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What is Gated Content?

Hannah Money 15-Jun-2023 13:07:54
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Unlike traditional outbound marketing tactics like cold calling, social media ads or direct email, gated content takes a different approach. It's a powerful inbound marketing strategy that entices visitors to your website with exclusive content.

However, there's a catch – they can only access it after sharing their contact information with you. By collecting this valuable data through a form, you gain crucial insights for your marketing campaigns. With these insights, you can effectively nurture leads and guide them deeper into your sales funnel.

What is the Purpose of Gated Content?

Gated content serves as a valuable tool for lead generation, nurturing relationships and guiding users towards becoming customers while providing exclusive content that adds value to their experience.

Information collected from visitors can be as brief or as detailed as you want, including data on their industry, job title and location. With detailed information, you can build a more accurate representation of your audience and what problems they want to solve. But be aware that some people can be put off filling in a long and detailed form – there is a balance to strike!

Gating content serves several purposes:

Lead Generation

Gated content is an effective way to generate leads. By requiring users to provide their information, you can build a database of potential customers who have shown interest in your offerings.

Qualifying Leads

Gated content helps you identify more qualified leads. Since users willingly provide their information to access the content, it indicates a higher level of interest and engagement compared to casual website visitors.

Building Relationships

By offering valuable content, you can establish credibility and trust with your audience. Gated content allows you to deliver in-depth resources that address their needs and pain points, fostering a stronger connection with potential customers.

Targeted Marketing

The data collected through gated content enables you to segment your audience and tailor your marketing efforts accordingly. You can then use the gathered information to personalise your communications and deliver more targeted and relevant messages.

Guiding Users Through the Sales Funnel

Gated content helps move users further down the marketing funnel. By strategically offering content at different stages, you can educate and nurture your leads, increasing the chances of conversion and eventual purchase.

Valuable gated assets can include e-books and webinars which tend to be shorter and easier to digest, delivering compelling points about your products and services. Other assets can include whitepapers which provide more detailed insights on a specific topic.

As well as keeping users engaged, these assets help to show you are an expert in your field. Once trust has been established, visitors are more likely to advance further down the marketing funnel starting from the awareness stage, where they are first curious about your business, all the way to the retention stage where they have become a lead and require nurturing.

Choosing the Right Assets

Not all content is meant to be locked away behind gates. Think of short-form assets like videos or intriguing blogs that serve as an introduction to your solutions. These gems are best showcased where they can be easily accessed, like on a captivating landing page. They're designed to pique interest and give visitors a glimpse into the awesomeness of your company, making them perfect for those in the early stages of the marketing journey.

Once your visitors progress to the consideration stage and hunger for deeper knowledge, that's when you unveil your treasure trove of longer-form content. Dive into the nitty-gritty details on specific topics, addressing the very challenges your visitors are wrestling with. This is your golden opportunity to showcase how your solutions can conquer those challenges.

Tying Gated Content into Your Marketing Strategy

Gated content separates casual browsers from the serious prospects on your website, focusing on those who are genuinely interested in solving their problems with your services or products. Its primary objective is to generate and nurture leads, guiding them through your marketing funnel. On the other hand, ungated content plays a crucial role in driving traffic, establishing trust and building credibility. Both forms of content are valuable and should be integrated into your content marketing strategy, as they achieve distinct goals and cater to the different needs of your website visitors.

However, if you gate your content too early in the marketing funnel, you run the risk of scaring off potential leads. By strategically timing the use of gated content later in the funnel, you can boost your brand visibility at the awareness stage while still generating leads in the nurture and sales stages.

Other marketing initiatives can also benefit from gated content such as email campaigns, social media and PPC advertising. This offers a wider scope for lead generation, especially if users are hesitant to visit your website directly.  For example, when users come across a CTA on a social media platform, they often feel more at ease filling out a form within that familiar environment.

Data Collection and Retargeting

As we’ve established, gated content attracts more valuable leads since your website visitors have already shown interest in a product or service by willingly providing their contact details to learn more. By capturing this data, you gain insights into the number of downloads for certain content pieces and can retarget that group to guide them further along the marketing funnel. The ultimate goal is to convert leads into prospects that you can nurture and retain. For example, you can reach out to users who have downloaded a webinar on improving their SEO score and send them an exclusive offer about a free website audit using the provided email addresses. While not all of them will respond, it’s the few who do that become valuable prospects for ongoing engagement and nurturing.

The value of gated content lies not in quantity but in quality. Had this approach been applied to ungated content, fewer people would likely express interest.

Since they are still in the discovery phase and may not know what they want, bombarding them with deals would likely result in a higher bounce rate for pages with CTAs.

Gated Content Pros

Lead Generation

Gated content tends to attract higher quality leads, as visitors who provide their contact details to access the resources have already progressed to the consideration stage further down the marketing funnel. These individuals are actively seeking solutions to their problems and are specifically interested in how your products and services can address their needs.

Increased Engagement

As these users are searching for information it is more likely that they will be open to further engagement.

Audience Segmentation

The data provided from form submissions can make it easier to sort leads into subgroups. This could be anything from job-related information such as job title/seniority, to what devices they use to access your website and how long they linger on certain pages.

Gated Content Cons

Decreased Reach

Not everyone wants to go the extra mile to fill in a form, especially if they are cautious about giving out their information.

Lower Conversion Rates

If the content isn’t attractive enough to entice visitors to provide their details, then this will ultimately lead to reduced conversion rates. If visitors are ambivalent about the content and can’t access it easily they are unlikely to stick around to want to read more.

Poor User Experience (UX)

If forms are too long or intimidating, visitors are unlikely to complete them. Then there are popups which can quickly become annoying to those who are just browsing your website.

Limited Tracking / Privacy Concerns

Many users are becoming increasingly aware of and concerned about their online privacy, especially when they don’t know how their data will be used, stored or shared. This could lead to forms being filled out with partial or false details. When setting up forms, try to strike a balance between obtaining information for marketing purposes and asking for too much information that you may not need. Keep in mind the needs of your visitors and the privacy, trust and legal considerations of GDPR.

Content Quality

By gating content, you restrict access to a portion of your audience. This means that people who may genuinely benefit from your content are unable to access it unless they meet the gating requirements. Fewer users accessing your content also means fewer chances for organic sharing.

Having the mandatory step of inputting contact details is also disruptive to the browsing experience. It’s because of these required fields that we can feel tempted to create more content to justify the gating strategy. But a larger quantity of content doesn’t automatically equal a rise in quality leads. A more significant portion of sub-par content is more likely to deter your audience from exploring further and searching for answers elsewhere.

Conclusion

Gated and ungated content are both valuable in building a strong rounded SEO Content Marketing campaign. While there are certain limitations on conversion rates with gated, the leads that are filtered down the marketing funnel are of higher quality and become crucial as they eventually reach the last stage of retention. From there, these leads can be engaged and nurtured as prospects. Additionally, gated content also builds a level of credibility that ungated alone doesn’t achieve. Get the leads and attention you deserve by adding gated content to your marketing strategy today!

If you want to give your content a boost but aren’t sure where to start why not take advantage of our free website audit? We will review your current progress and give suggestions for improving engagement, search engine ranking and raising conversions.

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