The default in B2B marketing seems to be to make every “big rock” piece gated content, hidden behind a form. But how do you actually decide when content should be gated and when it shouldn’t?
-James, San Francisco
After a hiatus, Ask a Content Strategist is back by semi-popular demand. I’m like Season 8 of Scrubs! You’re not overly excited, but you’re pretty okay with it. James from San Francisco definitely is.
First, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. Gated content is any marketing asset that can only be accessed by filling out a lead form. The most common types are whitepapers, reports, and webinars.
The logic behind gated content goes like this: If you get someone’s contact info, you can proactively contact them. Presumably, if they are interested enough to fill out a form with their personal information, they may want to buy something from you.
In many cases, that assumption is false. Let me explain why.
Why most gated content fails
The entire point of marketing is to build trusted relationships with people so that they buy something and advocate for you. However, when most companies gate content, they build as much trust as a creepy stalker from a ’90s B movie.
Here’s how it goes bad:
Step 1: Marketing gates a valuable report.
Step 2: One hundred people arrive at the landing page for the report. Eighty of them leave immediately because filling out that form will unleash unspeakable hell upon their inbox. The other 20 fill out the form.
Step 3: Marketing gives the contact info for those 20 people to the sales team.
Step 4: Sales harasses the people who downloaded the e-book with passive-aggressive emails and cold calls even though all they did was download a piece of content.
Step 5: These 20 people who downloaded the report now regret doing so. Now, they kind of hate the company, making this an incredibly masochistic exercise for everyone involved.
I call this THE MARKETING FUNNEL OF HELL.
To be fair, plenty of sales teams are much more thoughtful in how they follow up with prospects. But this is a worst-case scenario that happens a lot when companies incentivize quantity over quality. Most marketing teams are praised for “driving leads” and if someone gets pissed off, they can just blame sales.
We haven’t always been perfect on this front in our own marketing program, although we’ve been aiming to get a lot better. Even though we try to maintain strict rules for when sales can reach out to leads that come in via gated content, we’ve also gated too much content. Alienating 80 percent of the people who visit a landing page just isn’t worth it—especially since many of them came to the page because they wanted to see what we had to say.
This hit me like a ton of bricks when I stepped back and analyzed the past 6 months of campaigns since I took over as Contently’s head of marketing. I realized that 80 percent of our inbound opportunities come from people who read our …read more
Read more here:: contently.com