Gated B2B Content: Is It Right for Your Company?

SPROUT Content Contributor

Written by SPROUT Content Contributor on Wed, Jan 07, 2015

SPROUT Content is an inbound marketing agency that specializes in performance content for businesses in "unglamorous industries."

Putting a gate in front of your content is a relatively new and somewhat controversial approach to publishing. On one hand, you might be able to generate more quality leads and conversions if you put some kind of gate in front of your content that forces the reader to enter some information about themselves before gaining access to the piece of content. On the other hand, if your form is too annoying or intrusive to your readers, then you will turn them off from your content, and you risk losing them.

Gated_Content-1If you decide that you do want to gate some of your content, there are a multitude of options to help you do so. Third party marketing companies will provide varying degrees of aid for creating gates, and plugins for common web hosts and Excel dashboards also do the same thing.

Why Gate?

The question of whether or not to gate essentially hinges on the purpose of the content. In brief, gating can lead to better relationships with the people who fill out the forms and hand over their information. On the other hand, not gating can lead to more downloads and views.

There is also the annoyance factor. Some people will be inherently irritated at the prospect of filling out forms to access content and will avoid content with gates on principle alone (choosing single opt in over double opt in might help out in this arena). Some readers might be less inclined to give away their personal information than others, but more likely to engage with high quality content.

The most common information to request as part of a gate is the reader's email address. This is a stepping stone to a relationship. Developing leads is about building relationships with potential customers. Once a reader hands over their email address, you have the option to send them lead nuturing emails that can develop your relationship. You can deliver targeted marketing material directly to people who have demonstrated interest in your content. But keep in mind that once you ask for more than a name and email address, your conversion rates will drop.

The sheer volume of additional views from ungated content might be enough to change the story. It all depends on your product, your content, and your audience. Typically, blogs and videos and other content developed to draw people to your website should not require a gate. More in-depth pieces of content available for download such as ebooks and white papers should require a form. A good content marketing strategy will include all of these elements.

B2B content marketing is meant to be informational and solidify a particular firm’s industry expertise - See more at: http://www.hingemarketing.com/blog/story/3-things-to-consider-before-gating-your-b2b-content#sthash.HRANSNw5.dpuf
B2B content marketing is meant to be informational and solidify a particular firm’s industry expertise. - See more at: http://www.hingemarketing.com/blog/story/3-things-to-consider-before-gating-your-b2b-content#sthash.HRANSNw5.dpuf

By developing and publishing B2B content, your goal should be to provide information and establish your company as an industry leader. Therefore, people who are interested in your industry and content may be more likely to provide their contact information. In fact, 68% of B2B businesses already use landing pages to garner a new sales lead for future conversion, according to MarketingSherpa.

However, you need to make sure that any gated content you provide is valuable and worth the trouble for the reader. Put yourself into the reader's shoes: how much would you need to trust a website and how much would you need to value its content to give away your email address?

How To Gate

Gating content is easier than it has been in the past, thanks to the rise of third party online marketing tools from companies like Hubspot. Hubspot has many different services for lead management, SEO and other marketing goals, but their web design tools make adding landing pages and gates quite easy.

With Hubspot, you can also do some A/B testing to see exactly what the tradeoff between more views and better leads is for your content. Other companies like Unbounce and Optimizely have similar tools. If you are using Wordpress to host your content, there are plugins for that platform that can let you set up gates for content. The marketing giant Salesforce can offer a variety of tools for developing leads from Internet content with similar results to the other gating options.

A B2B inbound marketing strategy that includes gated content can be very successful. Having a systemic approach to all of your online content can allow you to increase your competitive advantage, increase website traffic and boost sales. See if inbound marketing is right for you with our free guide.

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Robert Cordray is a former business consultant and entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience and a wide variety of knowledge in multiple areas of the industry. Connect with him on Twitter.

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