Should we gate this piece of content?

It’s one of the most frequently asked questions for B2B marketers. How do you present this content to your audience? Do you give it away, or should you request the reader’s information in exchange for access to it?

It all depends on your goal. Each strategy has pros and cons, and we’ll go over both and discuss best practices when using gated content.

What is Gated Content?

Gated content is any content – whether it is an eBook, case study or video – that requires the user to share information before accessing it. The content is hidden behind a form. This marketing strategy guarantees that users who access the content enter your B2B sales funnel.

Examples of gated content include:

  • White Papers
  • eBooks
  • Webinars
  • Video Content
  • Spreadsheet Templates
  • Email Series
  • Product Demos
  • Case Studies
  • Free Trials
  • Secret Landing Page/Mini-sites
  • Exclusive Communities

Gated vs. Ungated Content

Gated content is used for lead generation, while ungated content is meant to improve brand awareness and SEO. Gated content lets you generate leads that you can nurture through your ongoing marketing campaigns. In contrast, ungated content will help increase traffic to your website and improve trust with potential clients.

Your B2B marketing strategy should involve both types of content. With each piece of content, you have to ask yourself what the end goal is – brand visibility/SEO or lead generation.

Pros of Gated Content

  • Increases lead generation
  • Increases sales
  • Generates analytics and insight into your customers
  • Allows for email list segmentation

Cons of Gated Content

  • Lack of page views and traffic
  • No SEO benefit or boost
  • The form can deter customers from accessing content
  • Little to no brand visibility

When it comes to deciding on whether to gate a piece of content, consider the following:

Gate the content if:

  • The content provides enough value that potential customers will be willing to share their information to access it.
  • You can promote the content on channels other than organic search to drive potential clients to your landing page.

Do not gate your content if:

  • The content focuses more on selling your product or service than solving your customer’s problems. Putting this type of content behind a gate can set potential customers up for disappointment and erode their trust in your brand.
  • The content is well optimized for SEO. In these cases, leaving the content ungated will help drive more traffic to your website, where you still have the chance to capture leads with a compelling call-to-action.

Once you decide to gate a piece of content, you must follow best practices to ensure you get good leads.

Gated Content Best Practices

Provide Value

Your content should provide value to your customer. Gated content shouldn’t just be a long blog; it should give actionable and valuable content.

When creating gated content, make sure it answers the following three questions.

  • Is It valuable? Does this content provide insight, useful data and resources? Is the design professional and attractive?
  • Is it actionable? Can your customers take what you’ve given them and move forward? Did you provide steps for success or improvement?
  • Is it relevant? Is this content relevant to your industry’s trends and best practices? Are the solutions and data provided up-to-date?

You should also provide various types of gated content targeted at the customer’s point in the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration and decision.

During each stage of the journey, your potential customers must have content designed to help move them along. Customers in the awareness stage will be more interested in reading an eBook, while customers in the decision stage will prefer product demos and webinars.

When the content you provide has actual value, it gives your customers an incentive to fill out that form and give you their contact information.

Landing Pages are Essential

While gated content doesn’t work for SEO, you can use the gated landing page to help boost the content. Make sure to optimize the landing page for your keywords and A/B test the copy and design to find what drives the most traffic and downloads. Also, don’t link to any other content on the page. You don’t want to distract customers and lead them away from the form.

Forms: Eliminate the Friction

With every field you add to your form, the more likely a user will not fill it in. Users are aware of the dangers of giving out personal information, and everyone with an email address understands the hazards and annoyances of spam.

Therefore, keeping the forms on your landing page as short and straightforward as possible is crucial. Ensure you only ask for the essentials such as name, email, title and company.

After Submit: Lead Nurturing Campaigns

Once your customer has downloaded your gated content and you get their information, it’s time to start the lead nurturing campaign.

A lead nurturing campaign focuses on developing and reinforcing relationships with potential customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey. These campaigns can include emails, phone calls and access to more content to help move the potential customer along. The goal is to stay top of mind and build trust, which will lead to more sales.  

The optimal strategy with gated content is to be flexible and let the data guide you. Finding the perfect balance of tactics, like any marketing effort, may take a little time.

To start, gate just a couple of pieces of content on your website, promote them and measure the data. If you do not see success, consider testing alternative landing page designs, promotion strategies and different types of content.

If you need help with your content marketing strategy, contact Eisenberg at hello@eisenberginc.com.

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