Top 10 Gated Content Best Practices for every Small Business

Gated content is one the most powerful ways to increase audience engagement and build a relationship with the audience. If you create a gated content strategy effectively and follow best practices, it increases lead generation and conversions.

Top 10 Gated Content Best Practices for every Small Business

While ungated content is open to the public, gated content is available just to users who give their contact information in return. Thus, gate marketing assets are great lead generation tools.

In this article, Aleph Website provides gated content best practices that help improve drastically lead generations and bring revenue. 

What is actually gated content?

Gated content is any marketing asset that requires users to fill in form fields in order to gain access to the content. 

Basically, gated content is a downloadable offer that provides value to users in exchange for their contact info typically including name, email, phone number, etc. It’s not necessarily downloadable assets, this also could be a product demo, consultation, etc.

There’s a variety of gain content types such as:

  • White papers
  • E-books
  • Webinars
  • Courses
  • Product demos
  • Templates, etc.

When visiting websites, users see CTA (call to action) or pop-up that offers them gated content or leads them to a landing page where they find more information on the content. 

The purpose of all gain assets is lead generation, and ultimately acquiring conversions. Aside from that, they provide valuable insights into your prospects that help you approach them better, as well as allow email list segmentation.

Before divining into creating gated content, let’s review Aleph’s Top 10 gated content best practices. Of course, to hone in on your customer persona and further tailor the messaging, it’s best to use gpt or other ai bots for lead generation.

1. Create Gated Assets for Each Marketing Funnel Stage

When it comes to gated content best practices, creating gated assets for each marketing funnel stage is the top #1.

The process users go through to become paying customers (a.k.a. buyers journey) is represented by marketing funnel stages. Marketing funnels include

  • Awareness
  • Consideration
  • Decision stages
Different gated content forms regarding marketing funnel stages

All of them reflect different prospects’ mindsets and behaviors. Therefore, it’s necessary to build content for all marketing funnel stages since users think, feel and behave differently at each stage. 

Ponder on prospects’ interests, needs, and pain points at these stages and what type of gated content should be served in order to help them along the journey.

What’s the Right Content for Each Marketing Funnel Stage?

Users in the awareness stage want to clearly understand and identify the problem or challenge they’ve been encountering. They don’t know much about your business, so they don’t trust you yet.  Hence, users at the awareness stage are still not ready to commit to anything and give their information. That’s why most marketers advise providing ungated content for people in this phase of the buyer journey, such as blog posts.

Prospects who are in the consideration stage have already identified the problem, so they’re searching for methods to find solutions. For example, you can use white papers and case studies here.

According to the Semrush’s article about gated content as a strategy:

At this point, the customer is more focused on a particular need. This means it’s more likely that they will give up their email address and details to you. However, they will only do so if they see the value in the content you have on offer.

how to use content marketing for small business

Ultimately, in the decision stage, the audience uses cognitive-rational purchase behavior to bring a decision on whether to buy your business’s product or service. Here, they’re probably interested in product demos or any other piece of content that can help them make a confident purchase decision. 

Context marketing is the concept that exactly refers to delivering relevant content to the right audience at the right time (at the specific point of the buyers’ journey).

2. Check out What Your Competitors Do

It’s very important to research what content your competitors create, and what content is ungated versus gated. This way, you can decide on what your website content should be gated.

For instance, if your competitors provide the same content as an ungated asset (available to the public), then it would be undoubtedly ineffective to include a form in your version.

Find more tips on how to decide whether to gate a piece of content in Semrush’s article about gated content.

3. Create a Strong Landing Page

As we mentioned, when users click through CTA, they usually arrive at the landing page where they opt-in for gated content.

A landing page is a powerful lead conversion tool since it’s very specific and directive. It eliminates distractions, keeps the attention, and encourages leads to take an action. Additionally, landing pages provide valuable information about the audience, their preferences, and the content they’re interested in.

Take a look at the landing page of HubSpot which is a great example of a simple and powerful landing page.

The main purpose of landing pages is to convert visitors into leads, hence, it’s one of the most important gated content best practices.

A strong landing page includes:

4. Use Simple Lead Generation Forms 

Taking into account users’ impatience on the Internet, we should use simple forms that require minimum information

Ponder what information you need to capture in order to collect qualified leads. 

Long forms that ask too many questions reduce the chances that users will fill in the form and give us a lead. People just don’t want to waste their time completing long forms and usually don’t feel comfortable giving lots of information away. 

Therefore, avoid unnecessary questions and ask for the minimum which is relevant for generating qualified leads.

In the picture below, take a look at the Zendesk lead generation form for a free trial sign-up. They make it straightforward with their multi-step form. The first form requires an email address, then the second one asks for a name and phone number. Ultimately, the third form asks for company info. 

5. Provide True Value

Keep in mind that people on the Internet have become more and more impatient and they’re not willing to reveal their contact information just like that. 

To be successful in capturing their leads, gated content must be helpful and relevant to your audience. Content will only be considered valuable if it helps solve real-life problems.

6. Make Gated Content Easy to Navigate

Easy navigation is a must for a good user experience. Gated content has to be relevant and high-quality, but this is not sufficient without good navigation.

Clickable table of content helps navigate and improves user experience

For instance, if you plan to create an e-book, make sure to include a clickable content table, paragraphs, visuals, and other elements that will significantly make a big piece of content easier to consume.

Learn more about how to create an effective e-book in Hubspot’s article that includes free templates.

7. Do not Limit Gated Content on PDF form

Probably the first thing that comes to your mind when you think of gated content is a pdf document. 

When it comes to long-form gated content types such as e-books, pdf is a good option. However, try to go beyond pdf and use:

Even though PDFs are very popular, it’s important to understand their downsides. First of all, this format is not mobile-friendly and it doesn’t fit a mobile screen. Users have to zoom in and out and pan around which is a big disadvantage for the overall user experience.  for the overall user experience. 

Also, they are static, and thus not engaging and interactive. 

8. Include Multimedia Content 

Include images, videos, and other multimedia content elements. When you use visual elements and design effectively, you provide more value to your audience, keep their attention, and make them more engaged

If you present data visualization, it’s easier to consume content, understand, and remember. Thus, try to use graphs, charts, maps, dashboards, and other powerful visualizations that improve user experience.

9. Segment the Audience

When users give you their email addresses, start with their segmentation. Why is it that important to divide your audience into smaller groups by email segmentation?

It helps create highly-effective and targeted email marketing campaigns. This way, you can send nurturing emails and relevant content to your leads and move them towards the bottom of the funnel.

10. Measure Your Success

Measurement of data is crucial for any marketing success. 

When you implement gated content in your marketing strategy, it’s very important to measure the analytics and track conversions. This way, you can understand your audience better and improve your overall strategy. 

Summary of Gated content best practices

  1. Create Gated Assets for Each Marketing Funnel Stage
  2. Check out What Your Competitors Do
  3. Create a Strong Landing Page
  4. Use Simple Lead Generation Forms 
  5. Provide True Value
  6. Make Gated Content Easy to Navigate
  7. Do not Limit Gated Content on PDF form
  8. Include Multimedia Content 
  9. Segment the Audience
  10. Measure Your Success

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Višnja is a passionate digital marketing advocate that works with Aleph as an author, contributor, and consultant to our clients. She has a degree in psychology and a knack for content marketing.

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