An Introduction to Content Gating and Why Businesses Should Use It

by Lois Leonard

5 min read

Content gating is one of the most effective ways for small business owners to market. Unlike traditional marketing techniques like like cold calling, advertising and blanket email blasting, content gating brings leads directly to you. When content gating is used correctly, leads will request information directly from the business’ website while also providing some personal key information that will help you through sales process.

What is Content Gating?

Content gating works by incentivizing lead generation. Lead generation is a form of marketing where the consumer initiates the inquiry for a company’s products or services. For example, if you’re an accountant who wants to attract new small business owners as new clients, you could develop a website that offers a report that provides the top 10 tax tips for new business owners. Leads would need to fill out personal information and any questions on the website before they receive access to the report. From there, you can reach out to or continue to market to the potential clients, now that you have their personal information.

Benefits of Content Gating

The biggest benefit to content gating is getting personalized information about the website’s visitors. To receive the incentive, the lead needs to fill out a form that the business owner put together. The more detailed the questionnaire is, the more useful it will be. This information is also a useful tool and help gauge how interested the lead is purchasing the goods or services. The follow-up information can be used to reach out to the lead to further the potential sale opportunity. However, the lead could easily put in false information to receive the incentive, so business owners need to be aware of false data.

What Types of Content Work When They’re Gated?

Types of content that work very well with content gating include:

  • Infographics: These are data sheets that are presented in a visually appealing and easy way. Infographics are the most simplistic form of content for a business owner to create but is also the least effective.
  • Case studies or white papers: These are in-depth, written academic style articles that add credibility to the product or service being sold. This form of content can work well but can sometimes be too data driven and will have a hard time keeping the lead engaged.
  • E-books: This type of content takes time to create but can be very effective to further drive sales. It allows you to further explain your company’s benefits and values. It also gives more detailed information about the different products and services your company offers. Like the rest of the content forms, an e-book still needs to be engaging to the lead to transition it into a sale.

Videos and podcasts: Videos and podcasts are the most effective form of content to use and helps drive leads. A video or podcast is a visual or audio clip that is informative and engaging. More importantly, it has all the same information that may be contained in an e-book, but in a more visually engaging product. With a video or podcast, leads can both see and listen to the message that is being delivered, which makes it much more effective than anything that is just written. Regardless of the platform, the most important quality is that the content needs to be attractive enough for potential leads to input their personal information. If there is no draw to the content, then no one will request it, and the content gate will fail.

What Types of Data Should Be Collected?

The information that should be requested depends entirely on the business but should be customized to help further the sales process. Basic information like the lead’s name, address, contact phone and email should always be requested. Having a more in-depth questionnaire will help you further understand the needs of the lead. For example, a real estate agent could ask questions that pertain to the type and size of home the lead is looking for. An accountant could ask questions about the lead’s business structure and its annual sales. Having too many questions could dissuade leads from inputting their information; although a questionnaire can be in-depth, it should not be too long. Other data can be collected at the back end of the incentive offer, after the lead has either downloaded or viewed the content. This information can be in the form of feedback or another incentive request to collect even more content. This can also be the part where the lead can ask the business to make contact or schedule an appointment.

Crafting the Right Call to Action

A call to action is extremely important when using content gating marketing. The call to action can potentially make or break the potential lead. The first call to action is the incentive to request the content. Leads should not be able to just download or view the desirable content without contributing their personal information. Calls to action need to demonstrate that when requesting the information, the lead will get some value. Calls to action should also convey urgency, as the lead could potentially never visit the website again. The wording of a call to action is also very important. Having a button that says “submit” or “read more” does not have any urgency or importance. Instead, words like “Click here for your FREE report” or “Yes, I’d like to know how to lower my taxes” are much better actionable examples. The second call to action will be after the lead downloads or views the content. This needs to be highly visible and easy for the lead to find; otherwise, it has a high change of being overlooked. Like the first call to action, this needs to have similar wording that drives the lead to take further action. A lead should want to follow up or get more information. Otherwise, the lead could be just looking for free information and eventually lose interest in the product or service.

References & Resources

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