pay are much more likely to be interested in buying from you. You’ve already primed them to pay you for quality.
I think a great use for this would be webinars. Webinar attendance rates are pretty dismal. I register for webinars all the time but hardly ever attend, including on demand. If I had to pay for the webinar I would be much more selective in what I choose and would be certain to be highly interested in the content. I would definitely show up too. How many people do you know pay for a conference pass and then not go? I’m guessing not many. Of course for many marketing teams, putting out a quality webinar is secondary to generating leads. Sure you want people to find the content useful but what you really want is for them to attend so you can move them down the funnel.
Like so many things in marketing, content has become table stakes and we focus so much on what we want out of it and we don’t focus nearly enough on the value we are producing. Even if you aren’t planning on charging for your content, I think you should ask yourself if people would be willing to pay for your content? If your content isn’t worth charging money for, then why create it in the first place?