The debate over whether to gate or not gate content came up last week at a local networking event for marketing professionals. As is usual with this topic, the views around the table were mixed.
At its core, Inbound Marketing is about producing remarkable content that people love. And, it is undoubtedly exciting if your content gets traction and is shared far and wide. But, like Dennis, writing for Core DNA rightly states: Inbound marketing isn’t a popularity contest. It’s about generating highly qualified leads that turn into potential customers. So if that energy-zapping viral article you wrote doesn’t deliver solid leads to your business, was it a waste of time?
Dennis boldly sets out to end the gated vs. ungated content battle once and for all, and his arguments are compelling. The key, as with most marketing activities, is getting the mix right. If you gate all your content, including top of the funnel awareness content, you are likely to alienate visitors and notice a high bounce rate; conversely, if you give away all your content for free you risk starving your sales funnel and never converting visitors to leads on your website.
But is not just about whether to gate or not, it is about what information is appropriate to ask.
- The value of the offer to be redeemed. (Is it valuable enough to the visitor to be worth the form completion?)
- The types of information requested on the form. (Does the form ask for too-sensitive information that dissuades visitors from completing the form?)
- Website credibility and visitors' perceived sense of privacy/security. (Does the visitor trust the website enough to feel secure in providing their personal information?)
It is not enough to only produce excellent content. You need a complete content marketing strategy, or indeed a capable content marketing agency to get the mix right.
Let’s face it – content alone won’t give you the same kinds of SEO and conversion results like it used to. Things have changed and matured. You need a different approach to catapult above the noise and keep yourself on your customer’s radar. That’s best done with a strategical use of gated and ungated content laid out above. Use ungated content to draw leads into the top of your funnel, then nurture and segment those leads with gated content.