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Gated content, or material that website visitors can access only by filling in a contact form, adds an entirely new dimension to your website. While few content marketers restrict access to everyday blog posts and articles, many of them gate premium content like white papers and e-books. From boosting your SEO to increasing your lead flow, take a closer look at the main benefits of gated content.
Image via Flickr by TANAKA Juuyoh (田中十洋)
If you’re like most marketers, increasing website traffic is a continual goal. No matter what your key performance indicators (KPIs) might be, gated content can help you generate more traffic.
Since gated content tends to be premium material, it gives you numerous opportunities to generate buzz. When you take the time and resources to create such high-level content, you’ll want to promote it in every possible way. By incorporating gated content into your social and email marketing campaigns, you’ll continually push traffic toward this premium material.
On your own website, you can also attract visitors with open-access content and guide them toward your premium material. Incorporate links to your e-books, white papers, and case studies in blog posts and articles, and you’ll continue to funnel readers toward high-quality gated content.
Some marketing experts argue that gated content compromises shareability, since social media fans might be less likely to share a link that leads directly to a form. That means you might not generate as much social traffic from gated content as you would from open-access material.
You can easily get around this issue by creating a top-notch landing page that links to your gated content. Promote the landing page link on your social channels, and make sure that it includes all of the essential information about your brand as well as about your premium content. You’ll encourage shares, reach a larger audience, and generate more traffic.
In addition to driving more traffic to your website, gated content also helps boost your website’s search engine optimization (SEO). You can accomplish this even if you don’t optimize the premium content itself.
White papers and other types of premium content are ideal candidates for link-building campaigns. After all, when you produce high-level material that benefits others in your industry, many will link to your helpful resource. Low-quality links can hurt your SEO, but high-quality links from major media sites and important industry outlets will boost your site’s SEO.
If your content adds enough value to the market, you’ll continue to earn new high-quality links for months or years down the road, thereby improving your SEO. As Forbes reports, high-level, long-form content receives a higher percentage of links.
Keep in mind that since gated content appears behind a form, search engines won’t index the material itself. Instead, you’ll need to create a landing page that points directly to the content. With an effective landing page in place, you can easily point visitors toward your gated content while still appearing at the top of search engine results pages (SERPs) and boosting your SEO.
Most websites attract visitors of varying qualities and levels. Some are new to your brand and have an interest in consuming low-level content, but others are high-level customers who bypass the basic blog posts and go right for the premium content. Low-level visitors enable you to generate traffic and build brand awareness, while high-level visitors help you take your efforts up a notch.
Due to its premium nature, gated content has the ability to attract high-quality visitors from the start. When you produce this type of content, you’ll draw attention from the most high-level players in your industry. The thought leadership that you demonstrate goes a long way toward building long-term trust with the most invested members of your community.
Gated content can also encourage low-level visitors to increase their interest and commitment levels. When you publish expert-level content like white papers and e-books, you can guide customers through your sales funnel and drive conversions.
For many content marketers, gated content opens the door to a valuable flow of leads. After all, the gate that protects premium content is typically a form that requires visitors to enter their name, email address, and other pertinent information about their goals and needs.
When you collect visitors’ contact information, you’ll also require them to opt in to your marketing efforts. That means you’ll gain permission to contact them again and introduce them to your sales funnel. If your brand relies on leads to meet marketing goals, gated content offers a method for gathering a relatively consistent number during any given time period.
As you collect leads, you’ll gain the ability to build valuable relationships with your customers. In addition to attracting new visitors with social marketing campaigns or organic searches, you can use this strategy to develop long-term customers who know and trust your brand.
Use your gated content forms to create relevant customer segments, and you can connect with high-level customers each time you launch a new campaign. Since these customers are already lower in your sales funnel, your efforts have a higher chance of paying off and converting.
One of the greatest benefits of gated content goes beyond mere basic leads. With a higher conversion rate, you’ll also gain better lead intelligence and the ability to qualify leads. With a well-oiled marketing automation workflow in place, you’ll know exactly what type of content each group of customers prefers and which segment is most likely to download high-level content or purchase products and services.
Not only will this level of lead intelligence help you increase your conversion rate even more, but it will also ensure that your customers receive exactly the type of marketing and products they want. Ultimately, this creates a win-win situation for your brand and your customers.
From developing a better understanding of your leads to attracting high-quality visitors, gated content enables you to accomplish a lot. As you work out your content marketing strategy, assess which gated content will help you increase conversions, and start measuring the results.