Many marketing blogs have the ‘to gate or not to gate’ debate pride of place.
That answer comes with conditions.
You knew there was a catch, right? Of course, you did. So, here we go—to gate to the best of your ability, and gather the crucial information and data you need to slide into the next step of the sales journey you must know:
- When to gate
- What to gate, and
- How to gate
Get those essential items sorted, and your lead generation game is ready to go next level.
Hang on—what’s all this gated content business about?
If you’re new to inbound marketing, you might still be figuring out the terminology.
Gated content is easy; it’s trading information that your visitors want or need for something you want, and when it comes to marketing, it’s almost always their email address.
Let’s simplify things for you. You’re wandering down a dusty track in the countryside when you come across a wall protecting a beautiful meadow from letting in any old rambler.
As luck would have it, there’s a gate through the wall to the meadow (do you see what we did there?), and through it, you can see a waterfall, a beautiful blue lake, deer, and rabbits frolicking superbly scented flowers—hey, there’s even a free bar with an ice cream machine.
But, disaster strikes—the gate is locked!
Hang on a second though; here’s the gatekeeper, and he’s happy to let you in. Everyone rejoices. But here comes the catch, all he wants from you in return is your email address.
“But you’ll bombard me with millions of things I don’t want if I do,” you say.
“I won’t, I promise,” he replies. “All I’ll send you is more brilliant things—just like this meadow and the free ice cream—and if you get bored, don’t worry, you can unsubscribe any time you like.”
With that new information, the pull of that salted caramel with chewy chunks of ice cream, and a new sense of trust and security in the gatekeeper’s brand, you hand over your email, and the rest of your day is as wonderful as you could ever have dreamed it could be.
Here’s how to build a gated content landing page to attract and convert more leads.
In the real world, or at least online, it’s just as simple.
For your site visitors to access protected information, they need to give you their email address via a simple form that clicks through to the material they want.
Not so fast…
We all know how reluctant most of us can be when handing over our email addresses. It feels like we’re asking for even more clutter and junk to fill our inboxes, and none of us wants that.
So what’s the trick to landing those prospective leads? Well, that’s precisely what we’re here to tell you.
1. Only gate your most irresistible content
Like the beautiful meadow and free ice cream, you must have something your visitors genuinely want or need. They’re not going to sign up for any old content, so it must have real value, and it’s your job to make sure they’re aware of every last advantage it will bring to their lives.
It could be invaluable data, access to private webinars the need to see, crucial reports, vital statistics, video courses, an unmissable email series, eBook, or essential white paper. It has to be the fattest worm you can put on your hook.
2. It’s got to be love at first sight
Given how defensive we’ve become to pop-ups, chatbots, gated content forms, and all the other digital tools we come across daily, you have just seconds to grab your visitor’s attention.
We’ve all developed an inbuilt BS detector that, whether we like it or not, often skims over items of genuine benefit to us. But if they look just like the rest of the spam we reject, that’s the end of that story and opportunity.
Make every detail count and build your page with a sensible, proven structure:
- Lead form or link to the form
- Copy, description, and disclaimers
It’s imperative to make that first all-important impression count. Your landing page must immediately reveal your gated content's true, indisputable, incredible value. How do you do that? On to item number 3…
3. Make your landing page as irresistible to your audience as your gold-plated gated content
No matter how good your landing page is, nobody will convert if your offer’s not appealing, and for that, you need to know your audience and what they want. You’re not worried; you’ve got all that covered within your sales and marketing tools and strategies—your landing page needs to follow the same plan and appeal to your target demographics.
- Does each offer solve a problem for your audience?
- What are the benefits of the information you’re trading?
- Is your gated content better than anything else that your competitors give away ungated?
4. Make your content fit for today’s digital consumer
Another boring PDF just won’t cut it anymore. PDFs are typically static print documents, so they don’t transfer well to mobile screens. Nobody needs the frustration of all the zooming and scrolling an A4 sheet requires to read their content on a tiny six-inch screen.
The best content scales perfectly for every digital device. That means responsive documents for mobiles, desktops, tablets, and more. Then, make them pop with on-brand illustrations, graphics, video walkthroughs, and how-tos. Then there are the animated elements that pull your easy-to-navigate information together and look like they belong in the here and now.
How do you go about making that change? A Foleon doc provides all of those interactive and immersive elements. They view in any browser, so you don’t need any special software. They’re interactive, so you’ve also got an option to develop customer relationships —upgrading your data and expanding your lead quality.
5. Nail down your most brilliant copy and attractive imagery
When it comes to the body of your landing page, you need precisely the right words and as few of them as possible:
- Drive conversions with the most compelling title. Writing an attention-grabbing headline is an art. Test each of your options to find the most likely to convert.
- Blind them with brilliance and striking imagery. Offer your visitors teasers of what they'll get. They could be infographics, videos, or beautifully breathing, easy-to-digest sections of navigable information. Remember, it’s all got to be on-brand, professional, and representative of how your solution solves their problem.
- Utilize the beauty of bullet points. Long-winded blocks of droning text? Nobody needs that on a landing page, if ever. Get to the matter as quickly as you can. Don’t waste words, so cut the fluff. Use solid headings and straplines that get straight to the point and bullets for the other details.
- Solve problems by providing solutions. Your gated content needs to be the solution to your visitor’s problem. Don’t just tell them how you’ll solve their issues but how much better life will be for them when you do. Your customers buy on emotions, so sell the joy your product brings instead of the product itself.
- Show social proof. When buying brand confidence and loyalty, consumers tend to trust recommendations from other brands and users more than your marketing copy. Start name-dropping, mark up quotes, and offer testimonials that make you look like your customers can’t live with you.
6. Make it as easy as possible for your prospective leads to part with their details
A low-friction form is the best way to encourage completion. Also, a few well-placed nudges to get your leads over the line can help.
- Use a highly visible, well-worded call-to-action.
- Ask for as little information as possible: a name and an email address is enough unless your content is so valuable your prospective leads would trade their children for it.
- Put the form—or a link or button that takes visitors directly to it—above the fold to encourage completion immediately.
- A-B test all your features to find out which combination of elements converts most often.
- A little ‘what you can expect' copy helps, as does an ‘easy unsubscribe’ mention in your ‘bonuses/positives’ list.
- Use software like ZoomInfo that can auto-fill known form fields based on their IP. If your B2B lead is on their database, you’ve already got access to the information you want without asking for it.
7. Use a thank you page instead of an inline thank you message
A thank-you page offers opportunities an inline ‘Thanks!’ message doesn’t:
- Instant access to the offer. It allows your leads an instant download to access your gated content immediately – no waiting for an email with a link.
- The opportunity to present further information. A thank-you page frees up your follow-up email to welcome your new lead to the party. Use the email to tell them what else is up for grabs and any further offers you can use to keep them on the hook.
- You can deliver a proper, authentic thank-you. You get to make a bigger deal of saying thank you. Don’t underestimate how far genuine appreciation goes with new contacts.
- It’s easier to track conversions. Data is your best friend. So, by tracking your new leads via the thank-you page, you’ve got access to even more information about their online behaviors.
8. Tracking, metrics, and data
Speaking of data and tracking, you should be monitoring all the metrics around your site already. However, your landing page analytics deliver new data about your fresh leads and how well your gated-content landing pages perform.
- Landing page visits
- Traffic sources
- Submission rates
- Landing page bounce rates
- Form abandonment rates
- Contacts (leads generated by the gated content form)
- Industry benchmarks (to compare your success to your competition)
- Heat mapping (to observe how your users interact with your landing page)
9. Optimize your gated content landing page for SEO
We know you’ll work hard to drive potential leads to your gated content via all your socials, guest posts, and sharing opportunities, but you must also ensure your landing page covers everything it can to appear in your lead's searches.
Target your landing pages with researched keywords and phrases, and target them with paid ads and campaigns based on the searches that bring in the conversions you need.
How you deliver each gated-content landing page plays a vital part in converting prospective leads coming to see just what your most compelling content has to offer.
Follow our advice, and you’ll have a great base to build on. Keep tweaking and testing, and you’ll soon have a landing page that converts high-quality leads at the rate you want and needs—leads you can filter into your sales funnels and bump up the figures that drive your profit.
And, finally, with your landing pages optimized and the leads rolling in, you’ve earned a trip back to that glorious meadow and a double scoop of the salted caramel with chewy chunks ice cream…