4 Examples of Gated Content for Lead Generation
Content marketing works. People are tired of being sold to and are ready to read relevant, valuable articles and talk to friendly representatives to learn how a solution can help them.
Effective inbound lead generation within a company involves creating exceptional content, prioritizing helping over selling, and providing prospects with what they need and when they need it.
We'll review best practices and pros and cons for using gated content behind a form and when you want to display your content openly for visitors and SEO.
And that's our focus: what gated content works well for lead generation. Everything from free eBooks to white papers that drill into the technical details or even a full-on training program has its place in a solid content marketing strategy. If your lead generation isn't working as hoped for, see how you can improve or implement your gated content strategy.
Why Does Gated Content Matter?
73% of marketers say content marketing is their top inbound marketing strategy. Content marketing is a valuable tool for businesses of all sizes. Gated content is a great way to create high-quality content that can help you attract and engage new customers.
B2B marketers who use content marketing generate 54% more leads than those who don't. Content marketing can be a very effective way to generate leads. Downloadable, gated content is a great way to offer value to your target audience in exchange for their contact information.
The average conversion rate for gated content is 2.4%. Gated content can be a very effective way to convert visitors into leads. By offering something of value, you can encourage visitors to take the next step and provide you with their contact information.
Before we get too far into the weeds, we won't cover paid content; we'll keep it to free, open, and gated content.
Gated here means the content you put behind a wall, asking readers for basic information like a name and email address before the user can access the content. The opposite type of content is ungated content, content like blog posts or general website pages that can be accessed without filling out a form.
This is an excellent way to grow your email list of newsletter subscribers or build a lead database. As you build your conversion funnel, it is essential to remember that if you ask for personal details like that, you must ensure the content you're offering is worth it.
Gated Content Best Practices
Certain types of premium or so-called "freemium" content work better than others to entice readers to offer their contact details.
Upgraded content: This is a contextual way to encourage people to subscribe by advertising a deeper look at a topic they've already shown an interest in by reading a particular piece. If your blog post or landing page goes 20% of the way into a subject, this content will take them to the 70% mark or beyond. eBooks work great here, as the ability to take the content on the go or move it to an eReader makes it more usable.
How-to tip: To create an upgraded content offer, start by identifying a topic your target audience is interested in. Then, create a piece of content that goes deeper into that topic. This could be an ebook, a whitepaper, a checklist, or any other valuable content for your audience.
Once you have created your content upgrade, promote it at the end of your blog posts or landing pages. Make sure to highlight the benefits of your offer and explain why it is valuable to your target audience.
Example: Let's say you have a blog post about how to start a blog. At the end of the blog post, you could offer an upgraded content offer of an ebook that goes into more detail about how to start a blog. In the ebook, you could cover topics such as choosing a domain name, setting up hosting, and choosing a blogging platform.
You can encourage your target audience to subscribe to your email list by offering an upgraded content offer. This will allow you to stay in touch with them and continue to provide them with valuable content.
Whitepapers: If you're in a technical field, whitepapers are another option. They come with the bonus of being reusable in multiple scenarios. You can attach them to relevant blog posts as a gimme when someone signs up for a webinar or other offering, and you can send them out to academic publications for further reach.
How-to tip: To create a whitepaper, start by identifying a topic relevant to your target audience and that you have expertise. Then, do some research on the topic and gather data and information. Once you have gathered your data, organize it and write a whitepaper that presents your findings clearly and concisely.
Example: Let's say you are a software company that develops software for businesses. You could create a whitepaper that discusses the benefits of your software and how it can help businesses improve their operations. In the whitepaper, you could include case studies of businesses that have used your software and seen success.
Crafting a whitepaper is an excellent way to showcase your industry knowledge and emerge as a thought leader. Furthermore, it is a powerful tool to attract leads and increase visitors to your website, ultimately boosting your company's growth.
A piece of gated content your prospects can use to assess or grade their knowledge or readiness on a relevant topic. Depending on the results, follow-up steps might be suggested.
Create a list that is relevant to your target audience's needs. What are they struggling with? What do they need to know to address their situation? Compile a list that will help assess their knowledge or readiness on the topic.
Make the checklist easy to use. The checklist should be clear, concise, and easy to follow. It should be visually appealing. It should be a list template that can be used again and again.
Offer suggested follow-up steps. Depending on the results of the checklist, offer suggested follow-up steps. For example, if the prospect scores low on the checklist, you could offer resources to help remedy the situation.
Webinars: These have taken off with the simplification of production and widespread adoption of high bandwidth connection speeds. The real-time nature and interactive Q&A are huge selling points for this medium, and among the reasons, this type of gated content has one of the highest ROIs of all.
How-to tip: To create a webinar, start by identifying a topic relevant to your target audience and that you have expertise. Then, create a presentation that covers the topic in detail. Once you have created your presentation, promote your webinar on your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns.
Example: Let's say you are a marketing consultant helping businesses grow their social media presence. You could create a webinar that discusses the different social media platforms and how businesses can use them to reach their target audience. In the webinar, you could share tips on creating engaging content, running effective social media campaigns, and measuring the results of your social media efforts.
Hosting a webinar effectively showcases your expertise and establishes yourself as a thought leader. Moreover, webinars can be a powerful tool to generate leads and drive traffic to your website, helping you grow your business and reach a wider audience.
Academy: If your field is something people might want further training in, offering an academy is a fantastic way to gain authority and build trust. Classes can be structured however works for you. Videos, text lessons, and interactive sessions with a professional are some options.
How-to tip: To create an academy, start by identifying a topic relevant to your target audience and that you have expertise. Then, create a curriculum that covers the topic in detail. Once you have created your curriculum, promote your academy on your website, social media, and email marketing campaigns.
Example: Let's say you are a marketing consultant helping businesses grow their social media presence. You could create an academy that teaches businesses how to use social media to reach their target audience. In the academy, you could provide video lessons, text lessons, and interactive sessions with a social media expert.
By creating an academy, you can position yourself as an expert in your field and establish yourself as a thought leader. You can also use an academy to generate leads and drive traffic to your website.
A bonus to the last two: recordings of the lessons or webinars can be made, then offered as more premium content attached to different future offers. That means more ROI for the effort put into one event or lesson.
Comparing the Benefits of Gated and Ungated Content
Gated Content Pros
- Lead Generation: Gated content helps you capture valuable contact information like email addresses and phone numbers, which you can use to nurture leads and convert them into customers, a critical objective of marketing funnels within b2b content marketing.
Increased Value Perception: By requiring users to provide their information, you create a sense of scarcity and exclusivity around your content, making it seem more valuable.
Targeted Audience: Gated content allows you to focus on delivering high-value content to a more qualified audience who is genuinely interested in what you offer.
Improved Brand Image: Providing valuable, exclusive content can help you establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry and build trust with your audience.
Measurable Results: Gated content lets you track how many people are interested in your content and what information they provide, giving you valuable insights for improving your marketing efforts.
Ungated Content Pros
Increased Reach and Brand Awareness: Ungated content allows you to reach a wider audience and increase brand awareness, potentially attracting new customers who may not have found you otherwise.
Improved SEO and Organic Traffic: Search engines love ungated content, which can significantly improve your website's ranking in search results and drive organic traffic.
Enhanced User Experience: Ungated content provides a seamless and frictionless user experience, encouraging users to explore your website and engage with your brand.
Greater Social Shareability: Ungated content is more likely to be shared on social media and other platforms, expanding your reach and amplifying your brand message.
Builds Trust and Credibility: Providing valuable content freely demonstrates your expertise and builds trust with your audience, making them more receptive to your marketing messages.
Great Gated Content Examples
Inbound marketing automation is a growing sector of the software world, and Hubspot is one of the fastest-growing providers and role models how to use gated content to generate leads and engaged followers.
Their content marketing includes several levels, starting with their two popular blogs aimed at the top of the funnel sales and marketing folks and going to a member-only Academy offering industry certifications. Their downloadable library includes eBooks, checklists, and case studies that go into more depth and can significantly assist when planning an Inbound Strategy.
This Robotic Process Automation powerhouse and its use of marketing automation software is cutting edge. To add to their already extensive blog archive, they launched a developer collaboration platform and a free academy that offers certifications in their software. They are also growing their library of eBooks and case studies every month. UiPath started the Inbound Marketing journey in 2014 with less than 2,000 visitors per month and grew more than 1,000 times within seven years and more than 10,000++ new contacts coming into the CRM system every month.
Who knows the most about marketing on the largest B2B social media platform? LinkedIn publishes a successful blog and offers a comprehensive downloadable library of eBooks, whitepapers, and study reports. Everything you need to begin marketing your company on the site is available for free, is well-written, and is highly engaging.
When LinkedIn started offering ads and other marketing opportunities, they noticed that adoption was sluggish. When they asked around, there was a lack of clear instructions for getting started. Adoption took off once they began publishing their guides, and revenue went through the roof. It helps that they followed suitable inbound methodology by directing people to dedicated landing pages straight from blog posts and announcement emails, then to a form, and finally to the download.
This software provider is taking the demo slice of the webinar world to a new level by offering options. You can sign up for a scheduled live demo, download a pre-recorded demo, or even request a live, personal one-on-one demo with one of their specialists.
This allows potential customers to work around their busy schedules and get the information they need to become happy customers. It also gives Infusionsoft (now Keap) more eyeballs on its other content. Once you finish your demo, you can select from a library of options to continue learning and dive deeper into their feature set. Additionally, by recording the demo sessions, the company can use them as incentives in email campaigns and post to social media, getting more bang for their marketing buck.
Wrapping it up
Content is not all the same. Start with a blog that targets the top of the funnel, move to eBooks that fill in more details, and add webinars or academies to make experts out of your clients. Now, your potential clients, existing customers, and the general public can get a fuller sense of how your product can help them, and they can even see it in action before pulling the trigger. Gated content is a fantastic way to build your authority further and become a trusted source of information.
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