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Should you gate your marketing content?

Whether you should or should not gate your marketing content is a question for the ages. Truth is, an online, generalized article isn’t going to have all the answers you’re search for. However:

Let’s take a deep dive on modern trends & philosophies on whether gating content is still a good idea going in to 2020.

We’ll also share a little opinion on how we approach gated vs. ungated content at our agency.

Generally speaking, the world is shifting toward consumerism. Now more than ever, consumers in both the B2C and B2B space have lots of power. They’re educated and empowered with reviews and comparative pricing at their fingertips. Creating friction in the research or purchasing process can be a death sentence and as marketers, our job is to get our sales teams as many at bats as possible. We don’t want to halt that opportunity before it even begins.

You might be beginning to see our own personal bias toward un-gated content. We live in a world of impatience; if your mobile site doesn’t load in seconds or less, visitors begin to bounce. What makes you think they’re willing to enter their email address and wait for a piece of content to be delivered; only to be bombarded by your marketing drip campaigns for weeks until they’re forced to unsubscribe?

So what does this mean? No lead capture? Not necessarily.

It means as marketers, we need to be much more human about the experience our visitors have and whether or not it’s a journey we, ourselves, would want to take.

Think about your content. Is it unique? Is your brand beloved? These are the sorts of things we need to consider when deciding if something is to be gated or not.

I am a huge fan of technology and cutting-edge innovation. I’m willing to enter my email address for Apple and Tesla to send me information about beta programs and brochures on their latest products. I’m personally passionate about those things.

I am not personally passionate about projects my boss has asked me to research, SaaS that doesn’t benefit my quality of life, etc.

Be sure to remove your personal bias for what you do or sell. Think about the personas of your buyers and where your offering fits into their lives.

An infographic on when to gate or ungate content

Another thing to consider is the uniqueness and availability of your content. Are you gating pricing? Does your competitor gate pricing? Does your blog contain basic answers about things that could otherwise be Google’d? These sorts of experiences are formulas for disaster.

Alright, alright: we’ve talked about what should not be gated. But there are also tons of places things should be gated:

  • Continued reading. If you’re writing something particularly long and you’ve captured your visitors attention thus far, consider splitting your content into a gated “Continue reading” form.
  • Unique content. If you’re absolutely positive you’re a thought-leader and your content can’t be found anywhere else, you might have good reason to gate your content.
  • Your brand is adored. If you’re adorable, you’re probably already pretty established and probably didn’t get that way by gating content. But it could be a valid opportunity to make your most loyal fans opt into your content.
  • Pillar pages. Longer sections of content that are aggregates of many pieces of content are considered pillar pages; you invest a lot in them. Folks who engage with them are usually in later stages of the funnel and much more hands-on with the project they’re researching or implementing. Feel free to protect your hard work by gating certain elements of your pillar pages.
  • Calculators/generators. If you’ve built out some sort of custom report generator or calculator, it’s expected for this sort of custom functionality to be gated. Make sure the generator itself drives value and isn’t a static asset. Things like ROI calculators, custom plans, etc. see a lot of success even when gated.