Gated content can be loosely defined as a piece of (usually) long-form content – a white paper, infographic, eBook, or another form that a business creates, but is only available to users after they provide some information such as their name and email address.
The synergy makes sense in theory, wherein anyone who willfully opts in for the content must then be a qualified lead. But does that work in practice?
A near-apocalyptic event in New York City in 1984 proved that it does when Vinz Clortho, a gatekeeper, and a keymaster named Zuul, exhibited perhaps the best symbiotic content/opt-in interaction in cinematic history. Since then, gated content strategies have been not only justified but mutually beneficial; it’s an ideal match.
When considering the value of gated content, it’s important to view it through an empathetic lens.
Providing Valuable Information
The number one thing that any prospect or paying customer wants is to be helped.
That help is in the form of information. It’s available at every stage of the buying journey, especially early on where content marketing does its thing. The prospects have a problem. They’re searching for solutions and hoping to find useful information along the way. If they find it, then you’re providing value to them, which helps establish one of the most crucial elements of generating sales: trust.
Gordon Gekko once believed (while also in New York City during the mid-eighties) that information was the most valuable commodity in the world. While his theory was driven by greed at the time, he wasn’t completely wrong. Good information has key value for prospects, and marketers know this. By and large, gated content not only contains useful information but often has actionable steps that a business can implement right away.
To Gate or Not to Gate
From many companies’ perspectives, they want to publish content that helps qualified leads turn into loyal customers – while increasing website traffic and generating leads. This comes down to knowing your customers, which can guide reasons for, and against, gating content.
If you have a clear picture of who your target audience is, and more specifically, the buyer personas therein, then you can create content specifically for them. This should significantly increase your landing page hits and gated content downloads because you’re delivering on what your customer wants.
If you are not completely sure who makes up your target audience though, then gated content is a surefire way to increase your bounce rates. This idea harkens back to a recent blog about the dangers of just marketing to everyone. Sure, gating content for “everyone” might be useful to some, but without a specific audience in mind, neither your business nor many prospects will see the true value in it.
For industrial marketers, the value of gated content is clear: Lead generation. Additionally, you will increase your email list and receive key insights for audience segmentation. But the idea with gated content is that anyone who does sign up for it is clearly interested enough to take that step. Therefore, in theory, they are already qualified – and in some cases ready to convert.
On the prospect side, what it really comes down to is how important the content is to you.
If it’s what you’re looking for and it provides the valuable information you seek to begin solving a problem you’re having, then is it worth a few seconds to sign up for it?