Take your content marketing and lead generation to the next level by incorporating gated content into your next campaign. Here's how to get started.

The rise-and-rise-and-rise of the Internet has placed an enormous amount of information at our fingertips, and everyday we're bombarded with more. Despite this growing mass of information, sometimes it doesn't quite meet our needs. It could be the data is available but it needs analysis. Or maybe the information is there but it costs money to access it.

This creates an opportunity for the savvy marketer. Content that answers customer's information needs can bring in new customers and help existing ones. Publishing this form of content to website article pages and blogs has been used for years to increase the number visitors to a website.

However, the anonymous nature of Web browsing means that you don't have the contact details of these site visitors. Online advertising tries to address this through a technique known as remarketing - a process that allows you to target online ads to people who have visited your website. In remarketing the person receiving the advertising still remains anonymous. 

Gated content differs from remarketing in that it captures an individual's personal details. Most commonly, a user provides their consent to fill out a form with their name, email address and job title in order to gain access to certain content. Other questions can be included to help further identify the lead. Once the lead information is provided, the content can then be accessed by the site visitor. The content is commonly a PDF download, but it can also be an eBook, video, podcast, webinar, data or more. Remember, because you’re collecting a person’s information with this type of marketing, keep in mind that you will be required to comply with the appropriate privacy and spam laws for your location when collecting, storing, using and disclosing that information. 

Make your content valuable

Gated content needs to be valuable enough that people are willing to provide their contact details in the knowledge that they will be marketed to. This also means that the content you are providing should not be easily accessible for free somewhere else.

The closer your content aligns with your audience's needs, the better. If your customer's objectives vary greatly, don't try to cram everything into the one gated content piece. You are better off satisfying the needs of one group with a quality piece than producing a subpar piece. For example, first time buyers who want to learn more about how the property market works have very different information requirements compared to seasoned investors looking for a new opportunity.

The look and feel of your content is also important. Even if your topic and information are good enough for you to capture a lead, a poorly designed PDF, for example, can make the lead less receptive when you contact them. 

It's all in the sell

Your audience won’t be exactly sure what they are getting until they download your content. This means the pitch must be just right to entice someone into providing their contact details. Without a strong call to action, the most compelling gated content may never be seen. Just as importantly, the content you are providing has to be accurate, and live up to the hype of your pitch, otherwise your leads will be disappointed. 

Also consider how much information you ask for in your lead form: requesting essential contact information should be your default position. Asking too much can result in leads providing false data, or not bothering to provide their details at all. If you do ask for more than contact details, try to keep your questions relevant to the content being provided.  

One strategy to help promote your gated content is to share some of the gated content piece for free across different platforms, from your own website to social networks. This can help you reach more potential leads and convince them to provide their information to download the full piece. 

Facebook® and LinkedIn® even allow you to create a lead form on their sites. The user's information from their social network account is pre-populated in the form ready for them to accept your offer, and lead information can even be automatically inserted into your CRM or marketing automation system.   



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