Bizmut’s Caroline de Villeneuve has helped many clients develop gated content strategies big and small. Here she shares her thoughts on when a gated strategy is useful and tips on how to run one successfully.
As B2B marketers we are always looking for good quality, well-qualified leads. If your direct response traffic is not generating the leads you want, then it’s worth considering promoting gated content as an alternative form of lead bait.
Gated Content is premium content that is only available to users after they have shared some personal data. Typically, in B2B marketing, this would be a name, email address, role and company name. Gated content attracts the people you want to talk to, showcases your solution, and gives you the permissions and data you need to keep communicating with them effectively.
The added value of gated content
Much more than just expanding your potential audience, gated content helps qualify and educate your B2B leads. Ideally, your content-offer will promise a solution to a real pain point for the target group you want to talk to. It will attract the attention of the right people and provide a valuable resource to them, introducing your brand in a very positive light. However, with gated content you get more than just recognition, you get leads, data and the opportunity to continue the conversation.
Once they have given their personal data and accessed your content, the user will enter into a customer journey that should lead seamlessly to conversion. You have the data you need to communicate with them further, to sell to them, and to build your relationship with them by providing more valuable content in the future.
What are the different types of gated content?
In B2B marketing, gated content is often associated with larger and more substantial pieces of content. E-books, studies or white papers are typically offered in pdf format once a visitor has shared their email and perhaps personal details such as employer and role.
However, gated content does not always have to be large or academic. A gated content strategy can hinge on very simple and easy to create content, so long as that content offers value to your target audience. A simple listicle of tips and tricks or a useful checklist could be enough to attract a new audience and engage them in your customer journey.
Choosing your topics for gated content
Your gated content should be uniquely valuable for the people you want to target and should solve the same problems as the product you are selling. Such content is the first step on the journey to getting the full solution and, because it is niche, will ensure that the leads it generates are pre-qualified.
Let’s say you are marketing CRM software to small and medium sized enterprises. Many of these businesses may not know a lot about the topic and find a basic ‘Introduction to successful CRM for SMEs’ very useful. Offer a video or pdf with this solution and exactly the people you want to talk to would likely sign up. The introduction will help solve their problem, but to really nail their CRM strategy, they are going to need the full service you offer – as your piece of content will make abundantly clear.
How much information to ask for in exchange for your content
Of course, the information you can get could be very valuable for you, but ask for a lot of personal data and you’re likely to lose potential leads. This is an area you should test into. A/B test different lengths of forms to discover where the quality v. quantity of leads sweet spot is for you.
Usually, the key goal of gated content is to get an email from the visitor and feed them into an engagement program that will keep them interested in your service and moving towards becoming a customer. The right piece of content will have already ensured that your lead is in your target group and made them feel good about your brand. Whether you follow up with an email, a retargeting campaign or a phone call, your content should have already done half the work for you.
Of course, if they still need more persuasion then that’s ok as well. You already have the information you need to segment these leads and target them with more relevant content and offers.
In my upcoming series of blogposts I will expand on these ideas around gated content by covering topics like how and where to source ideas for your content, what criteria you should consider when prioritizing content ideas and how to think about tracking and attribution for B2B gated content lead generation.