Gated content is content that is only available to readers who agree to provide some information in exchange for reading the content. This could be an email address, cell phone number or other information. To use gated content for lead generation, it's important that you understand which content is best for using this way and which content is not.
Don't Block Everything
To use gated content best, it's important that you don't block every bit of your content to the public. If you do, you're also blocking search engines, and you're not giving your audience enough chance to get to know you so that they trust you with their private information. It's a good idea to give some measure of usable, relevant and interesting content before blocking your users with a gate.
Make Gated Content Special
Content such as white papers, webinars, eBooks, reports, and even professional-level questions and answers are perfect to use for gated content. Some business owners successfully gate forums and private Facebook Groups in order to collect leads. If those who sign up feel special, they'll happily give over their information.
Gated Content Should Provide Value
If your white paper is too general in nature, it should not be gated. The gated content should be valuable enough and specialized enough that someone would be willing to pay money for it. If it's just more keyword-rich content full of general information it should not be behind a gate; it should be attracting search engine traffic. When creating gated content, ask yourself if you'd pay for this information before putting it behind a gate.
Create a Community
A very valuable way to create gated content that people will be happy to sign up for is to create a community around the information. You might include a forum, free webinars, and information that is so excusive and special that the community will happily pay for it if you charged them, but they currently receive the information because they are part of a particular community.
It depends on your niche, but some highly successful and informative online magazines and newspapers not only require a sign up to view the information – they also require payment. Not only do they get paid when the person signs up, they also collect the name to use as a lead for many different uses and marketing. If your information is worth a small payment, people will be more than willing to sign up if given a taste first.
Gated Content Should be Sharable
Even though you have gated the content, to create even more leads put share buttons on the content. When the lead's friends see the share, they'll click through and be given a teaser, then be prompted to sign up to read the rest or receive the information. Due to the fact that a friend shared it, they're more likely to sign up to view the gated content.
Create a Valuable Case Study Library
People love viewing success stories. One way to create gated content that people will be happy to hand over their information for is to create private case studies that only those who sign up to receive the information can view. This will not only help you get more case studies due to privacy issues, but it will also make the content feel super valuable.
Understand the Buying Stages of Your Consumer
No matter what industry you're in, there is a set buying cycle or stage. Every consumer goes through these stages: awareness, evaluation, and purchase. Understand which stage is best to collect leads through gated content. Most of the time you don't want to gate awareness information unless you can justify it due to its value. However, do gate some of your evaluative information. And of course the purchase stage is always gated in terms of payment and collecting other information.
Leads collected in this manner have been shown to be more responsive than purchased leads. In some cases, gated leads are also called “freebies” or “bait” or even “bribes.” Some successful websites gate a good portion of their blog posts and only offer a limited amount of “free” content to the public. It depends on your niche as well as the value of your information whether or not gated information will work for gathering leads.