Gating content can be a useful lead generation and nurturing strategy in professional services marketing. In a nutshell, gating content involves requiring the reader to exchange some amount of information before being given access to a piece of content.
B2B content marketing is meant to be informational and solidify a particular firm’s industry expertise. Firms do this by creating a piece of valuable, educational content and using it to capture leads. This can be a great strategy and has proven to be effective in both lead generation, as well as lead nurturing.
The debate around whether or not it is useful to gate your content continues and will continue as long as people are willing to offer information about themselves for something in return. Let’s not get into that debate right now. Instead, let's discuss 3 things you need to consider before you do in fact decide to gate your content.
1) Do You Have the Right Type of Content?
A complete content marketing strategy should include several different forms of content. These can include:
- Blog Posts
- Research Studies
Much of your information will be on similar topics and be interwoven throughout these different forms of content. If you do not have any of the forms listed after videos in the list above, gating content may not be appropriate at this point. The purpose of the shorter or “flow” content is to act as a hook and draw visitors into your content. The goal is to then offer a more significant piece of content for download, such as a guide or book, behind a registration or form fill. We will cover that shortly.
2) Will Your Ungated Content Drive Conversions?
This is where the discussion of quality over quantity comes into play. Many firms make the mistake of pumping out content just to get as many keywords as possible into Google’s index. This is not a smart strategy. If your blog posts, articles, and/or whitepapers are generic and low quality, both readers and search engines will know it. If they even make it to the end of your piece of content, they’ll look at your call-to-action (“Download our eBook Here,” for example) and move on. Instead, invest in high-quality, well-written content that is useful and informative. At the end of the day, people do not have a problem exchanging their email address if they feel like they are going to get something valueable in return.
3) How Much Information Do You Really Need to Ask For?
Sure, most people won’t mind giving you their email address in exchange for a great piece of content. But there is a thin line that separates asking for a fair amount of information and asking for too much information. Two problems arise when you start asking for too much information:
- People do not want to spend extra time filling out several fields on a registration form.
- People will start to question your intentions if you begin to ask for too much information.
Once you begin to require more than a name and an email address, expect your conversion rates to start dropping. Of course, it would be useful for your sales team to know what specific problems that person encounters in their current position or to have their phone number and address on file. You have to ask yourself if those pieces of information are absolutely necessary. If not, do not make them “required” or remove them from your form completely.
A B2B content marketing strategy that includes gated content can be very successful. Not only can you drive qualified leads, you can nurture those that have already downloaded a piece of content with additional content and more middle and bottom of the funnel calls-to-action. Just be sure to have a solid plan and great content.
For more information on using content marketing for different stages of the sales cycle, check out our free Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services.