Content: To Gate, or Not To Gate? Follow Your Funnel.
The costs and benefits of requiring prospects to provide their contact information before receiving your content—also known as “gating” your content—have been debated for as long as there has been the technology to do so. You produce content for the express purpose of getting your prospects to engage with your brand. But if they are never required to provide any information about who they are and why they are consuming your content, are they really engaging or just… well… taking?
Not surprisingly, on the spectrum of Never Gate to Always Gate, the right answer lies somewhere in the middle. At 30dps, we believe that while much of your content should be freely available, there is a time and place for gating. We also believe that your sales funnel can play a big role in determining your strategy.
Take It From the Top
When deciding whether to secure a piece of content, you should consider your sales funnel. (If you don’t yet have one, you should, and we can help.) The content available at the top of your funnel—where people are checking out your offerings and your company for the first time—should be pieces on thought leadership, best practices, and helpful hints. Like most experts, we believe that this content should [generally] not be gated. (There are always exceptions.) You want prospects to see this material as a free, all-you-can-eat buffet!
The Bottom Line
Jumping to the bottom of the sales funnel… This content answers the questions a person asks just before signing on the dotted line. It’s dense, feature-rich, meaty. The prospects who reach this point are serious about making a purchase and won’t mind at all being required to provide their contact information. This is a great place for gated content. Plus, as it’s more in-depth material and requires more resources to produce, you can feel good about asking for something in return—meaning their contact information.
Murky in the Middle
In the middle of your sales funnel, things tend to be a little gray. This is where people transition from browsers to serious shoppers. Here, you may have a mix of gated and ungated content. Factors to consider as you make your decision include:
- The investment you’ve made in creating the piece.
- How well it converts (see below).
- Probably most importantly, how much value the customer is likely to place on the content.
Prospects will lose interest in your offering if you gate content that fails to provide real value in exchange.
Marketing Automation: Your Crystal Ball
Driving ALL of your decisions on how, when, and where your content is presented should be your marketing automation system. It can tell you what content is being consumed by which types of buyer personas at what stage of their buyer’s journey, and so much more. The power of these tools (HubSpot is our favorite) is—as I’ve covered in other posts—truly amazing.
And speaking of amazing, never forget that your top priority with your prospects (and your customers) should be providing an amazing inbound experience, and your content is a big part of that. Whether you are just now starting to create content or are wrestling with whether or not to gate it, we can provide guidance. Give us a shout.