For any small business looking to generate marketing leads, gated content is one of the smartest tactics available. Gated content is content that’s not available to just anyone — users have to provide some information in exchange for access to it. For example, if you’ve ever shared your name, email address and phone number with a website in order to download a white paper, or take a webinar, you’ve accessed gated content.
Gated content works best for B2B companies. Here’s how you can use it to get more marketing leads.
Create high-value content. In order to get leads to share their valuable contact information with you, you need to provide something useful in exchange. Think about your prospective customers’ biggest problems, questions and pain points. Then develop gated content that helps address those needs. Here are some ideas:
- Downloadable e-book
- A how-to guide
- Templates relevant to your prospective customers’ needs that they can re-use
- Results of a comprehensive survey or research project
- A series of videos
- A video tutorial
Attract users to your gated content. One good way to generate interest in gated content is by using smaller content items to get attention. For instance, suppose you are an IT consulting business and have created a white paper about data security. Share a blog post or infographic on that topic, including a hyperlinked call to action such as “To learn more about how you can protect your business data, get our free white paper.”
Develop a detailed landing page. When users click on your offer for the gated content, they should go to a specific landing page with enticing marketing copy conveying the benefits of your gated content and details about what they can expect in exchange for sharing their contact information. Don’t overpromise or be misleading — you don’t want customers to be disappointed in your business but, but rather to be impressed with the value they get from you.
Ask for the right information. In order to help qualify the marketing leads you obtain through the use of gated content, you should ask for the person’s name, company name, email address and job title. Depending on the value of the gated content you’re sharing, you may want to ask for additional details such as phone number, company size, industry and whether the person is involved in purchasing. You can also make filling out some fields optional so that prospects can share as much or as little as they feel comfortable with.
Follow up on the leads you’ve obtained. Use an automated email campaign to follow up with your marketing leads by sharing relevant content. For instance, the IT consultant mentioned earlier could send prospects who download the white paper a series of emails sharing related information, such as the latest cybersecurity trends, statistics and blog posts, as well as information about the company’s services. Depending on the nature of your business and the information you’ve collected from the prospect, you can also follow up with phone calls or direct mail.
Use progressive profiling to pull prospects deeper into the sales funnel. You can offer increasingly valuable types of gated content to get additional information from prospects. For example, you would probably ask for less information to download a white paper than to access a 64-page e-book. As prospects show greater interest in your gated content, you can ask for increasingly valuable data from them in exchange.
By using gated content wisely, you can attract more marketing leads and convert more customers.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.