Gating content – it’s a pivotal strategy for transforming interested prospects into warm leads. “Gated content” is simply content that is only accessible after a person enters their contact information into a form. Supplied information could range from a simple email address to several additional components.
At this stage, someone has definitely crossed over into the Consideration or Decision phases of The Buyer’s Journey. This means they’re aware they have a problem, or need, and are actively looking for solutions.
While there aren’t many ways to gate content – various forms of landing pages and popovers are the main options – there are TONS of ways to format your content behind the gate! In this article, we’ll discuss 7 ways to produce content for generating customers in your B2B marketing strategy.
Keep in mind, regardless of format, your gated content should be:
- Rich, high-quality content that provides real information.
- A clearly communicated point of view on relevant issues.
- Statistically sound data and well-researched findings.
White papers are medium to longform articles written around a specific topic your prospects want to learn more about, as related to their potential buying decision. White papers have been around a LONG time and for good reason – they work.
One of the easiest ways to write your first white paper is to engage your sales force to determine the most common questions, objections and/or concerns they are hearing from prospects. Select one and really dig deep to provide a comprehensive answer.
Structure your white paper with a compelling introduction, organized header sections and a clear call to action. Also remember, much of online marketing is about presentation. Design an attractive cover for your white paper that makes prospects realize the information contained within it will be more valuable than “just another blog post.”
Another tried-and-true way to format content for generating customers in your B2B is eBooks. Similar to white papers, eBooks focus on providing in-depth information on a particular subject of interest. While the typical white paper will be anywhere from 2-4 page in length, eBooks typically cover 20+ pages.
The primary benefit to producing an eBook would be the enhanced opportunities for including visual elements like photographs, infographics and special typographic designs. All be powerful mechanisms for enhancing the overall perceived value of your message.
Can an infographic stand alone as a piece of gated content? Possibly; if it’s special enough. While we wouldn’t recommend most infographics be gated, if you created something extremely useful AND aesthetically pleasing, it would work. For example, a beautifully designed poster – with useful reference information – that could be printed out on high-quality paper and hung in the office.
As the sheer volume of content on the Internet has expanded over the past decade, more and more companies are turning to infographics. The medium has seen a jump from 51 to 62 percent as a valid content marketing tactic. from And there’s good reason for this: Science tells us pairing information with images makes us more likely to remember them.
According to one learning study, users retained only 10 to 20 percent of written or spoken information, but almost 65 percent of visual information.
If you’re looking for help creating your first infographic, consider resources like Visual.ly, Canva and Pictochart.
While slide presentations used to be limited to snooze-inducing Powerpoints, the format is now seeing a resurgence with Slideshare – an online tool for creating and promoting attractive marketing presentations.
One of the advantages to Slideshare is that there’s still time to be considered an “early adopter.” Few marketers consistently upload content to the platform, making it less competition-heavy than other social channels.
Further, the software easily integrates with LinkedIn, making it a targeted choice when promoting content for generating customers in your B2B. An easy way to begin creating your first slide presentation would be to look to repurpose a previously given speech or presentation.
Depending on your particular product or service, webinars can be a great way to introduce prospects to the benefits they can gain from working with you. If you’re company sells something straightforward, like metal lids to glass bottle manufacturers, webinars won’t be your best content format for generating customers.
However, if you provide a product or service with many moving parts, strongly consider webinars. No other content formats on our list include the ability to instantly engage with prospects in real time. The ability to instantly engage and the immediacy of feedback make webinars a prime option for experienced sales speakers.
One company who skillfully uses webinars as a form of gated content is BuzzSumo. The company provides a social media monitoring subscription service that contains a lot of valuable features for marketers. Since their software has many interesting capabilities, BuzzSumo hosts regular webinars to take interested marketers through the process of “what they can do” and “how they can benefit” with their program.
By 2017 an estimated 72 percent of all Internet traffic will be dedicated to video, according to Invodo. The medium is the fastest growing form of content online, and is repeatedly shown to be the most successful type of media for B2Bs in various studies.
Videos work great for showcasing product demos, customer stories, conference presentations and high-quality storytelling. As the Internet is flooded with interesting written content, the amount of high-quality engaging videos available is actually quite small. Translation: A great opportunity for standing out among B2B competitors in your industry.
Educational Learning Programs
This one you don’t see as often, especially in the B2B segment. The reason being? They take substantial time to produce. But when executed correctly, e-learning programs can be highly effective forms of gated content.
In this instance, your e-learning program for generating customers in your B2B, would be a self-paced course that would teach prospects valuable skills and information as related to your paid offerings. Obviously, an educational model will work better for some businesses than others. It works particularly well with software-related industries, but you’re really only limited by your creativity.
For example, say you sell corporate office furniture and design services. You could create a mini e-learning program that walks prospects through the steps of planning their move or redesign. To be effective, the lessons would need to a). Have an audio or visual component and b). Be SUPER bite-sized and actionable (ie. don’t make them do a TON of work that your company could actually do for them).
As you can see, there are many options when it comes to creating gated content for generating leads in your B2B. Ultimately, the format you choose should depend on how your target audience wants to consume content.
Remember, though research should always be conducted, a certain amount of trial and error is to be expected. An effective content marketing strategy is something that is consistently fine-tuned over time.