- Give something to get something.
First of all, make sure you are providing relevant, high-quality content. Not the standard product/solution materials that marketers have to create and then feel compelled to push. You must attract readers to your site with something of value, and you can set the hooks by offering a couple of ungated assets before you ask the visitor to share information to receive more. Visitors most likely will read the article they came to read, and maybe one or two more. If you’ve delivered on your promise, they’ll be ready to engage and download assets.
- If you aren’t going to use it, don’t ask.
When asking folks to register, consider what information you really need and don’t ask for more than is absolutely necessary. Three to five fields and one or two questions should be the maximum. Details about their business environment and where they are in the purchasing cycle will emerge during sales or phone follow-up.
- Put it everywhere.
Integrate your gated content program across all of your marketing efforts, such as your corporate site, promotional sites, media placements, paid search and SEO, email and social media outreach, customer newsletters, outbound phone efforts, and syndication. Find out what works best and adjust efforts on an ongoing basis.
- Test, evaluate, refine, promote and repeat.
Take a critical look at the type of assets you offer and test what content entices visitors to part with their personal information. Look at how you are promoting the content and what’s working. Are certain types of articles or formats more appealing? Continue to analyze and refine your content strategy based on what users are consuming, how long they are on the site, and what types of people are visiting. Analyzing titles in context of articles read can help you determine your audience’s pain points, allowing you to follow up with more focused solutions.
- Create a more personalized and segmented experience.
You must start with a user experience predicated on assumptions about how users will interact with the site. The focus should be on making that experience simple and engaging. For example, tagging all articles can help users more easily sort content by interest. Enabling cookies allows users to avoid having to log in each time they return to the gated content. Those cookies can also allow you to serve up additional content the user might like, such as through a sidebar list that displays additional content based on topics recently viewed. Be sure to track the movement patterns through the site and how users are interacting with the content. Ways to simplify or improve the experience will present themselves.
- Align and engage internally.
Internal buy-in is as important as anything else you do. Is your sales team on board and are they prepared to follow up on leads? Do the product people support the program? The greatest program in the world can fail miserably if all the internal players aren’t willing participants. For all of your internal audiences, you not only do you want to demonstrate how your content marketing program is achieving the intended lead generation mission, you want to show how the program can shape future marketing messages and efforts. Use the analytic data to effect the creation of customer-facing sales tools such as sales presentations, collateral or promotional emails. The more you can leverage all the benefits of a gated content program, the more support you will gain for it.