Do you have great offers like ebooks and checklists — but for some reason, they just don’t seem to convert visitors into leads very well? Or when they do get conversions, those leads aren’t the ones you’re looking for?
You’re not alone.
Did you know that you could get leads without asking someone to opt-in on your landing page and give you their contact information?
You can actually just give someone something valuable that helps them without asking for anything in return, and you can generate warmer leads with it.
Sounds too good to be true?
Well, it’s not.
Gated content can be a great marketing tool when used wisely… but unfortunately, most people aren’t using it wisely.
To help you decide when you should and shouldn’t gate content, we have gathered some things to consider when choosing to gate or not gate content. We’re also going to share some insights into how ungated content itself helps convert.
What is Gated vs Ungated Content?
Put simply — gated content is some form of content like an ebook, checklist, or whitepaper that you require someone to opt-in with their name and email before they can access it. Essentially, they are paying for the content with their contact information.
Ungated content is precisely what it sounds like. You remove the opt-in and freely give the content without asking them to pay with their information first.
Now, let’s look at why gated content can be a bad thing sometimes.
The Problems With Gated Content
It may seem like gated content is the way to go — you get their contact information, and you can continue to build a relationship with the person and hopefully eventually gain a new customer.
While that can happen, the reality is that:
Problem 1: Some Content Isn’t Worth Their Contact Info
This is one we see a LOT. Some people take content that is basically a blog article, then they call it an ebook, create a PDF version, and gate it.
There’s no reason to opt-in for something on your site that they can access easily by just going to the next search result in line and reading it on their blog.
Problem 2: They Don’t Want to Talk To You (Yet)
A lot of companies get excited when they gate some content and start getting their first leads. They start to pounce on new contacts immediately and try to generate sales.
There’s a big problem with that approach.
I downloaded an ebook about “10 Reasons to Ungate Your Content” because I was curious about ungating content. I did not download it because I wanted to talk to your sales team about my entire marketing program and how it sucks.
It’s going to take time to warm them up from that simple download to being ready to talk to someone in sales about making a change. This could take months of automated emails and sharing additional content — and you have to be prepared to do that work.
Problem 3: You’re Putting Your Needs Before Theirs
Let’s be honest, the only reason to gate content is for your benefit, not your audience. You want their information so you can pepper them with marketing emails and get them to buy something from you.
And they know that.
Your visitors expect to be marketed to for weeks after opting in — that’s why the content has to be good enough to be worth that.
But this is also a HUGE opportunity for you to be different. You can put them first and focus on providing real value upfront without asking for anything in return — and we’re going to show you how that works.
How Does Ungated Content Get Hotter Leads?
Ok — the big question — if you don’t ask for their contact information before giving them the content, how do you get leads? And more importantly, how does ungated content get hotter leads than gated content?
We know how crazy that sounds but stick with us for a minute here.
Let’s say that we created some ungated content that’s “27 Forbidden Phrases You Should NEVER Include in Your Facebook Ads if You Want Leads,” and we just give that to anyone that wants it without asking for their contact information.
This does a couple of really cool things:
This content is only beneficial to someone that’s running paid ads on Facebook.
We would create this as a one-page document that they can reference every time they are running a new ad campaign.
We would put our branding on it, so every time they reference the list, they become more familiar with our brand.
We would put a call to action at the bottom of this one-pager that is something to the effect of “Are your Facebook Ads not getting the results you’d like? We’d be happy to do a free review and give you some advice, just email us at…”
Can you see how that approach would easily generate hotter leads? Instead of someone just giving us their contact information to get the list of words and us having to nag them into a call, they contact us after they’ve been relying on that list, still having trouble with their ads, and their desire to find a solution is much more urgent.
Plus, that one-page offer is much faster and easier to create than a traditional ebook style offer that most people use — and it’s way more valuable to our audience.
This is a win-win-win.
4 Benefits of Ungated Content
Now that you see how ungated content can generate hotter leads let’s talk about some of the other benefits.
Benefit #1. Reduce Friction
Customers today want instant gratification. They don’t just want it, but they’re used to it. Technology has evolved to the point where they can get it every time they pick up their smartphone.
When you remove the form and give value without asking for contact information in advance, it reduces friction between you and your audience.
This creates a much better first interaction with your potential customers and leaves them feeling almost in your debt if the content you’re sharing is highly valued.
Benefit #2. Increase Consumption
By removing the gate, you make your content more accessible to a broader audience. They’ll be more likely to get it and also to share it with their peers and others that could use it.
This will result in your valuable content being in front of more people and give you more opportunities to convert leads and grow awareness.
Benefit #3. Customers Feel the Difference
We already talked about how gating content is more for you than for your audience. If you start adopting the approach of ungating content, and you’re making that part of who you are as a company, your customers can “feel” that difference.
They’ll know that you value them as people more than you value their contact information in your database.
You'll also find yourself creating content that is a much higher value to your audience. This is because you're forced to create content that is helpful, referenceable, and will make an impact in their daily life if you want to generate leads.
This approach should not be underestimated because it is very powerful.
Benefit #4. More Focus on Important Metrics
Many businesses tend to focus on the wrong metrics. They spend a lot of effort tracking vanity metrics. In the case of gated content, this may mean things like landing page visits, landing page conversions, email open rates, and email click-through rates.
While these numbers may seem important, the real value is in revenue indicators.
You can certainly watch traffic numbers and use tracking links to see which offers people seem to be more engaged with when it comes to your ungated content. But, what you should be tracking is how many sales calls resulted from a specific piece of content.
With ungated content, this can be trickier to track. You will need to rely on your sales team and Incorporate it in their process for them to ask how someone heard about you.
What To Consider When Using Ungated Content
Ungated content isn’t for everyone, and there are a few things you need to be prepared for when you ungate your content. Some of these factors include the following:
1. You Will See a Drop in MQLs
You need to be prepared to see a drop in your marketing qualified leads since MQLs are typically measured in leads generated on landing pages.
However, do keep in mind that you should start to see a rise in SQLs as you get more leads on your ungated content raising their hand.
2. Results Take time
Results take time. All marketing strategies take time to convert, despite our desires for things to move quickly. So, you should be patient.
It takes a long time to build a brand that people know and trust. You need to develop content with real value, focusing on educating your consumers and giving them the information without expecting immediate revenue.
3. The Importance of Retargeting
Even though you’re giving information easily, you still need to get your brand in front of your audience. You can use retargeting ads to target people that have connected with your brand directly by visiting your ungated content.
Retargeting can keep your brand at the forefront of their minds without having to blast them with emails.
Are You Thinking About Using Ungated Content?
At Selworthy, we specialize in helping companies generate leads online — and we know how to use ungated content the right way.
If you want to skip past the trial and error of trying to implement it yourself and get help from our experts, then contact us today to learn more about using this approach to increase your leads and lead quality.