Content gating is considered to be an essential lead generation activity. While most marketers struggle with the usual questions ranging from- ‘How best to present their content’ to ‘How much of it should be gated or given away freely’, the most important factor to actually consider is the end goal. While content gating is a common content marketing gimmick in both B2B and B2C, how can you build a strategy that sets yours apart?
When building or gating content, do it in such a way so as to move prospects and leads from The Awareness to The Consideration and finally The Decision Stage.
While there is no right or wrong here because there are pros and cons associated with every strategy, what helps is understanding more about what the experts usually do:
1. The Importance of Videos and Case Studies in Content Planning and Gating
Jess Weimer, Head of Global Demand and Growth Marketing at Magento, has a rule with minor exceptions. She says, “My rule of thumb is to ungate videos, case studies, and infographics. Those should be shared freely. Videos are a great way to leverage social and email to get engagement, introduce your value or your message in an attractive way without requiring anything upfront. Videos in particular really help you get mindshare. Case studies- you should share freely because that’s the success story of your business, and especially nowadays with the rise of peer-to-peer marketing, case studies have stronger credibility for prospects than what marketing or sales say. So we should absolutely share pure case studies freely. Infographics, which are often summaries of longer content pieces, are sneak peeks summarized with key data points around a message we are trying to put out there.”
2. Use the Lead Information you collect to Personalize Lead Nurturing Activities
Eric Peters from HubSpot talks about the different strategies for gating and ungating content that they use at the company. He says, “We write up blog posts that will attract organic traffic. There will be some kind of call to action that says, “Hey to learn more about this topic, download this ebook,” and that ebook which is a really in-depth training resource will be gated with several fields in that form and so, that helps us identify the intent of the person and what they are interested in and learn about them through the data that they fill out all of which helps us nurture them down the funnel should they be a good fit for the company. So, if someone says they are a CEO, they are going to get a slightly different nurturing path than if they say they are a marketing manager and so on”.
3. Gate what you Spend time Researching
Jeff Rohrs, CMO of Yext discusses their content marketing strategy, and his views on content gating adding, “If we have a piece that we have invested a significant amount of time on and its part of a campaign- we’re doing it to give an order or a spin-off of existing content. Then we’re going to gate certain whitepaper downloads because you want to create those additional points of ability to acknowledge that this is a lead and then create nurture opportunities potentially down the line. If it is a shorter form article type of piece then that falls into you know blogger geomarketing and those aren’t gated. So really, it’s interesting, it really does not hit my radar on a weekly, monthly basis it’s almost kind of a fait accompli that we’ve kind of created a motion whereby we know what to gate.”
4. Create a Content Gating Plan in Tune with the Buyer’s Journey
Kira Mondrus, Chief Marketing Officer at QASymphony shares her views on the much debated topic of whether to gate or ungate your marketing content. According to her, (and at QASymphony), Content Marketing is all about targeting growth and demand generation. “We are building out a perpetual demand gen program that’s built all around content and aligned to our various buyer personas. The demand gen program is aimed at a very close alignment to the buyer progression and buyer journey, with the content to engage, nurture, and help with pipeline acceleration for shortening the sales cycle.”
When it comes to using registration lead forms, Kira talks about how they align this closely to each stage of their buyer journey adding, “Each content piece is aligned to a specific stage and each stage has a different type of webform. For instance, for top of the funnel with thought-leadership content, we use a very short, uninvasive web form and we do progressive profiling. And the individual either progresses through the buyer’s journey by being nurtured with our content or they come in with content that is representative of the later stage, corresponding to the web form that we use for that particular content becomes longer and more detailed so much so that by the very last stage we know a lot about them, getting pretty close to BANT criteria. What that does is, it really ensures that the audience is truly engaged and that their behavior indicates interest and ultimately leads to a very high quality lead. So, when those leads are coming over to our sales team, they are converting at more than 50 percent from MQL to opportunity.”
And here’s a bonus one by the team at DemandMatrix:
You probably already know that 60% of B2B visitors bounce. And very few convert. Besides this, the bounce rate on B2B sites has always been known to be higher (than in B2C!). Here’s a little Sales secret we came across: Sometimes in business, you can ask for less to get much more (lead information)!
By giving your customers a preview of some of your greatest gated assets, and reducing the information you ask for when ungating it, you can potentially increase your conversion rate and enhance the quality of your leads too!