Good news – there’s a good chance that you’re already pretty familiar with Gated Content. You’ve probably at one point swapped in your email for a piece of online content. Gated Content is a powerful inbound marketing technique that when used properly can have great results and benefit your business.
But how do you know if your business will benefit from having Gated Content?
First, let’s go through the basics.
What is Gated Content?
Essentially, Gated Content means putting up a piece of your content behind a form (gate) so people have to trade their info in to access it. After the recipient fills out their information on the form, the gated content usually gets to the recipient by email or the form thank you page directs them to the page the gated content lives on.
Then they get your content and their contact info ends up in early stages of your sales funnel. Having Gated Content helps to convert anonymous leads and turn question mark leads into qualified leads.
The Benefits of Using Gated Content:
Capturing Lead’s Contact Info
This is one of the best starting points for a potential sale.
Capturing the contact info of anonymous leads (especially their email) is how you will communicate with your new lead in the future. Without an email, there’s no point of contact to engage in a conversation with the lead, and you can’t do much else without at least a point of contact.
Learn About Your Leads
Once you know what your leads are interested in, you can follow up with personalized content.
Especially when you have multiple pieces of content, you can track who’s downloading what. Gathering information on your leads is key for Content Marketing and lend to a more personalized experience. You can also use personalization when you contact your leads (but don’t be too creepy). Personalize an email with your lead’s first name in the subject line.
Lists and Lead Organization
Once they’re filled out that initial form, your leads can now be separated into lists. Your team can put them into email drip campaigns, or send specific lists information that they might find useful based on what they’ve downloaded on your site.
This is one of the most important parts of gating content. Once you’ve collected leads and their contact info through your Gated Content form, you can now use that info to nurture those leads (link to article on lead nurturing).
How to Set Up Gated Content in SharpSpring
- Have a great piece of content that is ready for the world to see.
- Log into SharpSpring and click under Content > Forms.
- Create a new form following the guidelines and best practices for creating forms and fields.
- Use the option to submit form data to either a thank you page or a custom thank you iframe.
- Create an email with the Gated Content piece/thank you to send out once someone fills out the form.
- Once your form is complete, create or define a list that people who fill out your form will end up in. Click under Automation > Lists. Later, you can use this list to reach out to those leads.
- Set your list’s rules depending on who you want to notify, when they will be added to the list, and any other rules needed.
- Next, go to Automation > Workflows. Send the email with the content in it from here if you’re going that route.
- Now over to Automation > Tasks. Give your task a name and add any triggers or filters. If you have more than one piece of gated content, you can add as many triggers as needed. Set the timing. For gated content, it’s often more beneficial to send the content over right away. Add the workflow you just created and save your task.
- Always test your forms and workflows to make sure everything is running smoothly.
Send a Thank You
Send a quick thank you email or follow up to confirm that your lead can now have access to the content they were looking for in the first place. It also confirms that they’ve filled out the form correctly and can contact you back if necessary.
Make Your Content Easily Accessible
Make sure they can access that content again without having to re-fill out that form every time they want to access it. For example, make your Gated Content into a downloadable PDF so people can save it.
Respect Your Leads
Respect those filling out your forms. You still want to respect the privacy of the people filling out the form, so don’t ask them for too much personal information. Make sure it’s as clear as possible that you will be collecting their information and that they might be receiving some communication from your business in the future.
Gate the Right Kind of Content
What you decide to gate is on a case by case basis. But you need to ask yourself: Is the content gate worthy? Will your users get something out of it that’s worth a trade for their information? Make sure the content that you plan on gating is worth being behind a gate and leaves your leads with some valuable content. Here are some examples of what would be beneficial to gate:
- Online courses
- Case studies
Gated Content Faux Pas
Crazy long forms or a ton of mandatory fields
If there are too many fields to fill out, people are less likely to stick around to get the gated content because it just takes too much time! Keep it simple with only the minimum amount of fields possible so people don’t feel like they’re wasting their time or that they’re giving out too much of their personal information.
Not many people are willing to give up their number or street address, so stick with less personal info such as email. This is especially true when it comes to mandatory fields – less is more.
Don’t gate anything that will help your SEO
Google won’t pick up anything that lives behind a form, so if you want Google to catch it, don’t gate it. Here are some examples of what not to gate:
- Pages with information about your company or products/services
- Your about page
- Blog posts
- Videos/articles about how to use your products
- Anything obviously sales-ey or pushing an agenda
To not gate these types of pages helps with SEO, but also shouldn’t be gated so people can get the information they need to be able to make an informed decision about your business when comparing pricing etc. If important pages on your site are gated (such as the pricing page), it might lead to potential customer’s mistrust of your business.
Don’t spam your leads
Before they click that Download button, make sure to clearly disclose that you will be sending them emails and that you have their consent. Once a lead has filled out a form, don’t instantly send them a bunch of emails. It can be beneficial to send a quick thank you email, but strategize your communication to best nurture your leads.
To Gate or Not to Gate?
That is the debate. Remember that Gated Content isn’t necessarily the perfect solution for every business. But if you think you’re ready to try it out to see if it’s the right fit, feel free to give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org and see if Gated Content can be a powerful conversion tool for your business.