A common challenge facing many organizations is determining what content should be generally available to all website visitors and, which content should be behind a form (aka gated content), requiring users to provide information about themselves before being able to access it.
Before you restrict access to your precious content, it is important to determine which assets should be gated. Blogs, webinar, pricing, and “about us” pages generally should be left without a gate to create traffic through SEO and assist with overall web conversions. However, content that underscores your organization’s thought leadership, such as whitepapers, webinars or eBooks, as well as free product trials and demos, should be gated.
Use Gates to Gather Leads
Earning leads (instead of buying them) is a perspective shift still taking root in many organizations.
When done right, you earn lead by compelling those who are truly engaged and interested into starting a conversation with your company about your services. talk. It’s harder because instead of simply focusing on advertising, you must participate across industry conversations by injecting value-based content and your company’s thought leadership.
Taking that thought back to gated content; the challenge is not to determine whether to provide gated content, but in what circumstances putting up a gate makes sense.
That’s why it’s essential to approach your content with the sales funnel in mind. With the right data and marketing automation tools, you can get an accurate model of what kind of content engages your leads during their buying cycle: awareness, evaluation, and purchase.
Gated Content During the Buying Cycle
When a prospect is in the awareness stage they are just beginning to understand the business problem they have that needs addressing. Using gated content can be an important tool to identify quality leads. This might seem counterintuitive because businesses want to generate as much name recognition as possible at this stage. Gates would appear to limit that. However, gates can be an important means to identify quality leads. Therefore, businesses will probably need to provide a mix of gated and ungated information at the awareness stage.
Content meant to target individuals at the evaluation stage is generally educational and addresses how certain problems can be resolved using the product in question. If people are willing to provide personal information to learn more, that signifies that they would be more likely to purchase the product. The gate ensures that the business will only contact people that are predisposed to purchase.
Content that targets individuals at the purchase stage are generally meant to provide customized information specific to the customer. Personal information is required to provide the necessary content and context. Customers are less likely to be hesitant at this stage because they understand why the business needs the information
How to Use Gates
Once you have established a strategy for using your content to generate your leads, the next step is to set up gates in the right way. Here are some steps you should consider to ensure you get the best quality leads.
- Adopt and use marketing automation to track all leads coming through gated content. It will automatically generate reports that establish what’s working and what’s not.
- Consider pairing ungated content with gated content. The ungated content can help establish what the product is and why it might matter to the reader. By linking the ungated content to gated content, the reader might be more likely to fill out the form because they will have a better understanding of what they are getting.
- Minimize the length of the form. A business wants to get the most information they can, but the longer the form, the less likely readers are to complete it. Only ask for the things that are absolutely necessary for a good lead.
Compelling content is essential for qualified prospects to flow through any marketing or sales funnel. As you generate content that compels leads to provide you their information, you can refine your overall engagement strategy.