Generating Leads with Gated Content: 5 Best Practices You Should Know About

The practice of "gating" content requires website visitors to submit personal contact information—typically through an online form—before viewing privileged tools and resources. Gated content helps convert online sales leads into customers by revealing the identity of anonymous website visitors and qualifying their online behaviors. Gated content is particularly effective on B2B websites where buyers and sellers mutually benefit from thought leadership taking center stage.

Achieving success through gated content strategy depends on many factors. Simply placing a form in front of content is not the desired approach. Avoid similar mistakes and other missteps by understanding these top gated content considerations and best practices every marketer should know about:

1. Creating relevant content

Identifying content topics and themes that resonate with prospective buyers is paramount. Here are some approaches to gaining directional content strategy insights:

  • Consult data sources such as website analytics, search keywords, social listening, customer interviews, competitive audits, surveys, cultural trends, and industry trends (to name a few).
  • Map the customer journey, identifying content assets that address buyer needs and concerns across the entire sales funnel.
  • Evaluate past campaigns to pinpoint how content topics address the needs of prospective customers.

2. Promoting gated content 

Gated content should be promoted with a prominent call-to-action (CTA). The CTA will direct users to a dedicated page where the gated content is positioned as unique and valuable. Users must believe the gated content is worth the effort of sharing their personal contact information. This can be accomplished through a compelling headline, several short paragraphs of text, a bulleted summary list, and/or interesting graphics. 

It's very important to place marketing messaging about gated content on a dedicated page. Doing so allows search engines to index meta information about the gated content resource. A dedicated page also enables direct links from other marketing channels like email and social media. 

3. Optimizing the lead generation form 

Similar to the marketing messaging, a gated content lead generation form should be displayed on a dedicated page. The form is used to collect contact information from website visitors. It should have a limited number of input fields, prioritized by what is most useful for segmentation and remarketing initiatives. A typical B2B gated content form will include the following form fields, but others may be added if desired: 

  • First name 
  • Last name 
  • Business email address 
  • Business phone number 
  • Organization name 
  • Professional title 
  • Email newsletter opt-in 

Conducting A/B tests on various form input fields and CTA button labels will help to identify the best combination of visual elements for increasing conversions. 

It should be noted that having too much gated content will frustrate users. Depending on technological and platform integrations, it's possible to have users skip multiple gated content forms after they've submitted at least one form successfully. 

4. Granting access to gated content 

There are two strategies for granting access to gated content: 

  1. Autoresponder Email After Form Completion: This method ensures that the email address provided is valid before granting the user access to content. If the email address is not real, the user will not receive the content. 
  2. Redirect Upon Form Completion: This method will redirect the user to a confirmation page after submitting the gated content form. Remaining on the website to access the gated content resource is less disruptive for the user. 

5. Sending an email confirmation 

Sending a confirmation email is a good way to continue dialogue with prospective customers after they leave the website. The confirmation email should thank the user for their interest in the product (or service), and provide an obvious way to get back in touch via sales call number and/or email address. 

Gated Content Recommendations Summary 

Implementing an informed gated content strategy can increase your number of qualified leads, and ultimately your number of valuable customers. Here’s a quick recap of our gated content best practices:

  • Promote gated content with a prominent call-to-action style 
  • Place gated content on dedicated page with marketing copy and a gated content form 
  • Use only the most important input fields on the gated content form 
  • Redirect users to a confirmation page to access the gated content resource 
  • Send the user a follow-up email confirmation
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