Digital Content: To Gate or Not to Gate?

Posted 1 MayBlog, Ideas, Tips, Trends

To gate or not to gate, that is the question. The sales team screams yes, while the content marketing team begs no.

It’s a common battle in all types of organizations: the decision to require specific information from users, usually via a form, in exchange for access to a piece of content.

The truth is, with some thoughtful planning, you can find a happy medium for all — designating certain pieces as gated and others as ungated.

These six questions can provide a litmus test of sorts:

  1. Is the content valuable? If your content isn’t of good quality, significant or original, users may not see the value in filling out a form. Consider offering it outright instead. On the other hand, users might readily offer up their information for access to high-value items like whitepapers and webinars.
  2. What is the goal of the content? If your content offers broad thought leadership or advice, users will likely consume it at the top of the sales funnel, where a gate is less appropriate. But content that addresses questions users have when making the decision to buy is prime for gating.
  3. Can you find the content somewhere else? If users can find similar information elsewhere for free — particularly on competitors’ sites — gating your content can hurt more than help. Why take the time to fill out your form when a quick search can pull up a page of queries?
  4. Is the content largely promotional? If your content is chock-full of sales messages with little to no tips or information to teach users a skill or lesson, consider keeping the gate wide open. Users have to see a clear value to themselves in filling out the form.
  5. Are you promoting the content freely elsewhere? Let’s say you plan to share an infographic via social media. It doesn’t make sense to put a form in front of the same infographic on your website if users can view it freely on social.
  6. How much information do you really need? For any content you decide to gate, maximize engagement by making it as quick and simple as possible for users. Could just a name and email address suffice? Could you use a social login instead of a typical web form? Could you use progressive profiling, where you ask users to answer a few form fields each visit?

In the end, users will be more likely to offer up their details if they believe they’re receiving something of value. Whatever your strategy for gating content, don’t let it be an all or nothing decision.




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