Blog posts, newsletters, podcasts – sharing knowledge for free is cool and every marketer, copywriter, or brand manager will tell you that. And what if you wouldn’t have to provide others with this high-quality content completely for free? What are the possible methods to make your content marketing more effective?
Dear marketer, you’ve probably heard phrases like “content is king” thousands of times. You run a company blog, create newsletters, and refine every word in your social media posts. You share your knowledge practically everywhere you can. Well, it even turns out that your hard work translates into bigger website traffic and people indeed read your content. But this is where their adventure with your brand ends – they don’t buy anything from you.
After a few months of intense activities, your employer comes to you and asks what’s the purpose of doing these things if they don’t bring any profits to the company. More impressions? That’s not enough. Your content is valuable and popular among users but they simply read it and leave the page. More potential customers or contact details to decision-makers… that would be something.
So how to generate extra profits for your company and effectively obtain new leads thanks to content marketing activities? How to benefit from the work and expertise you share for free?
This is when gated content comes in handy.
Gated content – what is it?
In a way, this is a kind of sale – after all, someone gives you their data for a certain value. Gated content works great in both B2C and B2B systems.
Gated content meets the requirements of customers who are at the very top of the engagement pyramid. These people don’t want to be passive readers anymore, they’re attracted by your marketing content and want to find out more about the company, brand, and offered solutions.
It may also be a tool for reaching interested users who are just at the very beginning of the AIDA model (the “attention” stage). Maybe they don’t know yet if they actually need your products, maybe they just started learning about your company.
Gated content includes ebooks, white papers (tutorials, tips, guides), unique webinars and podcasts, email courses, or free demos of your products. Obviously, it’s not about sales-related materials, it’s about valuable content helping your potential customers to develop.
What is the purpose of gated content?
- Positioning yourself as an expert
Have you written an ebook? If so, you’re an expert in your field. Moreover, you also provided your potential customers with something valuable “for free” (although you perfectly know that’s not completely for free – after all you got a precious email address). Consequently, these people will be more willing to shop at your store.
- Acquiring leads
Gated content can be the first point of contact with a brand – for example, in the case of a fishing store, a properly targeted Facebook ad can redirect social media users to your landing page where you can offer them a free ebook with the finest fishing lures just in exchange for their emails provided in a special form.
- Improving leads
A bigger mailing list is your investment in the future. You can continue educating people and redirecting them to your website if they aren’t sure whether it’s worth buying a given item. After all, 78% of customers select and trust companies with the most convincing content marketing strategies.
Thanks to marketing automation systems properly tailored to your business, you can personalize your communication and engage potential customers in clickbait customer experience activities such as surveys, games, or free product tests.
- Increasing sales thanks to being consistent
As a customer, you’ve already provided your email address, downloaded an ebook or a podcast for free so now you want to continue your cooperation with the company. At least, that’s what we believe in when we try to think like buyers.
Of course, you may say that it doesn’t apply to you. Nevertheless, statistically, we order more in the restaurant and leave bigger tips when we get an appetizer for free. We choose the yogurt or cosmetic whose sample we got for free. It’s all about psychology and statistics.
- Marketing content analysis
Gated content immediately answers your question of whether the content you create is really helpful and whether you’re a successful and effective copywriter and content marketer. If it turns out that nobody wants to download your posh content, it means that something is wrong. Inappropriate target group? Ill-suited project objective?
Gated content – what should it be like?
- Unique – it’s not about providing comprehensive knowledge about given fields in the same exact form as everybody else.
- Useful – in order to ensure that people download your gated content, you need to provide them with texts that meet their requirements and are a useful knowledge compendium on a given subject.
- Visually appealing – the text, graphic design, and selected forms of gated content need to be of the finest possible quality. This is something your company should focus on.
Gated content: examples
In exchange for providing potential customers with ebooks full of professional and helpful content, you may gain their verified email addresses (require users to provide this data in a form to get access to the ebook). The objective is to collect contact details of potential customers in order to build more lasting relationships, educate them, and create sales opportunities.
The most notorious marketing mistakes
- Gated content isn’t about catalogs, sales materials, and product specifications – all of these should be available on your website for free and accessible just with a few clicks.
- Gated content isn’t the end of your work and effort – plan what should happen after downloading an ebook. A series of emails? Direct contact from a new business manager? If you don’t do anything and rest on the laurels, your previous efforts won’t pay off.
- Gated content isn’t the right place for comprehensive customer research – shorten the form the users need to fill in to access the content to a minimum. Moreover, your content should also be adapted to mobile devices.
Gated content – to do or not to do, that is the question
It’s definitely worth doing it. Better lead generation, branding, more selling opportunities – these are only some of the benefits of gated content. To sum up, content is king, on the condition you provide users with quality information in a form that allows them to fully benefit from it. As many as 80% of B2B marketing content is gated so don’t share your valuable work and knowledge for free.
P.S. Let’s take a look at the infographics prepared by Hubspot. Should you create gated content? Check it out: