Driving Leads or Maximizing Reach: When Should You Use Gated Content?
65% of consumers feel a brand is positive and trustworthy after reading their educational content.
If you happen to be reading this, you’ve probably gained valuable knowledge from our content before, or you’re seeking that now.
But what if this was gated content? Would you give us your email to keep reading, or just move on to the next blog?
When used with discretion, gated content can be an effective way to drive leads by providing potential buyers with relevant, valuable information in exchange for their contact information.
That said, it’s 2023 and the internet is saturated. Blog authors publish over 6 million blog posts per day, a figure that is only projected to grow with the advent of tools like ChatGPT. Couple this with the fact that buyers are suffering from digital fatigue, and it’s easy to see how gating your content could potentially shrink your already-small slice of the digital pie.
To gate or not to gate? That is the question. Keep scrolling (no email required 😎) to learn how to distinguish when it makes sense to gate your content, and when it doesn’t.
First, When Should You Ungate Your Content?
Let's assume you’ve already experimented with gated content. There are certain cases where it could be worth removing that form, thus increasing the chance of more impressions, more eyeballs, and more influence.
Case #1: You Need More Traffic to Your Site
Plain and simple: if you’re using gated content, it will be harder for people to find it through a Google search. This is because content behind a gate is not indexed by search engines.
If you want more visitors to your site, you’ll benefit more from content that is free and accessible to the public. The audience that finds your content through search is looking for a quick answer to their question. If they even make it to the gate, they’re likely to save time, skip the form, and just move on to the next article.
Think of the audiences that arrive at your site through search as more strangers than acquaintances. You have to make a good first impression before you can ask for their email — that’s the formula for a successful meet cute.
Case #2: Your Gated Content is Bombing
We get it. It’s demoralizing to labor over a single piece of content just for it to hardly be seen by anyone. If you’re not getting conversions on your gated content, it can be helpful to ask yourself some of the following questions:
- How is your audience reaching the page? Where are they in their buyer's journey? What are they expecting to see when they get there?
- How does your landing page copy speak to the value of what you’re offering behind the gate? Are your CTAs clear and compelling?
- Could I capture emails through a voluntary pdf download (or some other way) while still making the content openly accessible?
There’s a slew of factors that could be inhibiting conversions that have nothing to do with the actual content you’re offering, and while you should definitely be thinking about how audiences are reaching your content, simply ungating it to be accessed by anyone through SEO could breathe new life into it.
When You Should Gate Your Content
Generally, audiences that are past the initial awareness stage are most likely to convert on gated content. They’re aware of the various solutions available to them and are weighing their options, looking for more in-depth information that could potentially push them to a decision. White papers, eBooks, webinars, demos, tools, and templates are all examples of content that may justify a form submission.
The type of content isn’t everything, though. Your audience isn’t just handing out their contact information anytime they see an eBook.
Your gated content should be high value, contain original research, or save time and money. We’ll define these below.
Before you roll your eyes… 🙄 let’s acknowledge that your content, at the bare minimum, should provide some sort of value to your audience—always.
High value in this context is any content that would be difficult to obtain anywhere else. It’s information that only you have access to, and sharing it with your audience makes them feel like they’re getting access to an exclusive offering.
In sum: High value content creates FOMO.
Maybe you’ve compiled insights gleaned from the data of different marketing campaigns you’ve run this year. Maybe you tested a new strategy with a client that yielded big time results you could write about in a white paper.
So much content populating the web is derivative of other existing pieces of content. If you can lean into your own experiences, anecdotes and subject matter expertise, you’ll be putting something truly fresh into the world that potential buyers will no doubt want to get their hands on.
Time and Money Savers
We’ve all created our own assets to manage our time and get through the day, and we’ve definitely used assets from other brands in our own work. There’s really nothing that builds trust like a helping hand.
Whether it’s a comprehensive guide to setting up digital ad campaigns, a video detailing your process for staging a blog, or a spreadsheet template you wouldn’t make it through the day without, sharing content that will save your audience time and money will position you as a go-to resource.
However you decide to use gated content, always have a plan for how you’ll nurture your audience from qualified lead, to buyer.