5 questions to ask when you are choosing gated content for B2B marketing
A successful gated content campaign can be a valuable source of fresh, qualified leads for your B2B marketing activities. Key to this success is choosing a topic that both promises and delivers real value for your target audience and only for your target audience. Here are five questions to ask yourself as you choose the content for your next gated campaign:
Is your content…
1. Uniquely Valuable?
Is the content you are providing interesting and uniquely valuable for users? Will they be sufficiently curious/engaged to share their contact details in order to access it?
Typically gated content promises a complete solution. It promises to be more than just an article or opinion piece, it promises to be a game-changer. Perhaps it is teaching a process, perhaps it is giving unique and detailed insights into a situation. Typical examples would be a special market report, a ‘how to’ guide, a tutorial, a free demonstration etc.
The format will be expected to be more substantial than openly published material. The content is not just another result from thousands users might find through a google search. It is a well-researched and structured response to an issue the reader would otherwise have to spend a lot of time and energy researching on their own; a trusted source of authority. So think tutorial rather than video, report rather than article, eBook rather than blog post.
2. Interesting only for the target group?
Is the content specific enough that it will only be of interest to the target group you want to reach? Without asking any questions or requesting personal data, gated content should pre-qualify your leads. Your content and the marketing of your content will produce the best ROI if it appeals only to the people you want to talk to.
You always need a title, headline and piece of content that will clearly be of interest to people who might buy your product. The more focused your appeal the better. Let’s say that you are promoting a lead management solution to B2B marketers and your target audience is heads of sales departments at large corporates. “Discover a revolutionary technique for segmenting and scoring large volumes of B2B leads” is likely to get you more relevant results than just “Discover a revolutionary technique for managing your B2B leads”. While the appeal of the latter may be broader, the right people are going to be attracted to your first headline. If they have huge volumes of leads and are struggling to manage them, the more focused headline should speak directly to them and they will be likely to give their data and access the content. If they are not in this group they will keep browsing, saving their time and yours.
Tip: Why not include some quotes from people in your target group on the landing page. If these important people in the industry / people in similar roles have found the content interesting, then others in these positions probably will too.
3. Solving a real pain point for your target group?
So, you’ve made sure your content addresses the right group of people. The next question is, does the content address a pain point currently felt by them? Your content should offer solutions/suggestions/ideas to solve an issue your target group is experiencing right now.
To ensure relevance you need to be up to date with what is going on in the world and in your target industry. What are people in the roles you are targeting worrying about today? Will the headline speak directly to the problem they are facing right now? Is the content you are creating addressing the prime concerns of your target group? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then they will complete the form and access your content.
Two recent examples of relevancy spring to mind: During the introduction of the GDPR rules in 2019 almost any piece of content directed at people in online consumer businesses needed to reference the topic, as it dominated every aspect of the industry for a time. By the same token, any piece of content marketed at the height of the corona epidemic had to be about the response to that crisis from the point of view of the specific industry.
In ‘normal’ times the topics are likely to be more niche to the industry you are targeting. The point is that your topic needs to be about the prime issue on your audience’s mind.
4. Solving the same pain point as your product?
Do your products/services also solve this pain point? The pain point solved by your content and the product/service you provide should align. Ideally, this content will be only the start of a solution that will be provided by your product/service.
Not only does your content have to attract people in the right roles and be relevant to them, it also has to be relevant to your product. There is little point in attracting a lot of leads and solving their problems, if those problems are not relevant to your product. For example, you might attract heads of finance departments with a piece of gated content about how best to recruit financial professionals. However, if the product you are selling is bookkeeping software you have achieved little more than a list of cold leads and ROI on that campaign is likely to be poor.
Effective gated content should filter for leads that are experiencing the very pain point your product solves. A more effective piece of gated content for your bookkeeping software might promise solutions for working with older systems, or how to manage invoicing more efficiently. Topics with a niche appeal that only those experiencing issues with their old systems and wanting to improve their bookkeeping processes will be attracted to. In other words, a piece of content that will generate useful leads and not waste money advertising to those who already have an up to date bookkeeping system.
Ultimately, the point of your content is to solve a type of problem that the product will also solve. It should be the first step on a journey of building trust and offering value that results in sales, lifetime value and brand loyalty.
5. A natural upsell?
Is the piece of content relevant enough to lead to a natural upsell? Your product and brand will be present in your content, but perhaps only directly mentioned a couple of times. The trick is to make the content lead to your product ‘naturally’ without turning it into a sales pitch. Your leads will be interested by the solution you have provided and want to discover more about the brand.
Imagine you are promoting a SaaS solution that helps small and medium-sized businesses plan and execute their objectives. The sooner you can get them engaged in the process of strategic planning the better. A simple worksheet could be the right piece of gated content in this scenario; introducing the target audience to the benefits and possibilities of a goal-setting process which they will need the paid solution to effectively execute.
Your gated content should provide a taste of your expertise, a glimpse of how much value you can bring. The reader/viewer should be left wanting more, intrigued, feeling impressed and warm about your brand and ‘sharp-set’ for the next communication from you, be that a call or sales email.