It’s the marketer’s dilemma: You want to maximize the eyes that will view your content, but you also want to require a form—which will reduce access—so you can identify those eyes.
The next time you’re considering whether to block your content with a form, or a “gate,” consider a few tips below.
Don’t Block Researchers from Discovering Basic Information about Your Company or Its Products. If everything on your site or in your ads is on lockdown, you’re going to create a situation where the market has little understanding of what you do and your level of expertise.
Always consider a prospect’s level of research need when considering whether to gate: High-level information that educates about your brand or product, such as a company brochure, is usually consumed earliest in the research process and should therefore be freely accessible.
Consider Level of Friction Imposed on Your Prospects. Prospects expect value after exchanging their information. Excessively long forms (more than a few seconds of time commitment) or low pay-off (content that doesn’t meet the prospect’s educational expectations) will create dissatisfaction and potentially hinder future campaign performance. When asking several custom questions in addition to obtaining basic identification information from a prospect, always ask yourself whether the thought leadership on the other side of the gate is providing sufficient payoff.
Pro tip: Creating landing pages that include a cover image of the content asset aS WELL AS what the prospect can expect to learn from the content is one way to increase registration completions and satisfy expectations.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Digital Channels. It’s tempting to want to be able to track and trend every interaction a prospect may be having with your content. However, if you limit yourself to gate-supportive digital channels exclusively, then you could wind up inadvertently missing a large portion of your addressable market.
The reason: Digital and print audiences often don’t have much overlap. And print is a way to reach influencers and decision makers without the privacy burdens and blocking found with email.
Including print promotions in your marketing mix—even at the expensive of not tracking content consumption—can have significant payoff in pipeline growth. There’s simply people whom you will rarely or perhaps never reach by other means.
Stop Using “Leads” as Your Success Metric for EVERYTHING. Strong pipeline precedes successful lead generation. By focusing on web advertising, print ads, social videos and other awareness activities, marketers will increase the number of prospects familiar with their brand and products. Being top of mind this way will then improve the likelihood of further engagement and prospect consideration when a relevant need arises.
Not building in sufficient awareness activities or adding gates around awareness activities will cut this inflow of prospects and ultimately result in fewer conversions.
Your better bet? To get more sales-ready prospects—because that’s what actually matters versus a one-time click or download—gate minimally. Most prospects prefer to research anonymously—and you need enough bread crumbs to ensure you’re on their radar. Reserve your gates for lower funnel activities and always do lead gen campaigns only within a broader plan that includes awareness activities.