If you haven’t tried gated content for lead generation, you’re missing out.
Your content marketing strategy might be bringing traffic to your website, but is it bringing you quality leads?
In this article, we’re going to share insider secrets about using gated content to generate leads for your business. And not just any leads, but qualified leads.
We’ll answer all your most important gated content questions:
- What is gated content, and how is it different from ungated content?
- What are the benefits of gated content?
- How do I use gated content to generate quality leads?
Consider this your guide to gated content lead-gen!
What is gated content vs. ungated content?
Gated content is information that is only made available to users who register for the information. The registration could mean creating a free account, creating a paid account with could be a subscription fee, or simply providing an email address.
This is the opposite of ungated content, which is available to the general public via your website. With ungated content, users don’t need to do anything more than visit your website to access the information. Interestingly, an estimated 80% of B2B content marketing assets are gated.
Gated content examples
Our Free Content Marketing Data Study is a prime example of gated content. This is a valuable study showing how we grew organic traffic by more than 350% by focusing on six key areas. And it’s free to anyone who provides their email address. Once you submit your email address, the study is automatically emailed directly to you. You receive information that can transform your business, and we get to add an email address to our mailing list. This is often called a “lead magnet” because it attracts new potential leads into our marketing funnel.
Another example of gated content is PropStream’s 7-day free trial. By creating an account, customers can get the full property data experience without any commitment.
A final example of gated content is a Wall Street Journal online subscription. For a reasonable monthly fee, you can gain access to the premium articles published by the Wall Street Journal. This is an example of a specific type of gate called a “paywall.” Any visitor to the WSJ website can see teaser snippets of any article, but the full article is hidden behind a pay wall, where only members of paid subscriptions can access them.
What’s the benefit of gated content for lead generation?
Why should you consider gated content for lead generation? If you’re looking to establish recognition and built trust, why wouldn’t you make all your content accessible to everyone?
Here’s how gated content can give you an advantage over ungated content in lead generation:
- Gated content grows your email marketing list. As you gain email addresses, your opportunity for nurturing a wider audience grows. Through your email marketing campaigns, you’ll be able to regularly provide value and share the benefits of your product or service.
- You can segment your audience with gated content. Gating your content helps you determine where a lead is in their customer journey. If they access high-level educational materials, for example, you know they’re in the top-of-the-funnel phase. And if they sign up for a free trial, you know they’re in the bottom-of-the-funnel phase. With this information, you can create marketing campaigns that speak to each targeted audience where they are.
- Gated content can create brand loyalty. Gated content that is refreshed weekly or monthly, can bring customers back to your site month after month until you become their go-to.
- You can potentially charge for gated content. Gated content doesn’t have to be free. Even if subscriptions are not your primary revenue model, you can earn a supplemental revenue stream with gated content.
How to use gated content for lead generation
You can generate leads with gated content in four easy steps.
Step 1: Determine your gated content model
Will you offer a one-time lead magnet? Or will you use a subscription model? Will it be free or paid? Gated content best practices indicate that you should only choose a subscription model if you have the resources to continue providing high-quality content month after month. Making your gated content free of charge typically attracts more leads than paid content.
Step 2: Create something of value
What can you offer to your audience? Consider the customer journey; is there something you can offer customers that will prepare them for the transformation they’ll enjoy once they start using your product or service?
Here are some gated content ideas:
- Product demos.
- Free trials of your product.
- Price quotes.
- White papers.
- Digital courses.
- Exclusive community access.
- Digital guides/eBooks.
- Premium articles or images.
- A resource library.
Step 3: Publish your gated content
The logistics of publishing your gated content depends on your content model.
In most cases, you’ll want to use a gated content platform that automated the process for you. Your platform should include:
- Gated content forms to collect customer contact information. These can be formatted as pop-ups, static forms in the side-bar widget area of your website, and/or status forms in line with the text in your blog posts/website copy.
- A gated content landing page. This page will include some sales copy to entice customers to register, as well as a form for their information. Having a landing page allows you to easily share a link directly to this single-purpose page where your audience can focus on your offer.
- Automated delivery of your gated content. The platform should be able to immediately take your new lead to the gated content or email them access to your content. You might want to consider a double opt-in, in which customers must confirm their registration via email. This does provide an additional step for customers, but it also helps to qualify your leads by eliminating bot registrants.
Step 4: Promote your gated content
To generate leads from your gated content, you need to get eyeballs on your offer. So, how can you promote your gated content? Here are a few ideas for your gated content marketing:
- Link to your landing page from relevant blog posts, both new and old.
- Send an email blast.
- Share the link to your landing page on your social media accounts.
- Create social media reels, stories, and live streams based on your offer.
- Create “pins” to publish on Pinterest.
- Consider social media ads that link to your landing page.
- Consider using Google ads.
Does gated content hurt organic rankings?
Many business owners and managers ask how gated content impacts organic search engine ratings.
While gated content won’t hurt your current search engine optimization (SEO), it probably won’t help either. Gated content typically isn’t crawled by search engines, so search engines can’t index the information and list your gated content on the search engine results pages (SERPs).
Your content strategy should include both gated and ungated content. If you have a page that ranks well for a given keyword, a related lead magnet would serve your audience well and generate additional leads. This type of lead magnet is often called a “content upgrade” because the gated content takes the related ungated content to the next level.
If you’re not ranking for the relevant keywords, you may be better off creating ungated content that will drive users to your site before creating gated content around those keywords.
Is it more effective to promote blogs or gated content?
At this point, you might be wondering if your time and energy are best spent promoting your ungated blog posts or your gated content. In most cases, the answer is that you should promote both. But depending on your goals, you may want to invest more effort in one over the other.
Here are a few questions to help you decide when to focus on gated content and when to focus on ungated content:
- What is your goal? If you want to build brand awareness, stick with ungated content. But if you’re looking to generate leads, focus on gated content.
- What are your competitors doing? If your competitors offer this information ungated, you should keep it ungated as well. Why would your customers register to get the information from you if it’s easily accessible elsewhere?
- Is the information extra valuable? All of your content should provide value. But your gated content needs to be valuable enough to warrant taking the time to register.
What gated content will you create?
Now that you’ve seen the value of using gated content to generate leads for your business, it’s time to incorporate it into your content strategy. Determine which gated content ideas will be most appealing to your audience and beneficial to your business and start creating it.