Should you use gated content to engage website visitors?

When it comes to the content that you create for marketing purposes via your website, is gating it ever really a good idea? There are plenty of arguments for and against this and to a certain extent the answer may be specific to an individual business. However, it may be worth reviewing the way you use gated content to engage website visitors and overhauling your perception of its value in marketing terms to see if you can get more from it. This is what we think you should consider if you’re looking at whether to use gated content to engage your website visitors.

 

Why use gated content?

Gated content is usually only available to users who are willing to supply something in return, most often their contact details. It could be a complex and in-depth white paper or something as simple as a web page with information, ideas or insights that are likely to be useful to those who land on your website. So why would you consider using it?

  • Gated content can make your content marketing measurable. It’s not your only option if you’re looking to make your content marketing measurable but it is a simple way to evaluate results because you’ll be able to track who signs up.
  • It drives qualified leads and opportunities. You’re getting a set of contact details you can use as well as a potential lead who was engaged enough with your website to provide them.
  • It’s often the first step in a buyer’s journey. This type of content can also help to build an audience. Even if those audience members never become buyers they could be instrumental in connecting you with others who do.

 

Where does gated content fall down?

  • It can’t be indexed by search engines. As a result, for SEO purposes, gated content doesn’t really have that much to offer.
  • It may make engagement more challenging. This is debatable but some believe that you’re cutting off engagement if you restrict access to content.
  • Gated content creates a barrier between audience building and selling. This doesn’t have to be the case but it’s certainly an argument often raised where gated content is concerned.
  • You may find that gated content creates false impressions with users. Whether this relates to your brand perception or how much potential users feel valued, some believe that putting up barriers to content unless people are willing to give you something in return can generate issues.

 

So, should you use it?

There is no short answer to this. Gated content can have real value as part of a balanced approach to content creation, distribution and promotion. It can be an important element in customer journeys that you’re looking to create and it may have particular value when it comes to short-term promotional campaigns. The key with gated content is, if you’re going to use it, make sure that you use it well and in a way that helps to boost engagement, sales and leads and not restrict potential instead.

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