It’s a crucial content marketing moment of truth. All of the hard work you put into creating a substantial content asset culminates with one person’s choice: whether or not to fill out that form.
There are plenty of reasons people reach this point and choose not to continue. To boost conversions, first step back and clarify whether you’re gating the right assets to begin with.
Before you protect content behind a form, or gate, consider whether your readers will find it valuable enough to merit handing over their contact information. Not every resource warrants this information exchange.
Your readers are no dummies. They realize businesses wouldn’t be asking for their name, email address, and sometimes job title, company and more, if they didn’t hold value. Requesting this information before you’ve earned it is a big turn-off.
Some of your content should be available “for free,” without a download form or a price tag. This concept is at the very heart of inbound marketing: When you share information that helps people solve their problems, you earn brand recognition and trust, and they’re more likely to turn to your brand when they’re ready to buy.
“It’s especially important to keep your top-of-funnel content open and discoverable,” Mike Weir of LinkedIn told the Content Marketing Institute. “It’s like dating: You want people to find you interesting and say, ‘I like your point of view. Let’s schedule a time to talk.’”
Only gate content that offers substantial depth, breadth and value to your audience. With this in mind, let’s look at five tips for increasing content conversions on gated content.
A hard truth about creating content that converts is that it requires time, resources and an intimate knowledge of your audience to stand out from the pack. To win more conversions, offer your audience truly differentiated content that they can't find elsewhere and that speaks directly to their needs—what Joe Pulizzi describes as finding your “content tilt.”
“The content tilt is that area of little to no competition on the web that actually gives you a fighter’s chance of breaking through and becoming relevant,” Pulizzi writes. “It’s not only what makes you different, it’s so different that you get noticed by your audience. That audience rewards you with their attention.”
Many companies are creating gated content, eager to dip a toe into the new lead generation game, but a lot of them are producing generic eBooks, webinars or white papers and getting lackluster results. If people suspect they won’t learn anything new from your gated content, they're less likely to hand over their contact information to get it.
Identify a meaty topic (preferably one your competitors haven’t yet tackled), research it thoroughly, choose the best format and medium and craft a comprehensive or long-form asset. If your topic is technical, involve subject matter experts in the ideation and writing processes to ensure sufficient depth in the end product.
“Long-form content as opposed to ‘snackable’ content is what fuels a successful content marketing approach,” writes Neil Patel. “In the marketing funnel itself, long-form content—usually the deep stuff—is what helps users circle closer toward a purchase, encourages loyalty and improves user experience.”
“Landing pages are the heart and soul of an inbound marketer's lead generation efforts,” writes Pamela Vaughan for HubSpot. And sometimes you can increase conversions by addressing simple landing page design or usability issues.
First, make sure your design choices are carried over from your demand generation touch points to your landing page. When users arrive on a landing page that doesn’t echo the fonts, images and colors of the ad, email or social media post that drove them there, they wonder whether they landed in the right place and might abandon the page.
Next, use A/B or multivariate tests to experiment with different landing page designs and determine what resonates best with your audience.
Copywriting has the power to charm or repel your prospects. Bland, generic or overtly salesy language can deter people. When creating emails, landing pages and social media posts to promote your gated content—as well as in your downloadable assets themselves—amp up your writing to inspire more readers to convert.
Use landing page copy to clearly lay out the key skills or knowledge readers will get from the content you’re asking them to download. Frame these as concrete benefits and describe them in colorful, engaging language.
Make sure you're promoting gated assets in the right places and at the right times for optimal conversions. Map your content to the buyer’s journey to determine when to target people with a particular resource. Identify the topics and formats your audience craves at each stage of the buying cycle, from awareness, consideration and decision through to post-purchase support.
With a strong understanding of your target customers, you can meet them on the channels they like best and cater to their content consumption habits. Choose channels that suit your content type and subject matter. For instance, social media might be a great place to promote a webinar series, but a long-form technical white paper might perform better through a targeted email campaign or promotion through a niche industry publication.
To learn more about how to get the most out of your gated content, download our eBook, “The ROI of Content Marketing.”