What Is Gated Content?
Gated content is defined as any assets or deliverables that are only accessible by the public through a lead capture form. If you are not collecting customer information, then your content is not gated. The content you are offering must be of high enough value to motivate customers to trade their contact information for it.
How Does a Gate Work?
You’ve probably seen gating in action before. You’re scrolling through your LinkedIn feed and see a promotion for a free piece of content that entices you to click to read more. The link takes you to a form that you must fill in the form in order to receive the content promoted in the post.
The form can be minimal and include only fields like email and name. Some forms use “smart” or “progressive” fields which utilize cookies from a user’s previous visit to pre-fill or hide fields that are already known about the user. Some tools, such as HubSpot, offer progressive profiling, letting you dynamically deliver different fields based on what the system already knows about a visitor.
What Are the Benefits of Gating?
The main purpose of gating content is to source inbound leads. But what are the other benefits of gating?
HubSpot briefly lists the pros of gating content. Let’s take a look:
Pros of Gated Content
- Increases lead generation
- Leads to more sales
- Provides analytics and insight into your customers
- Allows for email list segmentation
They also delve into a list of best practices to reference when deciding whether or not to gate your content.
- Create content for each stage in the buyer’s journey: The buyer’s journey consists of four stages – awareness, education, preference, and intent. Ensure your customers are receiving content in accordance to their stage. If your gated content is aligned with their journey, your audience is more likely to convert.
- Complete a competitive analysis: This step is all about researching what your competitors are providing for their customers and making sure your content aligns. That means not only checking the content topics, but also noting what is gated and what is not.
- Provide incentive: Gated content should provide actionable and valuable insights. When you provide assets with true value, it gives your audience an incentive to download your content and provide you their information.
- Build a strong landing page: Landing pages should be concise and minimize distractions in order to bring customers to the content in a fast and efficient manner. This means your page needs a strong headline, compelling copy, and a form.
- Segment your audience: Once information is collected, ensure you keep customers engaged by sending the right type of content based on the type of contact. By segmenting your contact list, you are ensuring that your audience is seeing targeted and effective content.
- Measure the analytics: Measuring your success with gated content is extremely important as is with any piece of marketing materials. This step allows you to see what works and what needs to be adjusted or fixed moving forward.
Typically, gated content isn’t used for brand awareness or visibility campaigns. The nature of hidden content prevents high traffic; therefore, gated content should only be used for longer-form assets like the ones Semrush suggests, which are:
- Templates or tools
- Subscriber-only emails
- White papers, guides or reports
- Live webinars
Why Not Use Gated Content?
If you are looking to increase brand awareness, then you should not gate your content. Some assets, such as data sheets or case studies, should be easily available. The last thing you want to do is make it difficult for a lead to get information about your company or products when they are actively searching for it. What are some of the cons of gating material?
HubSpot’s Cons of Gated Content:
- Lack of page views and traffic
- No SEO benefit or boost
- The form deters people from downloading content
- No brand visibility
There are also certain types of content you never want to gate. This includes assets like blog posts, videos, or content you want to make easily shareable. Collateral of this nature needs to be easily accessed and shareable across social and personal networks. Ungated pieces are also a great way to promote other content that’s a little further down the sales funnel (and gated!).
Still unsure whether to gate or not gate your content? All Around Creative can help! Contact us today and we can schedule a meeting to look over your current content or discuss how to present future content.