What is gated content and how do you use it? We’ll explore this in our complete guide below.
If you want to generate leads, then using gated content is one of the best strategies to do this. You’ve probably seen gated content in many different forms used by all kinds of businesses – even if you didn’t realize it.
Gated content is effective because it lets you target very specific users, and generate high-quality leads. With the right tools, it’s easy to set up and can help you achieve awesome results.
In this guide, we’ll cover what exactly gated content is, some of the most popular types of gated content, and include a few of our most effective tips to add to your gated content strategy.
Let’s get into it!
- What is Gated Content?
- Why Gated Content?
- 12 Gated Content Examples and Strategies
- How Can You Use Gated Content?
- Gated Content Tips
What is Gated Content?
Gated content is any kind of content hidden behind a form. After a user fills out the form, they can access the content. Gated content is typically used to generate leads and grow your email list.
There are many different ways that you can use gated content. Some of the most typical examples include ebooks, white papers, and webinars. You could also gate podcasts, videos, expert guides, interviews, or anything else of value.
When comparing gated and ungated content, ungated content is freely available while gated content is hidden behind a lead capture form.
Why Gated Content?
Gated content is one of the best lead generation strategies.
First and foremost, it lets you generate highly targeted leads.
For example, if you offer an eBook titled “50 Shopify marketing tips”, then you know that everyone who downloads it is a Shopify store owner looking to improve their marketing. This means you can add these leads to a dedicated list, and hit them with relevant content. Using an email drip campaign is an effective way to do this.
Gated content is effective because it’s free. Generally, people just need to enter their name and email address. This is a small price to pay for something of value. This makes it easy to generate leads.
Of course, the trick here is to add value. Why should someone fill out a form if they can get plenty of non-gated content online for free?
Your gated content needs to be special, and it needs to offer more than what your blog content, podcast, or YouTube content has to offer. So, when creating gated content, think about the value you can provide. You need to make this enticing for your audience.
The last great thing about gated content is that you can use it forever.
If you create an awesome ebook, you can set this up behind a form and leave it to generate leads for years to come. Of course, you may need to update the ebook to keep it relevant, but this is a small task compared to the amount of work the ebook can do for you.
12 Gated Content Examples and Strategies
Here are some of the most popular examples of gated content that you can use to grow your business.
Ebooks are one of the most popular forms of gated content. You can publish an ebook on any topic, which makes them a great way to target a specific audience.
The great thing about ebooks is that you could create one from the content you already have. If you have a blog, then see if you can string a few posts together to create an ebook. This makes it an easy way to create new lead-generating content.
Ebooks are different from blog posts in the sense that they take a deeper dive into topics. This makes them a good choice for “how-to’s” and “ultimate guides”. Use ebooks to add more value than regular blog posts, and try to use your expert knowledge to make these ebooks more appealing.
You can design an ebook pretty easily with a platform like Canva, or get it done professionally with an on-demand design service like Wishpond. Turn it into a PDF, and gate it behind a form.
Webinars are another excellent way to repurpose your content and turn them into lead-generating tools.
You can use webinars as gated content in two different ways.
First, you only make webinars available to those who sign up. They fill out their emails and get a link to a live scheduled webinar.
Second, you can use your recorded webinars as gated content. Once you’ve finished them, make them available forever behind a form.
A webinar is another great way to target highly specific leads. They’re also excellent for revealing your expert knowledge within your niche field.
You can also use guest speakers on your webinars, who can help to promote your webinars as well.
Online courses are big business these days. If you’re looking to capture leads from a course, then you can use courses as a great source of gated content.
You can create courses in various ways. They could be video courses, email courses, or written courses. The important thing is that you include a series of lessons, and add a certification at the end.
Producing an online course takes more work than writing an ebook or hosting a webinar. However, courses also add more value. The user gets a certification at the end which they can proudly display. This gives them a lot more reason to take the course.
4. White Papers
White papers are one of the best and most common forms of gated content for B2Bs.
White papers are more official than ebooks. They’re an excellent way to share valuable tips, insights, facts, and market statistics. If you want to establish yourself as an expert and trusted authority within your niche, then publishing white papers as gated content is a great strategy.
5. Email Series
This is a great strategy for any kind of business to use. You can use email automation software to set up a drip campaign sequence and send it out to anyone who fills out the form.
You could include this as a special email series (like a course or guide), or simply use it as an introductory series of emails for all new subscribers.
Keep each email focused on a single topic, and add value to each email. You can also use these emails to link out to other forms of content that you have (like blog posts).
The most important thing here is to make the benefits clear. This is because people receive so many spam emails each day that they will be wary of signing up for your email series. So, instead of saying what you offer, tell the subscriber the benefits they will get.
Everyone loves a quiz. They’re fun and engaging, and you can’t finish a quiz without fining the results.
You could make the quiz freely accessible and hide the results behind a form. This is a sure-fire way to gather email addresses. You could also add the entire quiz behind a form.
Quizzes could be fun, silly, or serious. Whatever the case, make sure they relate to our business and target audience. This could vary from anything like “what Friends character are you?” to “How effective is your Instagram strategy?”.
Templates are one of the best gated content strategies – especially for B2B marketing. This is because templates are seriously actionable, unlike ebooks and courses which can sometimes be a bit vague.
People can take templates and apply them directly to their lives or businesses.
What does a template involve? Well, this depends on your business. You can get creative here.
You could offer a free “social media planning template” a “exercise tracking template” or a “business planning template”. Think about what problem your audience has, and think of a free template that could help them.
8. Free Tools
This type of gated content is a little bit more complicated as it requires you to develop your own unique software solution.
The benefit of this is that you can offer a lot more value, so you can expect a lot more interest and engagement.
You could use this type of gated content by offering a free (and limited) version of your existing product, or a unique free tool. As long as it’s useful, you can expect a lot of leas from this.
9. Product Demos
This kind of gated content is an important sales tool for any business. Its most used for SaaS companies who have a platform that they can offer to businesses.
Interested users fill out the form, book a time, and they get a guided tour of the platform and how it could work for their business.
This is useful because it warms up prospects and gives them more reason to make a sale. This makes this form of gated content directly linked to sales, more than lead generation. However, this kind of gated content is only effective for very warm leads who are ready to make a purchase. If you’re just looking for information, then a product demo won’t be appealing.
10. Annual Reports
Every industry and niche has its own statistics. You can compile an annual report of statistics within your industry and publish this as gate content. These could be something like “100 digital marketing statistics for 2022”.
This is something a lot of enterprise-level companies use a lot of. Annual reports can help to establish yourself as a market leader and attracts other businesses in your industry.
Contests and giveaways are also a form of gated content. With a tool like Wishpond, you can create various types of giveaways. Publish these on landing pages, and create a form that entrants have to fill out.
They get an entry to the contest, and you get a new lead who you can target with relevant marketing content. Of course, make sure the prize is relevant to help you attract the right leads.
12. Bonus Content
Bonus content is any kind of extra content that compliments your existing content. For example, you might have a blog post listing 10 strategies. Well, you can add gated bonus content at the end of this with another 5 expert strategies.
Bonus content could include a video, a podcast, a tutorial, or more. The important thing is that you use it in your existing content. This is effective because people have already engaged with your content. You know they’re interested in it, so there’s a good chance they will want to find out more.
How Can You Use Gated Content?
Gated content is easy to set up.
First, you’ll need to create your content. The best strategy here is to see where you can repurpose your existing content. This will save you time while still providing great value. Look for your most popular content, and think of ways to turn this into something special that you can “gate”.
Once you have created your content, you will need to place it behind a lead magnet form.
You can use a tool like Wishpond to create this.
When creating your lead magnet form, think carefully about the requirements for signing up. The fewer requirements you add, the more appealing your form will be. This will likely boost conversions. However, this will also mean losing out on information.
Make sure that you display the value in the form. Explain what you offer, and explain why it is beneficial. Maybe add some social proof here (like testimonials from previous users).
Then you will need to place the lead magnet form strategically across your website. The best way to do this is to only publish it in places that make sense.
Let’s say you’re offering an ebook about Shopify marketing tactics. Well, the best place to place this would be on blog posts and pages that relate to Shopify and Shopify marketing. There’s no need to place this on a social media page, as it won’t appeal to the users on that page.
Ou can use strategically placed popups to help grab attention for this form.
Then you will need to know how to deliver the gated content once the form has been filled out.
This is typically done via email, although you coil set the content up as a downloadable resource. You could also make the gated content visible on a landing page that is only accessible by filling out the form.
Gated Content Tips
There’s a lot to consider to make your gated content truly successful. Here are a few of the most important things to keep in mind when creating gated content.
Focus On Your Title
Your audience will only have your title to go off before they access the gated content. So, make sure this title is as appealing and clickable as possible. Use exciting words, make it actionable, and highlight the value in the title. If your gated content doesn’t sound exciting, nobody will care to access it.
Keep it Actionable
When users access gated content, they want to be able to get something out of it. Make sure you highlight the takeaways from this content and make the content actionable. When somebody has finished consuming the content, they should be able to achieve more than what they started with.
Make it Visually Appealing
Make your gated content stand out! It has to pop on your website to attract attention and get people to engage with it. If your lead capture form doesn’t stand out, nobody will engage with it.
We’ve mentioned this a few times before, but the importance of value can’t be stressed enough. There’s so much non-gated content that exists online, and you’ve probably already got plenty of freely available content published.
This means your gated content needs to offer something special. Think beyond your existing content and try to squeeze in more value. This could be through expert advice, extra tactics, templates, or more.
Make it Relevant
Gated content has to be relevant to your audience if you’re going to attract relevant leads. This is essential for allowing you to segment your lists and target the right people with the right content which makes your overall email and content marketing strategy more effective.
Think about who your customers are and what problem you want to solve, then create gated content that matches this.
Keep it Simple
Just because you’re offering a special kind of content, there’s no need to overcomplicate it. Keep it simple, easy to digest, and easy to skim.
If people download a PDF ebook, they will probably want to come back to it over time and skim to specific sections. So, make it easy to navigate.
The important thing is to try to include as much value as possible without including unnecessary content. Keep it short but effective.
Gated content follows one simple idea, but it can take many different forms. You can use gated content to generate leads and gain access to important information (like email addresses, phone numbers, and so on).
As long as you understand your audience and create content that adds value to their lives, your gated content can help your business achieve big things! This is an essential lead generation strategy and it’s something that all kinds of businesses can use to boost their marketing efforts.