Despite the debates in many organizations, gated B2B content is still critical to a successful digital marketing strategy.
Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute, once stated “Subscribers to our content become better buyers.” Today’s audience is intelligent; they’re on to us as marketers. They know that when there is a form in front of a content offer, their name and email address is going into a database.
This means we have to be better at what we provide as gated content. If it’s true that your subscribers become better buyers, then it’s important to really understand what valuable content means for your audience. This value is the opt-in and their email is the currency. This initial content offer is also a promise, a promise of the level of value they can expect to receive from you as members of your database.
Do the foundational work. Develop strong, detailed buyer personas and invest the time to understand what your audience needs at each stage of their customer journey. The first piece of gated B2B content they receive should be the beginning of opportunity for them as your future customer and for you in reaching your business objectives.
Your Lead Score Depends On It
The development of a lead scoring process is now a common part of the B2B marketing strategy. Sales and marketing working together to define what constitutes a score based on behavior activity and level of engagement allows for a more successful conversion throughout the customer journey.
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Gating content at various stages is a benchmark of sorts that provides lead scores to the team as well as insight into whether or not your content is connecting with your audience. Because of this, gating content is a common and necessary part of the lead score process. Yes, there are other audience activities that play into the practice of lead management, but let’s face it, asking to complete a form to download content is still a critical component.
This also means that you may have various stages in your customer journey where gated content is a possibility, not just in the lead gen or awareness stage. Again, value exchange is what makes gating B2B content work for both the audience member and for the brand providing the content. Always keep this in mind when attaching a lead score to your gated content activities.
Providing Audience Intel
Your gated content can be a great resource into audience behavior, but only if you are implementing it as part of your overall strategy. Developing your personas and customer journey are critical to the creation of content that resonate with your audience—and drive the behavior you seek.
The confidence in your gated content comes from asking better questions before you start.
- What does my persona need to know at this stage of the customer journey to take action right now?
- What is a problem my persona is having that I can provide the solution for in the form of content?
- Is this solution valuable enough to ask for a value exchange and receive it?
When you do the prep work on your audience and how they buy, you are in a better position to confidently provide gated B2B content that will connect with your persona. But always track this behavior—both good and not so good—to ensure that your content is the right value exchange they are seeking.