Marketers often wonder about the best way to deliver content. Should they make content freely available or request reader information in exchange for access? The answer depends on your ultimate goal. Both strategies have their pros and cons, which we will discuss in today’s article.
What Is Gated Content?
Gated content is simply content where readers must share information such as their name, job title, industry, and email address in exchange for access to content. Marketers leverage gated content to generate leads from prospects. According to one study, up to 80% of B2B content marketing assets are gated.
White papers, case studies, videos, product demos, and ebooks are some of the most common content assets leveraged as gated content.
Should We Always ‘Gate’ Content?
Gated content is a powerful tool in content marketing, but that does not mean we should restrict access to all forms of content. Gating content isn’t the best strategy for maximizing content viewership. Asking prospects to fill out forms to download ebooks decreases downloads significantly. Not every reader is comfortable sharing personal information.
If you want to build brand awareness, then providing unrestricted access to content is likely a better strategy. Ungated content enables readers to access it freely without being required to fill out lengthy forms. Infographics, blogs, videos, and case studies are typical examples of ungated content.
Ungated content improves trust with leads because it gives them easy access to valuable information. With that said, providing unrestricted access to valuable content is a trade-off. Ungated content does help with viewership, but it also damages lead generation and prevents you from fully utilizing valuable content assets.
When and Why Marketers Use Gated Content?
Do you want to increase brand awareness or generate leads? This is what you should know before deciding whether or not you should gate content.
Ideally, you should be able to increase viewership while also generating leads through your content. This is why the best strategy is to leverage both gated and ungated content at various parts of the marketing funnel. Your marketing funnel consists of three key stages. As a marketer, you must leverage content according to where you are in the marketing funnel:
In this early stage, prospects recognize they have a problem but don’t know how your business can help. This is where businesses must establish brand awareness through useful content. Infographics, blogs, ebooks, and podcasts are some of the best ways to improve brand awareness.
However, at this stage, prospects may not be willing to share personal information since they know so little about your brand. Therefore, removing the gate from content helps you with brand visibility and enhances your credibility.
During the consideration stage, prospects start seeing your business as an industry authority and a potential solution provider. Therefore, at this phase, content focuses on how your business helps others resolve their problems.
Since prospects are now aware of your brand, it’s easier to ask them to fill out forms through gated content. Now, businesses can leverage gated content in the form of software downloads, webinars, and case studies to identify credible leads.
At this stage of the marketing funnel, the prospect is wondering whether your product or service is ideal for them. You can leverage gated content at this point to generate leads too. Powerful offers such as product demos, free trials, and free consultations can help you gain leads who are significantly easier to convert.
Gated Content Pros vs. Cons
|Gives in-depth insight into your customers through analytics||No SEO benefit or boost|
|Allows for email list segmentation||Lack of page views and traffic|
|Increases lead generation||Long forms can deter prospects from downloading content|
|Leads to more sales||No brand visibility|
Does Gated Content Have to Be Downloadable?
People think gated content comprises downloadable content such as white papers or ebooks. However, your gated content doesn’t have to be available for download. Some of the most effective forms of lead generation content are not downloadable assets. You can leverage price quotes, product demos, and free consultations to generate leads through gated content, as well.
Gated Content Example
At first glance, this Oracle post-click landing page appears to have a short form. The page is asking prospects to share their company email address. However, once prospects enter business email, they are guided towards a larger form:
If this page were asking prospects to subscribe to a newsletter, this landing page format could have scared prospects away. However, since prospects are already familiar with Oracle’s brand and the landing page is for a live demo, prospects don’t hesitate to share their business email address.
Gated content works only if it provides prospects useful information or value in some shape or form. But how is content supposed to provide value if it’s riddled with grammatical errors, structural flaws, and issues with flow and readability?
Do you want to optimize gated content for maximum lead generation? Consider our business document editing service and ensure that your content is tailored to your target audience’s needs!