Gated content: what is it and how to create it

Gated content: what is it and how to create it

Closed content — This is a fairly popular marketing tool today, which is used mainly in the B2B sector for lead generation. Surely you have already repeatedly received messages like “how to get stable passive income with minimal effort?” Enter your email address and we will tell you everything in more detail.” This is closed content, which we will talk about now.

There are many opinions around it, even more speculation, there are advantages of using it, and there are also disadvantages. But in order to determine for yourself whether you should use it in practice, you need to clearly understand what exactly we are talking about, what advantages and disadvantages this solution has, what impact it has on lead generation it can provide. We will try to find answers to these questions in our review. We will tell you when it is necessary to close content and how to create high-quality material with minimal waste of time and effort, how to automate the process of collecting leads without the risk of getting banned.

What is gated content

Already the very word “closed” It becomes clear that in this case we are talking about material to which access is not provided to all users, but only to a certain category through the so-called lead capture form. Often, to gain access to such material, a person needs to enter his contact information and also answer several questions. Once this form is submitted, she is granted access. Often the content itself is quite practical, informative, and voluminous. And it will always be free. With its help, marketers collect data about users in order to send them conversion-oriented materials, informational messages, or be able to directly contact a potential client.

But in general, closed content is considered a controversial tactic today. The fact is that network users are already accustomed to the fact that they can obtain the necessary information from the Internet absolutely freely and without any restrictions. And the fact that they are required to provide contact information for no apparent reason or reason worries many and raises a number of doubts about the advisability of performing such actions. This in turn makes it much more difficult to distribute the material. This is why experts do not recommend starting to get to know your audience with restricted content. That is, initially you must show users that your material is really worth their attention and time, increase the level of trust, and only then ask for contact information.

Closed content includes all types of text, multimedia, and graphic material that contain certain values. That is, when you ask potential clients to give you access to their email or instant messenger, you must offer them something valuable in return. The following are most often used as closed content:

  • check sheets;
  • e-books;
  • guides;
  • audio recordings;
  • working templates;
  • statistics and research results;
  • webinars.

Gated content is often called a lead magnet due to the fact that it is primarily focused on the needs of a specific target audience. That is, you understand perfectly well who you are providing this material to and that it will be truly useful to the user. As an example, you might offer a marketer the latest market statistics in his niche in exchange for his contacts. A marketer will probably provide you with his email if you can provide him with information about the target audiences you have formed in a particular area of business.

Now a little about the importance of gated content at one or another stage of the user’s journey to the client.

Gated content and customer journey

Every potential buyer who turns to your website for certain goods or services goes from an ordinary network user to a client. That is, here he needs to overcome several stages: awareness, consideration, completion of the target action or conversion. That is, initially the person must be notified that you have the solutions, goods or services he needs, and tell about them. At the review stage, the user evaluates the quality of the product, the price, coming to the conclusion that it is on your website that he will find the most profitable solution for himself. And the last stage — This is a conversion, namely the completion of a target action. We are talking about contacting store representatives, placing an order, etc. And one of the most important tasks of any marketer – correctly guide a potential client through all these stages, ensuring that in the end he places an order. Are you planning to use closed content to achieve your goals? Here you need to consider at what stage of interaction your potential client is at a given moment:

  1. Nuances of closed content at the awareness stage. That is, initially any person is aware of the problem itself, and then begins to look for ways to solve it. That is, initially it will be information. All the requests that he will send to the network will be of an informational nature. In addition, they will be wide enough even for the B2B niche. This is the stage at which the first interaction between a potential client and your brand will take place: a person in the search results will see your website and visit it. That is, you need to understand that the person does not know you and is not ready to trust you. That is, immediately offer him closed content — this would not be a very smart decision. You'll just push him away from any future interactions. That is why at the awareness stage your main task is not to ask for contact information, but to show that you are ready to offer the person a solution to their problem. This will best be facilitated by open content posted on the site pages. That is, you must provide them with value and make them think about turning to you for a solution to the problem.
  2. The nuances of closed content are under consideration. At this stage, a person already knows not only the problem, but also ways to solve it. But now he is at the stage of choice: which decision will be the most correct? That is, the most accurate and professional content is already needed here. And for this they are already looking for webinars, official documents, manuals, that is, tools that will help them solve the problem they have encountered. Here, the likelihood that a person will provide you with his data in response to the decisions he needs is already much higher than at the awareness stage. So here you can safely launch closed content.
  3. The nuances of gated content at the conversion stage. This is the stage at which a person is ready to make a purchase. And here you can launch the landing pages of your website, demonstrate in detail products and other material that is focused specifically on a specific product or service. It is also important to convey information about the features of the purchase, about all the benefits that a person will receive if he turns to you. By doing this, you will show the potential buyer that you are ready to offer the best solution to their problem, both in quality and price. Through closed content, you can offer the buyer additional discounts or bonuses on the product he needs, free shipping and other tools that would encourage him to place an order on your website.

As you can see, it is recommended to launch gated content exclusively at the review and conversion stage. At the awareness stage, it will be useless and will only push away the potential buyer.

Advantages and disadvantages of closed content

At the beginning of our review, we said that today closed content is considered a controversial decision. That is, not everything is as simple here as it might seem at first glance, and now you know why. But still, you must understand what advantages and disadvantages this solution has. Let's start with the cons:

  1. Psychological barrier. For a number of users, providing personal information — this is something that he is not ready to step over, even if in the end he receives the information that he needs at a given moment.
  2. Difficulties with SEO. The fact is that closed content — this is a separate file that will be downloaded or sent via email. This means that the system will not see it and will not index it. That is, it will not have any impact on the promotion of the site or brand as a whole. But at the same time, they have already said that the content itself should be truly useful and professional. Exactly the way both users and the search engine would like to see it.

The psychological barrier cannot be called a clear disadvantage. The fact is that it is precisely by this that one can identify unqualified leads, that is, those people who are still not mentally ready to purchase a product or service. That is, if a person needs it, then he will really provide his contact information, and if he does not provide it, then most likely he does not need it. In turn, this will save you time on processing orders and effort on working with users who will not bring you conversion.

Now let’s describe the advantage of closed content:

  1. Increasing lead generation. Practice shows that gated content can increase lead generation by an average of 80%. But this is true if you follow all launch recommendations.
  2. Minimum material costs to attract the target audience. Compared to other marketing tools, creating and launching gated content will be a fairly budget-friendly solution, especially when you take into account the conversion rate from it.
  3. Increasing the level of trust in the brand. If a person has already provided you with his contact information, this means that he really trusts you. And in addition to this, if he appreciates your content, there is a high probability that he will share information about your company with his friends, acquaintances, people who have encountered similar problems and are looking for solutions.

But we still want to draw your attention to the fact that in order to satisfy the requests of potential clients, you need not only to provide them with high-quality gated content, but also to put the landing page of your website in order. That is, you must do everything that will allow a potential client to finally be convinced of your reliability and facilitate placing an order.

When to use gated content

And now you, as business representatives or marketers, need to make a final decision about whether you will use gated content in practice or not. Today there are brands that have completely switched to closed content. They managed to generate enough interest with their calls to action that people actually leave their contact information in order to gain access to what they need and the material. But there are only a few resources that managed to achieve success in this way. All other companies are trying to use gated content more narrowly, namely as additional tools to stimulate sales for certain categories of users. Yes, and it is not suitable for everyone. Imagine a situation where a person has a burst pipe, when he urgently needs a plumber, and you invite him to leave his contact information in order to read why the pipe burst or what tools he needs to have on hand to fix the problem. He is looking for a quick solution, not advice.

So should your business use gated content? To find the answer to this question you need:

  • determine whether gated content will be valuable specifically for your target audience;
  • clearly understand how your potential clients behave on the site, how interested they are in the material you provide;
  • understand whether gated content actually fits into the sales funnel of your business.

That is, in order to understand how effective gated content will be in your case, you need to understand what goal you set for yourself by launching it: do you want to increase your audience reach, increase the value of the product, or expand ideas for its use. It is also necessary to evaluate the traffic of your resource in order to understand how large the audience to which you want to offer closed content may be.

And don’t forget that initially it is still important for you to create a truly valuable information product. Otherwise, all your ideas will not give the desired result. Yes, you will have users’ contact information, but they will not interact with you, simply believing that you simply stole their data and did not satisfy their requests.

Creating high-quality gated content: tips and tricks

How your audience will react to the gated content you provide depends on many factors that we have already discussed above, in particular:

  • stage where your potential client is currently located;
  • a set of problems and questions that a person faces at a given moment in time;
  • exclusivity and value of the material provided;
  • general marketing strategy for your business;
  • what is more important to you: increasing traffic or the number of qualified leads.

Now we will give a number of recommendations that will allow you to create excellent closed content that will fully satisfy the needs of your potential audience and help you achieve your goal.

Guidelines for creating gated content

In order to get gated content that will actually be effective in practice and fully fit into your chosen marketing strategy, you need to follow these recommendations:

  1. Choose the right content format. We have already said more than once that it should be as valuable as possible for the user. That is, you need to have a good understanding of the preferences of your target audience. How to do it? Evaluate the popularity of the materials presented on your blog, check the same content posted on the pages of your competitors, evaluate the behavior of users on the site, namely what transitions they make, which pages are closed faster than others. If possible, be sure to conduct a preliminary survey on the same social networks in order to find out what kind of material would be useful and interesting for your audience.
  2. We determine the correct stage of the sales funnel. Here you need to clearly understand at what stage of interaction with your brand this or that client is. So, for some you can offer case studies, which can be more attributed to the phase of assessment and manifestation of intentions, while for others — directly practical recommendations and ways to solve the problem, the third — tell them about the benefits they will receive from placing an order in your store.
  3. Create the most professional landing page possible. We have already mentioned its importance not only when working with restricted content, but also for promoting business in general. It should contain a compelling description of your products or services, social proof of their value, and a call to action. To optimize such a page, you need to use key queries.
  4. Create a page dedicated to gratitude. This is a kind of block with reviews, where users will post their opinions about cooperation with you. Here you can maintain contact with them and motivate them to take further actions. Alternatively, you can remind the client to check their email to find useful materials there, rate them, receive an additional discount, or take advantage of some special offer. This is what will help improve the qualification of leads, which will ultimately lead to more intensive conversion collection.
  5. Always keep your promises. That is, if you said that in response to providing an email, a person will receive the material he needs, a promotional code for a discount, be sure to provide it. If you don't do this, the client will simply lose interest in your brand. You don't have to keep track of all this yourself; you can automate most of the process, including sending emails to clients. You must also offer users the opportunity to contact you if they have any technical problems or any other difficulties.
  6. Continue to work with leads even after receiving a contact. What do you do next if a user does take advantage of your offer and provide their email in exchange for gated content? At this stage, you should already have developed an effective sales strategy depending on each stage of the funnel. That is, you must regularly send letters to the client or find other ways to communicate with him, informing him about literally every subsequent step, bringing him closer to the decision to place an order. Statistics show that if a customer doesn't contact you 3 days or more after filling out your form, then all your efforts will come to naught. It’s not worth waiting for conversion from him.
  7. Constantly monitor the results of your work. You need to understand which of your actions gave a good result, and which, on the contrary, gave a poor result. Accordingly, in the future you will need to focus specifically on successful actions, implementing them when working with other representatives of the target audience. Google Analytics will help you with this. Use the obtained indicators to optimize your strategy.

To summarize

As you can see, gated content will be a very useful lead generation tool, but only in certain niches and with the right approach. By following the recommendations given in our review, you will be able to determine the advisability of using it for yourself personally, and you will also be able to create material that will be truly useful and valuable both for promoting your business and for your potential buyers.

This work will also require you to spend quite a lot of time and effort. But all this can be greatly simplified if you rely on workflow automation. That is, you can connect additional software to your work, which will take on the solution of similar and routine tasks, thereby freeing up enough time for you to generally develop a business development strategy. There are quite a lot of such services on the market today, and you yourself choose the option that will best suit your needs. But we want to warn you that they all work exclusively through mobile proxies. That is, you will not be able to interact with them directly, because the system will detect multi-threaded actions and immediately block them.

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