In this episode of Actionable Marketing In Minutes we discuss content gating and the pros and cons of implementing it on your site.
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But, before we get to that, it’s probably best to define gating. What is it? And, what does it have to do with digital marketing?
Gating is an action related to content. When we gate a piece of content, we are presenting a call-to-action, requiring something from the user in return for access to our content. It’s usually in the form of filling out a form to gather some portion of the user’s contact information.
According to some surveys done, respondents report they gate about 80% of their content. Those who do gate their content think it is beneficial because:
* It’s a good method to generate sales leads.
* It reveals the value of the content that is important to your audience (if they’re willing to give their name and email address, it must be valuable).
* It filters out users who are simply browsing and who may therefore, not be a serious lead.
But, others who object to gating have good reasons, too, such as:
* Better trust is built without it because it removes content viewing interruptions.
* Because more users can access your content without gating, you’ll drive more traffic and increase inbound links – which, of course, improves SEO efforts.
So, which is right for you? Let me ask you this: is your most pressing need to build brand awareness or to increase your leads? The answer to that question can help you determine if you should gate. Or maybe the question is not whether or not to gate but instead, when to gate. You see, some content is more valuable and should be gated. Other content may be more common and not worth gating.
The best way to determine your course of action is basically the same as with any other marketing effort. It all starts back at the planning phase – when you’re preparing your content strategies. That’s when ideal customer personas are developed and buying journeys are plotted.
Once we know our personas and their probable buying journey, we should coordinate the content with each phase of the buying journey and determine where optimal opportunities lie to offer premium content.
But, here’s another complication: because the buying journey is no longer linier, each visitor may hit the same piece of content at different phases of the buying journey. So, if we are considering a piece of content valuable enough to gate and we know prospects will see it at different phases in their buying journey, the ideal place to put that gated content becomes a little more complicated.
The best place is near the end of the sales funnel. That’s because at that point, the visitor is obviously interested and engaged. He has come this far. That is a good indicator that he is interested in doing business with you and will be more willing to offer personal information in return for something he deems valuable.
Our original question was whether or not to gate. But, after closer examination of the process and the benefits, we can see that the more pressing question is not if to gate, but when to gate. I think we’ve answered that question—but to recap….Not all content should be gated. Only that which offers more value to your prospects. For the most part, they don’t mind sharing personal information – if the content is worth it.
We hope you’ve found this information helpful. Please connect with us on Twitter @DirectiveGroup or on LinkedIn. Let us know what you think and what you’d like to hear about next. And if you like our podcasts please share with your networks using hashtag #actionablemarketing.
Join us for an upcoming episode as we discuss Ideas for Better Public Presentations.