Using Gated Content and the Sales Funnel to Earn Your Leads

sales funnel and gated content

Simply put, gated content is any article placed behind a webform requiring contact information to access it. The goal is to get a lead’s contact information in exchange for your article. This does not mean putting a gate before every article, however.

Knowing When to Gate Content

The key to successfully gating content is to understand that your leads need to be earned, not taken.

  • Before you start thinking about gating your content you should focus on developing a following. It takes followers to build leads. It takes content to gain followers. Write great content. Lots of great content.
  • Become an authority on the field. As you fill your website with articles, ensure that you are saying something new. If a person can get your information elsewhere, they’re not likely to give anything in return for it.
  • Know when it is appropriate to put your content behind a gate. Only your most value-packed content should be gated. Give everything else away. It will keep your readers coming back.

Why Gate Content At All?

While any individual article should provide the reader with valuable information, your overall content campaign should focus on keeping them coming back until a sale is generated.

With this in mind, your content should act as a bridge between your marketing and sales teams.

By gating content, you are taking a tool you already use and allowing it to serve a second purpose – providing your sales team with the information they need to contact leads.

How do you ensure that your content campaign will lead to a sale?

Utilize the Sales Funnel to Maximize the Effectiveness of Gated Content

By using these three steps you can utilize the sales funnel to help gage when to gate your content.

Map Content to the Stages of the Sales Funnel

By categorizing your content to points in the sales funnel you can create a way to monitor where your readers are at the time.

  • Consider advice articles and general topics high in the sales funnel.
  • Articles geared towards the middle of the sales funnel should be providing the reader with a firm understanding of the subject.
  • Content at the bottom of the sales funnel should help a potential buyer understand your product better and tell them why they should choose it over a competitor’s.

Monitor Your Readers’ Progress Through the Sales Funnel

Now that your content is creating sections in the sales funnel, you can follow where your readers are by what they are viewing. This can help you assess the readers’ position as well as the strength of your content.

  • Are people struggling to find your articles during web searches?
  • Is your content losing its readership as they progress into the sales funnel?
  • Do you see a large number of repeat visitors making their way to the bottom of the funnel?

Asking these questions and other like them will help you assess your content as well as gage the progress of your readers.

Decide Whether or Not it is Appropriate to Gate Your Content

It’s important to understand that, even at the bottom of the funnel, not all content should be gated. Gating is a tool used to open the door to conversation. If your article doesn’t make the customer want to talk, is gating it worthwhile? How do you know if your article is worth putting behind a gate?

Here are three questions ask yourself before gating your content:

  1. Does the article answer questions about how your product works?
  2. Does the article answers questions that would arise while using the product?
  3. Does the content contain questions that would be better answered by a direct sales call?

If you can answer yes to any of these questions then you likely have content that a reader will readily, and honestly, provide their contact information in exchange for. If there is a time to gate content, this is it.

Still on the Fence About Gating Content?

With a better understanding of gated content, you should have the tools you need to look at your content campaign and decide if gating is in your best interest. But what if you’re still unsure?

For insight on the downsides of gating, take a look at our article on how gated content can be hurting your marketing efforts. Not only will it help you avoid the pitfalls but it will provide you with some alternatives that may be a better fit for you.

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About the Author:

Chris Watkins

Chris is a content writer and support specialist for MarketerGizmo and SurveyGizmo. He enjoys the written word and the constant learning that goes into marketing. When not reading about new marketing techniques, he's likely enjoying the Colorado outdoors. Whether it's hiking, camping, climbing or checking out a new brewery, his dog, Soph, is probably right there with him.

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