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5 Tips for Structuring an Online Resource Library that Generates More Leads, Supports Sales and Satisfies Customers

by | Oct 13, 2011 | Collateral, Online Mktg. and Copywriting, Lead Generation | 0 comments

Providing content for download on your website is a great way to capture leads and keep customers happy. But only if visitors can find what they’re looking for.

Here are 5 tips for making your online resource library more user-friendly.


1. Create a user-friendly menu

Job 1 when you’re organizing an online resources page, as with any other web page, is to help users find what they’re looking for.

The worst way to do that is with a long list of document titles. They’re overwhelming, intimidating and hard to search through. And besides, not every title tells the whole story.

The best way is with a well-thought-out menu. You’ll want to arrange your resources menu – preferably running down the left side of the page – in categories and subcategories, such that clicking on any subcategory yields a page with a manageable number of document titles and descriptions.

You might divide your menu by industry, and subdivide each industry by solution type, for example. Clicking the “Requirements Simulation” link under “Aerospace” in that menu, then, would bring up a page listing all resources covering your requirements simulation solutions that are applicable to the aerospace industry. Grouping the documents on that page and other such pages by document type – white papers, case studies, how-to guides, etc. – makes it fast and easy for visitors to locate the type of resource they’re looking for.

How you organize your menu will depend upon your situation. Choose whatever makes the most sense for the needs of the majority of your users and the content of your library.


2. Tag your resources and let users search by tag.

Defining your resource library menu forces you to decide what you think will work best for the majority of your visitors. Unfortunately, what works best for the majority, won’t work best for all.

Say you’ve set up your menu by industry and solution type, as in the previous example. That may indeed work best for most of your prospects. But it doesn’t do your salespeople much good if they want to quickly pull together all the available resources, or see all the case studies, for a particular product.

A good solution here is tagging. Tag each of your resources by industry, solution type, product name and/or number, document type… by every category it falls into. Then let users sort your resources by tag – and search on multiple tags – to bring up just the documents they’re interested in. The salesperson in our example would simple search on the product name and “case studies”.

You may need your system administrator to set up a tagging and tag search facility if you don’t already have one on your website. An alternative to tagging, if your product catalog isn’t too large, is to simply extend your menu. Add a secondary menu – perhaps with drop-down menus – allowing users to bring up lists of resources by product type, document type, or other categories.


3. Feature latest releases on your main resource page.

With a good menu and a search facility, you don’t have to list all your resources on one page. So, what do you put on that main resource page?

Why not feature your latest publications? There are three main advantages to doing so.

First, it’s good for your sales team. They can immediately choose from your latest information to keep their sales-ready leads warm.

Second, it’s good for returning visitors. Customers see all your latest support materials at a glance.

And third, it’s good for lead generation. Advertise your latest success stories and thought leadership pieces on that main resources page, so they’re right there when a visitor clicks on the resources tab of your main menu. Include links to landing pages where prospects can find out more. You’ll increase your conversion rates.


4. Provide ample description before registration.

When KnowledgeStorm and Marketing Sherpa asked technology buyers [i] how much the amount of detail in the overview factored into their decision to register for online content, 72% of called it a major factor. And 74% of those technology buyers wanted to see “at least a paragraph or more” of overview before deciding whether or not to register.

That’s proof you shouldn’t rely on a catchy title alone to lure prospects to download your content. It’s also another good reason to break your library down by categories: Fewer documents per page gives you more room for descriptions.


5. Keep your registration forms short.

If you want your resource library to capture leads, you have to require registration. But bear in mind, every piece of personal information you ask for gives prospects one more reason to question whether they need your document. So ask only for the data you really need.

“In most cases, the information required for initial registration should be no more than name, company, e-mail address, phone number, and zip code (for lead assignment purposes)”, says Howard Sewell, President of Spear Marketing Group, in his blog The Point [ii]. “If there’s some other absolutely vital qualifying data – for example, the person MUST have Microsoft Exchange installed or there’s nothing you can do for them – then ask that too, but stop there.”

Online registration is a balancing act. If you don’t register users, you won’t capture leads. But if you’re trying to fully qualify those leads during the registration process, you’ll severely lower your conversion rate.

Lead-generation expert Mac MacIntosh sums it up this way: “Requiring registration does reduce the number of people who take an action, but if your objective is to generate leads, registration is essential. The trick is to only ask enough of the right questions to avoid more prospects bailing out during registration.”


Take-away points

Remember these five tips when it comes time to upgrade your online resource library:

1. Create a user-friendly menu.

2. Tag your resources and let users search by tag.

3. Feature your latest publications on your main resource page.

4. Provide an ample description of the document before registration.

5. Keep your registration forms short.


Need some outside help writing content like white papers, case studies or articles to add to your resource library or for your next lead-gen campaign? Or maybe a landing page to convert more of your visitors into leads? Call me at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or send an email to


[i] KnowledgeStorm, Marketing Sherpa, Connecting Through Content Survey, Issue 2: Content Distribution – Where Information Intersects with Demand, May 2007.

[ii] Sewell, Howard J., Should You Require Registration for Web Content?, Spear Marketing Group, September 2008.

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