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What is Gated Content?

Posted by Kiley Johnson on Monday, May 23, 2016

Topics: Inbound Marketing, Blogging



what-is-gated-content.gifOne of the most touted benefits of content marketing is its ability to increase quality traffic for your business. By creating targeted content, such as blog articles, eBooks, and infographics, it increases your visibility and likelihood for people to find you. According to Demand Metric, 80% of people appreciate learning about a company through custom content, and 60% of people are inspired to seek out a product after reading content about it. 

As you can see, content marketing is a popular and beneficial practice for many businesses. Where does “gated content” come into the picture? The basic idea is that rather than being freely open to anyone, gated content is behind a figurative gate, such as a form fill. Visitors have to give something like an email address to access the content.

What is the purpose?

You might be wondering why a company might use gated content. Isn’t the point of content marketing to attract many people and educate them? Yes, that is one of the goals, and another important goal for any company practicing inbound marketing is lead generation.

Leads are visitors who have expressed some interest in your product or service. There are different levels of leads with some being more sales ready than others, and it is important for any business to try to bring in leads from every stage of the marketing funnel. Gated content shows that someone is very interested in what you have to offer and likely closer to a decision than someone just browsing your site.

Many people are protective over their contact information, so if they readily give it up in order to see your content, you should definitely take notice. Say you own clothing company named Lothes. You have a gated content offer called “Summer Music Festival Outfit Inspiration Guide,” which would probably be considered an awareness offer since you aren’t specifically selling anything and it includes clothing pieces from many different stores.

You should be aware of the leads you gather from that offer, but they probably aren’t ready to buy quite yet. In the future, they might be and a well-timed email could push them towards becoming a customer.

On the other hand, if you had a gated content offer called “Lothes Ultimate Summer Look Book” featuring your own clothing and tips for styling pieces together, then that could indicate that those leads are very interested in your product and on the verge of buying.

Having different types of gated content allows you to generate more leads and hopefully make more sales.

Precautions

Although gated content can be a great inbound marketing tool, be careful of how often you use it and where you put it. I have just recently started seeing some marketing blogs that allow you to read the first half of the article but the remainder is gated. Every time I see that, I just immediately click the back button or close the tab.

Perhaps, they don’t want readers who aren’t super invested in the text, but I think they might be pushing more people away than anything else. Maybe that’s just my preference though. I can understand gates for premium content but having one for blog articles seems excessive.

You have to be wary of what your visitors want. If you gate all your content, and nobody is submitting for it, then you have a problem. I have seen some really great, top-notch content online that is completely free and accessible, and in those cases, I think that fact helps drive even greater numbers of traffic than gated content might.

Consider whether a gate helps or harms your business. I think it is important to have a mix of both ungated and gated, so people have an idea of the type of content you are producing. I am always extremely hesitant to download anything from an unknown source.

Final Thoughts

Although it can seem annoying sometimes, gated content can be extremely useful in an inbound marketing strategy. It can bring in many leads that you might have otherwise never heard from and help you turn those leads into customers.

Be cautious in how you use the gates and how often you apply them to your content. You don’t want to completely alienate your website visitors that just want to browse your site and learn more about your company. It is such a bother when websites push and push for my email address. Many times I make sure to never visit that site again just to avoid that experience again. Don’t let that happen to your potential customers!

Use gated content for your most exceptional content, but don’t forget to offer something for everyone else too.

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