The internet is a trove of free information. For just the price of your internet subscription, you have access to a seemingly infinite amount of useful resources, tips, and expert advice without having to pay a penny.
But much of the content out there has a purpose – namely to build brand recognition, to attract readers to a website, earn their trust and ultimately convince them to purchase a product or service. The problem with this kind of content is that once readers have got the information they want, there’s often nothing to prevent them from leaving your website, never to return. That’s where gated content comes in.
What is Gated Content?
Gated content requires people to first enter their contact details and other information (such as their name, industry, and job title) in order to access valuable content. It’s a way for businesses to maintain contact with people who have read and shown interest in their website and other online content.
It’s a tried and tested method of generating leads, particularly for B2B companies. It is estimated that around 80% of B2B content is gated.
What are the benefits of gated content to the consumer?
● Gated content is still free! There is no monetary cost to the consumer.
● Consumers who have shown interest in a certain topic receive further content or information relevant to them.
What are the benefits of gated content to business?
● It creates another avenue for you to get in contact with prospective customers and clients.
● Use registration forms to help you segment your audience. Include fields to help you understand who is signing up. You can also segment by the type of content they are accessing. For example, if your business sells homeware, separate your list by people who are interested in large furnishings and those interested in smaller decorative items.
● Higher quality leads. These are people who have sought out content relating to your business. They have volunteered to give their information. They are more likely to convert to sales than leads generated by other means.
When should you use gated content?
Existing literature on when to use gated content offers varied advice. Some sources say that you shouldn’t offer gated content until you have already established trust with your readers. After all, why would someone offer up their personal information unless you had already proven yourself to them?
Other sources recommend using gated content at any stage of the buyer process, including at the beginning (or “awareness” stage) of the sales funnel.
So what should you do?
The most important thing is to drum up enough interest and intrigue in order to convince consumers that the information you provide will be advantageous to them. While initially gaining consumers’ trust isn’t completely inconsequential, at the end of the day you are only requesting their email address, not their payment details. You can use gated content at any stage of the buyer process, so long as it is perceived to be worthwhile to the buyer.
That being said providing personal information is a significant barrier for some people. It’s important to note that gated content is used for lead generation. If your aim is merely to increase traffic and average time spent on page, then ungated content (such as a blog like this) may be more beneficial to you.
Steps to generate leads from gated content and convert them to sales
1. Research the type of content that resonates most with your audience
As we’ve already established, the most important thing is to identify the type of content that your audience would happily exchange information to access.
This means tapping into your existing customer base. You can use Symanto’s suite of tools to identify the psychographic profile of your audience. Are they emotional or logical thinkers? What is their motivation for coming to your website? This kind of information can help you decide the kind of content to include.
For example, a logical thinker accessing your website for comprehensive information might be more drawn to a webinar accompanied with factsheets, while an emotional thinker might prefer an informal “coffee break” video podcast.
2. Conduct competitor research
Before committing to creating content, it’s best to make sure it’s unique. Assess competitor websites. What do they offer in terms of gated and ungated content? How can you improve on what they have to offer?
At this stage, brainstorm some original ideas that appeal to the psychographics of your audience.
3. Create valuable content
Now it’s time to get creating. Note that we’ve specified valuable content. You’re expecting people to hand over their personal information. What is your gated content going to provide them in terms of value? Misjudge it, and you could negatively affect the audience’s perception of your brand.
Perceived value is important too. If your gated content is a webinar, people are going to expect a running time of at least half an hour. Make sure that your content lives up to or exceeds expectations.
Don’t forget to include a call-to-action in the content itself. Although the purpose of gated content is to generate leads for you to later pursue, the ideal scenario is that the content itself inspires them to make a purchase.
4. Create a compelling intro to your gated content
In order to convince people to register to access gated content, you need to make sure that you hype up your content with a compelling synopsis and headline. This technique is also known as “motivate, then gate.”
Don’t forget you can use Symanto’s psychographic insights to help you use messaging that resonates with your audience.
5. Follow up, stat.
Act fast. Leads go cold quickly. According to an article by Harvard Business Review, firms that contact potential customers within an hour of receiving their details are almost 7 times as likely to qualify the lead than those that wait over an hour.
Gated content can be used as part of a well-thought-out strategy to generate quality leads and boost sales. It doesn’t matter at what stage of the sales funnel you introduce gated content, but the most important thing is to make it compelling to your ideal consumer.
Leverage Symanto insights to create the ideal gated content to attract consumers and motivate them to exchange their details.