Content Marketing: Gated or Not?

A common challenge facing many companies is determining what content should be generally available to all website visitors and what content should be reserved as gated assets, requiring users to provide information about themselves before being able to access it.  While there are pros and cons to having gated assets, requiring users to fill out a form with their contact information is an easy and proven way to capture quality leads that have an interest in what your company has to offer.

But before you restrict access to content, it is important to determine which assets should be gated. Blogs and pages that describe the company’s products and services should always be instantly available so these materials can be seen by the broadest audience possible and create traffic through search engine optimization. However, content that underscores your organization’s thought leadership, such as whitepapers, webinars or eBooks, as well as free product trials and demos, should all be gated.  If someone is interested in accessing these items, they are likely to be visitors with a higher level of interest and with greater potential to become your customers.

The next step in gating content is to create forms that provide the customer data you need to initiate and maintain contact with the lead. One of the main things to consider is the length of the submission form. While a short form will result in a higher number of leads, a longer form may result in higher quality leads. Keep in mind, though, that if too many questions are asked, the form can turn away even the most promising lead.

Another crucial step is figuring out exactly what questions to ask. While asking for the user’s name and email address are integral for including leads in an email marketing campaign, additional fields should be used to further qualify the lead and determine how likely they are to become a customer. Questions regarding the user’s role in their organization, industry and number of employees in their company are helpful in determining the quality of the lead. Additionally, asking one or two open-ended questions can further assist in determining how your company’s solutions may help solve the user’s problems.

Gating key assets is an effective strategy in identifying potential and existing customers who are seriously interested in what your company has to offer. And once you have collected the contact information relating to your promising leads, you can develop effective email marketing campaigns targeted to their concerns and showing how your company can meet them. Again, while gated assets may drive some users away, they can be part of a highly effective strategy for getting promising leads through the door.

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