In today’s world of marketing, it’s all about working smarter, not harder.
And if there’s a more strategic and efficient solution to a problem, then why would you not want to utilise it?
Gated content, to put it simply, is any content that visitors are only permitted to access after providing personal information. In most cases, this includes leading information like a users’ name and email address when downloading content assets such as white papers, case studies and eBooks, or attending demos and exhibitions.
So, why do marketers use it? Gated content is a staple in content marketing because it provides the opportunity to refresh data permissions and generate leads by providing prospects with valuable information in exchange for their data. What this means for you is that your sales team aren’t wasting precious time chasing leads that are nowhere near ready to move forward with their inquisition.
But gating isn’t always the most appropriate strategy – requiring prospects to submit personal information in exchange for your content offer can make for an uncomfortable user experience and, in turn, considerably decrease your downloads.
What’s more, the unregulated nature of data input can make gated content a somewhat harmful strategy. How many times have you entered false information into a web form to gain access to free content, for example? This particularly becomes a problem when your marketing automation engine has the capability to append updated information into your contact database, meaning that each and every submission could be compromising your insight.
When Should I Use Gated Content?
Gated content is critical to business growth through its lead generating capabilities, whereas ungated content is crucial for increasing visibility and trust in your brand – so it’s vital that you find the right balance with your marcomms.
If you use gates too early in your marketing strategy for example, you risk scaring away prospects who may have otherwise utilised your services. By holding off on access restriction instead, you can ensure your brand has enough visibility that prospects are aware of your service benefits and that they really trust you – so much so that they don’t mind passing over a few details.
Essentially, you can determine whether your comms should be gated by assessing the goals of your business – brand presence and SEO or lead generation – as well as considering the type of content it is you’re offering. For example, something like a white paper is well-suited to gated content because it provides high-quality information, whereas gating would not necessarily be the best option for a blog, where the ultimate goal is to drive as much traffic to your website as possible.
Can I Avoid Compromising Existing Data?
One way you can maximise the accuracy of your insight is by placing a time or depth delay on your forms, meaning that a user must have reached a certain moment in your content before being required to submit data to proceed.
Although this will reduce the total number of leads from your content, they will be richer in quality – meaning a higher propensity to convert into regular service users and sales, as well as providing you with more specific detail to better focus your resources.
Also relating to time delays, directing users to a confirmation page – after inputting their data – will provide the chance to re-evaluate any provisions of false information. A significant proportion of contacts will return to the original form to correct the fake entry they originally made, if they did so.
Creating A Download Form Using Automation
Lifting this process into a marketing automation engine hosts a whole range of efficiencies in your gated content strategy, including the ability to monitor contact intent and retarget users, as well suppressing unwanted recipients from your send list.
As with anything marcomms-related, this is open to interpretation. But the key steps involved in creating a form for gated content using automation are:
Sending a content link to a predefined start audience using the transaction email status, meaning even unsubscribed contacts can receive the comms
Determine whether contacts downloaded the relevant content within a specified time-frame and immortalise this engagement by adding contacts to a ‘yes’ list
Redistribute comms to subscribed users who have not yet engaged, in case the first email was not time appropriate
End the journey for both users who did or did not subscribe by adding contacts to ‘yes’ or ‘no’ lists
It’s important that contacts can engage with content freely without harassment, so be sure not to overdo it with your follow-ups.
In the same instance, don’t overlook a good ‘thank you’. If your website converts just 5 in every 100 customers, then you shouldn’t take those visitors for granted. After all, website visitors are the closest thing to a paying customer.
What Do Results Look Like?
Because your gated content has been requested by a contact, and the link has been forwarded just moments after, you can expect phenomenal engagement statistics – so remember to plug in your lead scoring metric to ensure you’re retrieving the data that matters.
Based on a full journey, over 85% of contacts requesting your content will go on to consume it, and the sophistication of the marketing automation engine will do the leg work in providing key insights into your strategy – so you can always stay one step ahead of the competition.
Discover more about utilising gated content for lead generation by downloading The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Automation now.
Book a Force24 demo – the UK’s fastest growing marketing automation platform – today. Call: 0845 272 5990 or email: email@example.com.