Gated content is an eBook protected by the Sphinx—and the answer to its riddle happens to be your email address.
WHAT IS GATED CONTENT?
Gated content is premium content held behind a virtual "gate," which typically is a form your reader must fill out before accessing it. Gated content is often used as a powerful lead generation tool. Your gated content might require users to subscribe to a newsletter, give you their email address, or even sign up for a free trial of your product before moving forward.
In order to convince customers to give you their precious info, however, the content behind the gate can't be just a regular, run-of-the-mill blog post. Instead, it needs to be premium content that contains exclusive information or statistics your audience can't find anywhere else.
How Do You Use Gated Content for Lead Generation?
Gated content requires interested readers to pay the "toll" of providing you with information before they can pass. Like the Sphinx, it helps keep away users who aren't genuinely interested in what lies on the other side. In order to access the content, users must provide you with their email address or other contact information. It's a win/win: users get their premium content, and you get a way to contact them again in the future.
Once you have captured that vital contact information, you can use it to connect further with users and bring them into the sales funnel. The specific type of content they accessed might tell you more about what they need from your brand: the services they want to know about, the products they might purchase, or even what information they're most likely to need from you in the future. From there, you can add them to your email list or spend them specific communications about additional features they're likely to appreciate.
Common Examples of Gated Content
Gated content comes in all shapes and sizes:
- Longer-length content, including eBooks and white papers
- Long-form email series
- Enhanced video content
- Product demonstrations
The type of gated content you want to provide for your users will depend on your industry and the tools you have to offer your audience. For example, if you offer software, you might offer a demo of your product. On the other hand, if you're a marketing consultant, you might gate a webinar that discusses the latest algorithm changes and what they mean for SEO.
Why is Gated Content Helpful for Building an Email List?
Gated content is incredibly efficient in helping to build an email list because it captures information from leads that are already interested in the services your business has to offer. It sorts out random browsers who don't really care about the information and creates a line of communication between you and your lead.
Gating content also allows you to segment your email lists according to the specific type of content users are interested in. This means you can deliver more targeted content to users' inboxes, increasing the odds that they'll find value in your communications and stay on your list.
Best Practices for Creating Gated Content
There are a few best practices to keep in mind to make sure your gated content is as effective as possible.
Answer exactly the questions your leads are seeking to answer.
You should provide a preview of gated content before users access it, which is usually a summary or a small snippet of the greater article. Do not raise questions in the summary that the full content doesn't answer, or try to fake out your leads by claiming to answer one question but actually answering another when they get into the content.
Provide premium solutions.
In order to entice customers to provide contact information, your gated content should provide better information than what they can access elsewhere. This value is what incentivizes customers to get over that hurdle, fill out the form, and go through the gate.
Include a solid landing page.
Usually, the landing page is the first page users will visit after providing their contact information. Your landing page should be clear, comprehensive, and show users exactly where they need to click next (or what steps they need to take next, in the case of a download or email series) to access the information you've offered.
The Key Difference Between Gated Content and Non-Gated Content
In general, there are two key differences between gated content and non-gated content.
First, the gate itself: interested parties cannot access the content without providing information that will allow you to connect with them in the future.
Second, gated content should be truly premium content: something that users cannot get elsewhere, making it worth going through your gate. It should deliver a deep understanding of your industry, information that provides a genuine benefit to your audience, and specific, comprehensive answers to their questions.
Gated and ungated content each have their purpose in your content strategy. Ungated content casts a wider net and will generate more traffic, since users don't have to give up anything to access it. Gated content, on the other hand, won't attract as big an audience, but that audience will likely be farther along in the funnel and much more likely to convert.
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