Gated content marketing is incredibly popular with businesses of many shapes and sizes. Entrepreneurs have put it to use on everything from blogs to ebooks and even infographics. Have you ever wondered what is gated content marketing? And whether or not you should incorporate it in your business?
Content marketing is not just about creating relevant, engaging, and marketable content. The key to content marketing success is to efficiently distribute your content and gain customer insights using engaging content that helps to push the customer through various customer journeys. For efficient conversion and lead generation, creating gated content is essential. Did you know that almost 80% of B2B content marketing assets are gated according to gated content statistics by Scoop.it?
However, the critical question is, when should content be gated? And what is the best content for the gated approach? In this blog, we will touch upon both the content approaches to discover when to use what!
Here is an example of gated content:
Understanding gated and non-gated content
Before we move on to understand how gated content is used for generating leads and revenue, let us first understand what gated content is.
What is gated content?
Gated content is the strategy to provide your best-selling content only after the user has performed a specific action. For example, the content can be available once the user has shared their email address or made a payment for the access. Special-access content can also be a form of gated content. You are compelling users to follow your brand or pay for a membership to access highly personalized and valuable content.
Typical forms of gated content include:
- Valuable blogs or thought-leadership content
What is non-gated content?
When your content is freely available, i.e., the user does not need to do anything to access it; it is open-access content or ungated content. Content is the base of every website, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), and the overall digital marketing approach, making it vital for brands to efficiently leverage their content marketing approach.
Non-gated content can be:
- Website Pages
- YouTube Videos
Benefits of gating your content
As you can see, gated and ungated content have different approaches. Content marketers need to utilize both options properly to ensure high success. When it comes to gated content, the ideal approach for this strategy is to:
Gain qualified leads
Gated content will attract qualified leads. A customer who will make an effort to fill the form would be genuinely interested in knowing whether the product or service is providing them with the solution to their problem or not. Quality over quantity is given more importance here.
By getting relevant details about the leads that accessed the content, companies can better understand the customers’ needs. It will be easy for them to retarget and nurture this lead into a long-term relationship.
When customers access gated content, especially one they have to pay for, it shows that the content is valuable to them. It means they trust the brand, hold the company in high regard, and consider the company as a thought leader in its field.
When should you be gating your content?
Although gated content may seem off-putting, especially when the user is not aware of the brand, several organizations are leveraging it optimally. When you are looking to generate leads and gain access to your audience’s information, gated content is what you should be focusing on. Some of the reasons for choosing the gated content approach are:
When your content is too valuable to be given for free
Content quality is one of the prime reasons your audience will trust you, and if the content you are offering has a high interest, users are willing to share details or even pay to gain access to it. The ultimate test is to use it wisely since they need to get enough information on the landing page that helps to get them interested in taking the next step.
Gated content has more authority and requires a more profound knowledge of the subject. Since your readers share personal details or even pay to gain access to your content, it has to be highly valuable and requires expert insights that the reader will be interested in.
When you are looking to generate leads for your company
The key reason for opting for gated content is to gain access to your website visitors’ personal information. If you are heavily into personalized marketing, gated content is the doorway for your strategy. It needs to be value-driven to ensure that the customers do not feel they are being oversold.
Websites often give access to their best content only after customers share their email or phone number, which allows your sales teams to use a targeted marketing approach to convert the lead. While getting the lead information is vital, the next steps will determine whether you can nurture your leads. Sending a customary thank you email with the link to the content is the first step. To nurture and convert the lead takes strategic relationship-building.
When the conversion is more important than visitors
Another critical reason for having gated content is when you are creating content for a specific purpose. For several brands, the blog section is where content is created for impressing audiences of diverse groups. Meanwhile, for industry-specific, highly personalized, and high-value content, the audience will require to go through a gated approach. This means most of your high-value content, which could gain high visitors to your website, is off-limits for free viewing.
This strategy works best for product or service companies with a niche audience and only wants to engage with the relevant target group. However, if your brand caters to a wider range of audiences, it is suggested to focus more on providing freely accessible content.
When the objective is to propel user action
While gated content may not help a lot with SEO, it can help propel the next step. In several cases, despite having highly engaging content, the user may drop out without any engagement on your page due to a lack of a proper Call To Action (CTA). Several brands leverage the combination of enticing and attention-grabbing open access content while providing a CTA to get access to more information only after the reader has acted upon the CTA.
Getting user interaction on the page helps not just in gaining access to user information, but it can even lower bounce rates for your page, which helps with your website’s SEO. Relevance is vital for this approach, and it will help differentiate the interested audience from the others.
Final thoughts: Gate, but with caution
The modern era of information is freely accessible to a vast repository to help users gain knowledge on several topics. To an audience that is used to getting free access, gating content should be practiced with caution and proper planning. Sharing email or personal details requires content marketers to build trust and provide the right levers for the audience to want to know more.
Your best, most valuable content should use the gated approach to gain customer details and nurture this lead with relevant information. However, do it too early, and your promising customer may never read your valuable content. The ideal approach is to get your audience interested and then gate the content so they would want to take the next step. A combination of both types of content is an ideal mix for your content marketing strategy. So make the best of both worlds.
We believe by now you have gotten your answers to what is content marketing and how to effectively implement it in your business?
However, still there are some key points to keep in mind while implementing gated content marketing strategies in your business. For example:
- Offer valuable content
- Avoid the spin-factory
- Have SEO friendly content
- Use headlines that get people to click through
- Have call to action (CTA) on the page
- Focus on the quality of the gated content, not the quantity!
- Try it out, more often
Gated content marketing is a lead generation method in which you present a value proposition that offers your audience something of value before asking for their contact information and permission to have future communication.
For example, people might be asked to take an email subscription before gaining access to an article or other resource. Or they might be asked to download a free piece of software or view a video demonstration before accessing the information on a site.
Gating is used in online marketing and advertising when the user must pass a gate to reach a goal. In other words, to win your desired prize, you must qualify and complete specific tasks.
For example, a marketing strategy might be to use a free trial of a product with account creation, required questions, and section completion or survey to prove interest in the solution.
Once the users have signed up for a membership or email newsletter after gating their interest level and completing the validation process, they will likely complete other desired sections such as creating an account profile, learning more about the product or services of interest, etc.
Gated content is used to generate leads for a product, cause, or campaign. The traffic will be tracked back as a lead and converted into sales data when gate content is published, and the reader clicks through to the affiliate site based on keyword search.
Many different types of content can be gated, depending on the audience you’re targeting. However, when making a list of content types to gated, think about how that content will drive action and lead to your top conversion goals.
For example, event invitations are a great way to recruit new leads for a mailing campaign to sell tickets or promote memberships. Other examples include newsletters, e-books, etc.
Some of the most common gated content examples include whitepapers, newsletters, e-books, cheat sheets, etc.
Some examples of non-gated content are blogs, infographics, podcasts, videos, etc.
There are general rules that a company may choose to follow in order to produce a piece of gated content. For example, because gated content is a premium version of average content, most are more authoritative than regular content. Other practices may also include:
Create gated content around an event
Connect gated content with a call to action
Offer free samples or previews
Use helpful graphics and images
Apply a color scheme that fits with your site’s branding
Include social share buttons
For B2B, the answer is not clear; from a direct response perspective, ungated is better. However, many businesses have paid and free alternatives. While the free versions are accessible to all, they are not necessarily as professionally curated or well-presented as the paid alternatives. This makes them less effective for prospects who know what they want.
Gated content is better when you want to give the reader a chance to opt-in for an email that will offer them something of value (for example, a free e-book or webinar).
Building attractive landing pages is one of the most common applications of gated content marketing. To create an excellent gated content landing page, one must-
Select the gated content based on their target audience.
Create a slider that shows related content in a way that is easy to assess for each user
Add secondary buttons under the resource header to support all actions related to that particular resource;
Design your page so that it clearly shows what user actions are required to complete the process
Use calls-to-action, like buttons or form fields, to make each successive step clear.
Gating your content can be a little bit tricky if you’re not already getting the traffic you want for your site. However, you can always choose to gate a part of your content rather than gating the whole content to generate more leads.
There are many ways by which you can promote your gated content. For example, you can include it in your weekly or monthly newsletter, include it in your email blasts, link the gated content with your landing page, optimize the old content on your website, etc.
Gated content is essential because it helps businesses to generate more leads by providing relevant information to prospective clients in exchange for their emails and other contact information.