How to Generate More Quality B2B Leads Through Gated Content [A Thorough Guide]
What is Gated Content?
Are you looking to generate more sales qualified leads and increase conversion rates?
You have an amazing eBook your audience needs to know about. You’ve spent weeks, even months researching a particular topic you feel with resonate with your audience and help them gain a better understanding of your product or solutions.
You don’t exactly want to give it away for free, right? Of course not! That’s where gated content comes into place.
Gated content typically includes valuable marketing assets such as eBooks, white papers, videos, product demos, cheat sheets, downloadable tools, or case studies.
Gated content helps you collect more SQL’s through targeted form submissions, in which you set the required criteria that prospects must submit and in exchange they will receive the content you worked so hard to create. Seems like a fair trade, doesn’t it?
Setting criteria doesn’t have to be overly complex either. Obviously, this depends on your goals and at which stage the prospect is during the Buyer’s Journey in order to truly understand your customer’s mindsets and know what type of content to promote at exactly each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
It All Begins with Understanding the Buyer’s Journey…
It’s absolutely crucial to familiarize yourself with the Buyer’s Journey in order to create a more targeted marketing funnel, increase conversions, and create content centered around the customer lifecycle.
There are 3 stages of the Buyer’s Journey:
Awareness Stage - The first stage in which the prospect realizes they have a problem.
What Type of Content Should You Promote? A detailed eBook or white paper solving your prospect’s problems. Remember, the key during this crucial first touchpoint stage is to inform and educate only.
Consideration Stage - The prospect does a bit more research and notices your brand as an authority figure and potentially a solution to their problem. They are also comparing you to others in your industry to see who best meets their goals and objectives.
What Type of Content Should You Promote? Case Studies. What better way to convince prospects to choose you than by showing them actual testimonials from paying customers who have already trusted your brand and even referred you over to others in the industry. Word of mouth travels far, especially in the B2B world.
Decision Stage - The final and most crucial stage in the Buyer’s Journey which a prospect decides whether to use your services over your competitors. Your only goal here is to convert the prospect into an SQL.
What Type of Content Should You Promote? A well-designed landing page with a powerful call to action featuring a live product demo, free trials, and free consultations. This is your golden opportunity to get that prospect to sign up and become a hot lead.
Promoting Your Gated Content
You may also consider investing a few dollars to promote your gated content through Google AdWords or other marketing channels, depending on your targeted audience. This way your gated content reaches more people and brings in more qualified leads.
Just as there are different stages in the Buyer’s Journey, there should also be different messages in your ads.
There should not be a one-size fits all type of ad since the keywords you will target all vary throughout each stage, so make sure you choose your keywords wisely. Take the time to do some thorough keyword research beforehand to precisely target each ad and each message you plan on sending out.
Contrary to popular belief, the Google Keyword Planner is not as effective as you might think it to be. Although useful, it will not give you the bigger scope when it comes to long tail keywords and other hidden gems. There are plenty of hidden gems which can be found in three places on the actual SERP’s (search engine results page).
Google Autocomplete - Type any word or phrase into the search bar and Google will automatically autocomplete your query. You can grab a handful of keywords and phrases that might come in handy for a blog post or a more detailed post.
People Also Ask - You’ll be able to see an expanded version of Google Autocomplete with actual queries people are currently searching for. You can create highly converting blog posts, infographics, or webinars around these questions. Although these queries are quite general, you can expand upon them and offer your services as a solution.
Google Searches Related To - Right at the bottom of the SERP lies a goldmine of many untapped keywords and phrases you can use in your campaigns as well. Perfect for the long tail keywords, which might also be easier to rank for.
Start with those three search places and gather up a bunch of untapped keywords and phrases that you can use in a featured blog post to help boost SEO rankings.
Check out these awesome alternative keyword research tools as well.
Test, Test, Test!
You should aim to create a few landing pages and A/B test each of them to see which is performing the best.
A/B Testing is absolutely essential to see which keywords are performing better than others, which images are more powerful to the potential customer, and of course, which of the ads are driving in the most amount of leads via form submissions.
An A/B test can be something as simple as the color of the CTA (call to action) button or something a bit more involved as the message itself. No matter what your goals are, you should always be testing, all the time!
Multivariate Testing measures all of these changes all at once. You can use multivariate testing in parallel with A/B testing in order to save time and do a larger analysis. Multivariate testing requires sufficient traffic and conversions, so you may want to hold off until you’ve amassed enough of both.
Analyze your results! Make sure you track all your results either through Google Analytics or via other paid tracking tools. There is nothing more valuable than cold hard data!
Rinse and repeat.
Should You Gate Your Content?
Consider this HubSpot Flowchart before you lock down your next piece of quality content.
You shouldn’t gate every piece of content.
It’s imperative that you first develop a relationship with your audience before asking for their personal details in return.
Start with helpful how-to blog posts or lists, shareable infographic images people can embed on their company blogs or social media channels, or free eBook samples (generally 1-2 pages as a teaser) before advancing to more detailed pieces of valuable content such as complete eBooks, research reports, instructional webinars, and thoroughly researched industry whitepapers.
You’ll also get a feel if your content should be gated based on reactions (social media shares, likes, comments, followers, etc.).
Of course, it also helps to have a content marketing plan before creating any piece of content and content pillars help with the overall framework of that plan.
What Are Content Pillars?
Content Pillars center around a particular subject as the main reference point broken down into several pieces of relatable content, all linking back to the main subject.
Think of long detailed guides as excellent content pillars and the building blocks to create even more larger pieces of content, like a 30-page eBook that digs even further into the main subject and breaks it down by topics, categories, sections, and even an entire series all related to the mother topic!
Google loves pillar pages because it tells the search engine powerhouse that your content is the authoritative figure around a particular subject since everything links back together to the parent page and ultimately back to your site. A great way to boost SEO rankings at no cost and who wouldn’t want that!
Gated content is a powerful form of inbound marketing that is essential to growing any type of business, especially when it comes to generating high quality B2B leads.
When and what you should gate depends on your goals and marketing strategy.
Regardless if you gate your content or not, always make sure the content is top notch and helpful to the visitor because it is 6-7x more costly to attract a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.
And finally, always track and analyze the results so you can create a winning content strategy that works best for you.