To build an email list, most bloggers put high-value contents behind an opt-in form. These are known as gated content.
Blogs like Copyblogger, HubSpot and Harvard Business Review gate their most valuable content – usually ebooks. That means, in order to read those, you have to subscribe to their email list.
For years, marketers taught people to keep their best content behind an email opt-in form.
Gated content provides consistent lead volume and lead-to-customer conversion rates. There are thousands of case studies that support this. But is gated content better than keeping content ungated?’’
In this post, we’ll take a look.
If you content is truly incredible, if it’s worthy of the reader’s time, they will naturally want more. They will then follow you on social media or subscribe to your email list.
If people have to subscribe to get your content, many will do. But if your content turns out to be not very good, they won’t open your emails. Many will unsubscribe. Your email open rate will incredibly low.
So if you can create genuinely insightful article, you won’t have to keep your content behind a form to get people’s email. If people seek out your social media account or email list, you know they believe in you. They want to follow your advice. They will look forward to the next content you publish. This will be the start of a loyal relationship.
You can also give your readers the option to receive the content on email. If they are too busy to read it, they can receive it by email in digestible chunks over the next few day. This can be just as effective as gated content.
Instead of demanding people’s email address by gating your content, you can politely ask for it. You can also ask people to mail your content to their friends. This will give your visitors more content. They will believe helping them is your main interest. This will result in trust & goodwill. This way you can more emails than gating your content.
Another important thing is SEO. If you create a high value content, people will seek it out through search engine. But since google can’t access your gated content, you’ll lose a huge amount of traffic and new subscribers. Other, possible lower quality contents, will outperform you with their ungated content.
As marketers, we know that the more high-quality web pages your site has, the more chances you have to rank on the front page of Google. Your premium content is just the type of meaty content Google likes to see because it answers searchers’ questions, and just like you, Google is trying to provide the best answers for its browsers.
Demand Gen found that 47% of buyers read three to five pieces of content before talking to a sales rep. 51% of B2B buyers rely on content to research their buying decisions. They want short contents that educate them, not sell.
Before people buy something from you, they want to know more about you and your company. They want to know if you are legit. They rely on the content you publish to know more about you. Content is an integral part of the buying process. If you make your best content easily accessible, you’ll pull more leads into your sales funnel. Eventually, your sales will increase.
How many people are downloading your premium content that are totally unqualified? I’m willing to bet the greater majority.
Here’s an example. I’m going to pick on HubSpot for a minute even though I love the company a lot. Every time I want to download something from its resource library, I must re-subscribe to the blog, which I always unsubscribe from. It’s not that I don’t like the content — it’s just I don’t want another email newsletter in my inbox.
A lot of people are like me, and download premium content to learn something — not to even think about buying a product — especially a high-priced product, like HubSpot.
For HubSpot, I’m not a marketing qualified lead (MQL), yet its sales team wastes its time on me every time I re-subscribe to its blog, just to get a damn piece of content.
Instead of focusing on leads as a metric, why not focus on customers as a metric? This means focus on quality over quantity and/or find a different, more customer centric way of securing leads.
To go a bit further, you could even be losing money on gated content and lead scoring because you’re employing all these extra salespeople to follow up with useless leads.