More businesses are implementing gated content on their websites. For visitors to access this content they need to take a certain action such as signing up. Many B2B companies use gated content to generate leads and build their email lists. The practice is also used by various online publications and other organizations that want to collect information from website visitors and potential leads. Gated content is a tricky topic as there are both pros and cons to this strategy.
Benefits and Drawbacks of Gated Content
In theory, you can make anything gated. In practice, however, this strategy is used to share something that’s presented as high-value content that can be differentiated from all the widely-available free content on the web. Some typical examples include:
- White Papers
- Courses, including mini-courses delivered via e-mail.
- Articles — Some websites, such as online newspapers and magazines, gate blog posts and articles.
Let’s look at the main pros and cons of gated content.
- Placing content behind a gate can increase its perceived value.
- It helps you qualify your leads.
- You can collect valuable information about your leads.
- Fewer people see locked content so it’s not ideal for brand visibility.
- Gated content is less likely to be shared.
- It isn’t SEO-friendly as search engines don’t index gated content.
Conversion Tips for Gated Content
Now let’s look at some ways to get the most out of your gated content.
Consider Your Purpose
Sometimes it’s better to provide open access to your content. At other times, the gated model works in your favor. It depends on your purpose as well as your prospect’s stage of the buyer’s journey.
- If you want to maximize traffic, brand awareness, and engagement, open access is the best choice.
- For surface, top-of-funnel content such as blog posts, locking your content isn’t the best idea. People doing casual research on a topic are probably not going to want to fill out a form.
- For mid-funnel or the Awareness/Decision phase of the buyer’s journey, locking content makes more sense. By now, prospects have demonstrated their interest and are looking for more substantial content.
Make Your Gated Content Relevant and High-Value
It’s essential that people who sign up for your gated content aren’t misled or disappointed. Someone may scroll through social media posts or blog entries that don’t interest them without giving it a second thought. However, people don’t like to waste their time signing up for something and finding that it’s not helpful.
- Deliver what you promise. Avoid using hype or click-bait type offers just to get signups. Make sure the content you deliver is a close match to what you’re offering. Your gated content should be distinct and a level above your free offerings.
- Consider the best type of gated content to offer. In addition to more detailed pillar content, people also appreciate shorter yet convenient offerings such as checklists, cheat sheets, and other concise summaries of information. Other options include a membership site, webinars, and a newsletter.
Create a Landing Page for Your Locked Content
A dedicated landing page for gated content gives you space where you can highlight the benefits of your offer. On this page, you need a compelling and relevant headline, a clear description of what you’re offering, and a call-to-action such as an opt-in form. You can link to this page from ads, other pages on your website as well as external sites such as social media pages.
Provide the Best of Both Worlds
Many businesses do well using a mixed model, offering both locked and unlocked content. You might, for example, provide open access to your blog posts but make people sign up for your white paper, e-book, or mini-course. If you lock all of your content, you risk annoying potential leads. People searching for a news story, for example, can bypass publications that lock stories and search for similar information elsewhere. It’s a little different for an SaaS, in that you’re offering something more technical and niche-oriented than a news story. However, your prospects still have other choices. By letting them browse your website and blog posts, you give them an idea of what you’re all about. In this way, you can make them more receptive to your gated content.
Learn More About Your Audience
One of the benefits of gated content is that it lets you collect information about your prospects. When you lock your content, it’s easy to segment your audience based on the data you collect. For example, you can ask leads about their industry, job titles, the reason for requesting your content, or anything else you’d like to know. This can inform your future marketing efforts as you find out more about your customers’ demographics, needs, and preferences.
Reap the Benefits of Gated Content
If you use it strategically, gated content can help you generate more qualified leads, build your authority, and collect valuable data about your audience. At the same time, it’s not the ideal approach for all of your needs. Learn to recognize what kind of content you should lock and which is best left for everyone to access.