content development

Gated Content: What Is It For, And How Do You Execute It?

gated content for small businesses

Gated content doesn’t make sense to some business owners at first blush. After all, business marketing nowadays includes sharing your thoughts for free, whether it’s on blogs or social media.

But in some instances, walling off your content is the right way to go.

Think about it this way: If you have a thoroughbred racehorse, a Westminster-winning Weimaraner or a garden full of the world’s tastiest vegetables, chances are you have a gate — a way to ensure that only the people you trust can access your most valuable possessions.

As a small business owner, your content is just as valuable as horses, puppies or award-winning kale. And some of it — the best of the best — needs its own gate, too.

What Is Gated Content?

Gated content is something you offer your customers in exchange for something else — often, that’s their contact details.

You’ve probably stumbled across it in the wild. There you are, settling in to read a stimulating longform piece on the lifecycle of a fruit fly (which will probably take you longer to read than the life of said fly). You get a mere two paragraphs in, and a pop-up ad appears:

“To continue reading this article, please enter your email address.”

You have two choices. You can enter your email address and continue reading about this fruit fly, or you can exit and try to find another fruit fly to read about. What you do depends on how invested you are in the content.

And that’s why gated content works, no matter how annoying it might be. The gate only lets in the people who are invested in what you have to say and thus more likely to buy your products, sign up for your services, subscribe to your ezines or visit your brick-and-mortar location.

How Can Your Small Business Use Gated Content?

Gated content can be used in a variety of ways for your small business.

You can use it to generate leads, nurture your prospects and segment your audience. It also can be used to figure out who’s serious about a product or service (and thus worth a bit more of your marketing attention) and who’s just your average looky-loo.

Thinking of using gated content? Here’s some advice:

4 Tips for Smart Gated Content

Too Many Fences Don’t Always Make Good Neighbors

Gated content is great, but if your whole website is on constant lockdown, you’re probably not going to get many visitors. Content such as blog posts or infographics doesn’t necessarily need a gate. Save them for “serious” content such as ebooks, white papers, case studies or webinars.

Pay Attention to Who Downloads What

Knowing which gates your customers walk through and which they walk past can help you determine their wants and needs. For instance, if Jerry skips over a gated resource about wine vintages but downloads an ebook on hops and barley, you know to target him with your homebrew line, not your fancy zinfandel.

Keep Your Gates Accessible

No one wants to toil with a heavy, rusted-out gate, so make sure yours are smooth and well-oiled. Only ask for the information you absolutely need from your customer. Generally, their name, email address and, if you’re in the B2B game, a company moniker should be enough to get the ball rolling.

Pro tip: Gated content works incredibly well in the B2B community!

Offer Value

If your customer takes time out of their day and gives up a portion of their privacy to access your gated content, make sure it’s worth their while. Don’t promise a diamond and leave them with a lump of coal; offer some real value in your content.

Who’s Getting the Key to Your Gates?

Gated content is a great way to get important information about your customers, leads and prospects, as well as learning exactly what it is that interests each section of your audience. Don’t think of them as keeping people out; think of them as only letting the right ones in!

Every good gate needs stellar small business content behind it. Need help creating your gated resources? Mischa Communications does that! The sooner you click, the sooner we start.