How to Use Gated Content Strategically

Your content marketing strategy is helping to boost traffic to your website, but what more can you do to turn visitors into qualified leads?

This is a question to which many are finding the answer with gated content.

Tablet displaying words including great content.

Not sure why you need it or should have it? Then continue reading!

What Is Gated Content?

Gated content comes in a variety of forms, and all have a singular mission: to entice visitors to give up their name and contact details in exchange for a valuable piece of content.

For example, gated content could be an ebook guide that helps homebuyers find the perfect property or a video course on how to overcome productivity issues in the workplace.

It's all about "gating" the content behind a form users must fill out to gain access to it. This strategy works wonders when you target the right people with the right content.

This is why roughly 80 percent of B2B content marketing assets are gated. The most popular types of gated content include:

  • E-books (79%)
  • Webinars (80%)
  • Free trials (77%)
  • Product demos (75%)

You can also find gated content in the form of guides, case studies, white papers, and podcasts.

If you understand your customers' pain points, then you can develop content (and type of content) that'll interest them enough to sign up.

Why Do You Need Gated Content?

Man smiling while looking at his laptop with headphones on.Lead generation should be at the forefront of any content marketing strategy, but it takes content marketing data to make it succeed.

You can't gather this valuable data without having a way to collect information from your users. For example, using a popup form each time someone signs up to get your gated freebie will allow you to learn more about your audience.

If you're a B2B company, then your form would ask for a name, email, and company name or industry. With this data, you can learn about your audience and continue to improve both your gated and ungated content.

Gated content is all about separating out the hot leads from the cold. Mike Volp (the 3rd founder of Hubspot) says it perfectly:

"If I can get 100,000 people to see that page and I can get 28,000 people to fill it out, 28,000 contacts may be more valuable than even 50,000 people seeing the content."

How to Tell Content Is Worthy of Gating

If you want great results with your lead generation strategy, then you need to choose gated content strategically. Not all content is worthy of being gated. So how can you tell if you have something people are willing to go the extra mile to obtain?

If you can answer "yes" to the following questions, then it's gate-worthy content:

  • Is it content you created?
  • Does the content provide high value?
  • Is the content high-quality (design and copy)?
  • Is your goal to generate more leads?
  • Do you have a large enough audience (say, if only 10 percent converted?)
  • Is it a video, webinar, ebook, guide, whitepaper, or checklist?

Quick note: Infographics and blog posts don't do well as gated content as a general rule.

Building a Strategy for Gated Content

You can build a gated content strategy in four simple steps.

1. Create Your Content

Hopefully, you've been gathering content marketing data to learn about your audience so you can develop content that's:

  • Relevant to your target customers
  • Valuable in the eyes of your audience
  • Actionable with tips they can use now

2. Create Your Landing Page

Next, it's time to develop a landing page for your gated content. This is what will convince your visitors they should sign up to receive their freebie. You can do this by creating:

  • A compelling headline
  • Engaging copy
  • A winning call to action

3. Determine How Leads Will Access the Content

Woman sitting the dark looking at her desktop computer.Now, you have to decide how you're going to deliver the gated content to your visitors. You can do this using:

  • Email with attachment or link
  • Immediate link to download (on the website)
  • New tab/window opens with the content ready to view

4. Keep Track of Conversions

Once your gated content campaign is all set up, you want to monitor it to see how it's doing. Maybe you need to change up the headlines and copy on your landing page to get more leads, or maybe the type of content you chose isn't intriguing to your audience. You can use a mix of Google Analytics and email marketing tools to see what's happening throughout your campaign.

Cleaning Content Marketing Data to Improve Your Campaign

The purpose of gated content is to drive leads to your business. This means gathering names and emails from visitors who are most interested in your product or service.

But did you know that the quality of data degrades by 3% each month (according to Gartner) and that 30% of email addresses go bad within 12 months (Marketing Sherpa study)?

This is why it's critical to have data cleaning tools like SmartForms and SmartSuite to ensure your information stays relevant. Not sure if you need them? Get a free Data Health Assessment today.

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