Gating is the process of….wait - fill in your mail id, phone number, food preferences, height, weight, etc and you’ll be able to read further.
Okay.Okay. Just Kidding. You don’t have to fill in anything HERE to find out!
Wake Up, let’s get down and explore further.
Coming to the matter at hand, debating this market led concept can lead to two things - thorough understanding where you realise how to gate and if to gate, or immediate disposal where you just gate everything you create. We want you to achieve the former.
As marketers, we are trained to hide our expertise behind forms, under the pretext of lead generation. But we also have to realise that we live in an era where consumers no longer want to type out private details in order to gain access to exclusive pieces of content, unless they know the underlying value.
So, should we still follow the bandwagon? Should we let it die? OR should we align it with the tech advancements we have today in order to make it a win win?
Let’s dive right in.
Gating is an oldie but a goodie. Hence, we are here to tell you that gating is a necessary evil (at least in the reader’s eye). But what we, as marketers, can do is, make it a pleasant experience for them.
Imagine you are narrating the most exhilarating experience that has ever happened in your life, but you are met with so many unwanted questions or worse, suggestions. That is exactly what a reader feels when you block and nudge them.
To Gate or Not To Gate
You’ve worked extremely long hours to come up with a piece of content that you think adds so much value to the reader. You are super proud of your contribution to the entire field of marketing. But something feels weird when you just give it all away, for free. Hence you build up a wall and gate. You make it a forbidden piece and hide it behind tactical forms with the notion that this will get you leads.
And now that you have done all that, you get the leads.
How many times have these leads become fruitful conversions? More often than not, you are left with what feels like a huge pile of (you know what). This triggers disappointment. It impacts workflow and all this somehow adds up and reflects negatively on your hard worked copy.
We heard that heavy sigh!
But, we still stand by what we said earlier. Gating is necessary. And gating does bring you leads.
When you look at this from a content marketing standpoint, it seems valid. Lead generation becomes the top goal and it is only fair to gate content pieces that you think have the potential to drive attention and sales. Content being tucked away behind form fills gives you contacts, thereby giving you access. It enables you to know, pursue and close deals. Business to business (B2B) marketing for the most part depends on gating. With that access you can send daily email drips, newsletters, create campaigns, share content that converts and simply just speak with a prospect.
You also need to be looking at this from a reader’s perspective. Think of the number of forms they need to fill in before getting to consume integral information. Form fatigue is real time. And after giving you all the details, they now have to dodge dozens of appalling sales calls and emails that they will eventually have to unsubscribe to.
Do you think they would be willing to give you their information for every piece? Or will they even give you their genuine details? Most likely not.
The grass is always greener on the other side!
But, having looked at both sides, it seems like marketers and consumers can’t find the common ground around this concept. Here is where you as a marketer need to sharpen your strategic skills, and think beyond a form, ergo, smart gating.
Before we get into the nitty gritties of smart gating, you need to understand,
What, when and where to gate?
The three crucial Ws that matter.
What content can you gate?
There have been instances where a reader happily gives you their contact information. But that is, only when they know that the gated content is authoritative and authentic. Content has become the baseline for every business and there are a million copies out there offering solutions, but what is the piece that interests your reader? What is the piece that heals a pain point? What is the piece that adds value?
If a reader knows that you are giving them details that they cannot get anywhere else, they will be most glad to give you information in return. Therefore, analyse previously gated content and measure the lead gen factor, let the conversion rate be your guide. When you know that a particular type of content has yielded profitable results, multiply them. People gain trust with a brand when they know the merit it holds is original.
Case studies, pieces written by sought after authors, whitepapers with proven insights, will draw attention, because here a consumer knows what they are getting into.
When should you gate content?
When you put up a form on their faces right when they have clicked on the link and come in to read your piece, it just annoys them. They bounce off. Or when you already have their details and you send them an ‘exclusive email’ but with a link that takes them to another gating form where you just ask them more questions, they will click on that unsubscribe button really hard.
Who did this benefit?
You’ve lost brand trust, meaning, the reader will most likely not click on a link with your brand name in the future.
Rather, hook them in, paint a beautiful picture of your brand, give them content they will enjoy and then ask them questions, here they will not only give you information, they will give you their real information.
When not to gate?
Gating forms right at the face of a copy might also get you details, but details that will not qualify as a lead. But when you create gating forms strategically at a 50% read or more, you know that only a consumer who is really looking to benefit from your brand will be here, therefore, the details you get will be genuine and will have higher conversion rate.
Where should you gate content ?
Never gate the first page they see. Allow them to read, explore and consume the information. Analyse what spikes their interest. Now you will know if your reader is interested in gaining from your service or is just looking for answers. When you have this information, ask them the right questions.
Gate pages that have insightful data, at a place on your website that catches the eye but is also not commanding. Never lure them with one question that just opens up to a table of ten questions. This diminishes brand quality. Ask smart questions, get intel from customers who have the most chances of turning into clients.
Gating is the most interestingly intelligent theory that every marketer needs to overpower. We need to understand where strategic gating or smart gating stands out from traditional tactical gating.
Cleverstory - Breaking the monotony of gating
We not only tell a Cleverstory, but also ask Clever Questions.
When a reader goes through the Cleverstory platform there is no ‘form’ jumping up in front asking for contact details or a childhood pet’s name. Clearly not boasting here.
We have to admit, we do ask questions, but, we ask questions that will get the right answers.
Tailored forms appear at a time when we know what a visitor is consuming. We are no mind readers here but we have painstakingly engineered a website that will do it for us.
With Cleverstory a creator has complete control over what, when and where to gate. This can be customized based on usability patterns, opening up a whole new level of connection with the end user.
Here you can gate at the content level. Meaning, gating can be done individually to every piece of content shared with a prospect or you can gate the entire collection. This again can be modified. Content can be gated at any stage, the reader can read 50% of the piece and then you can place a gating form. Or choose to place the form right at the beginning, this smart call is the creators choice.
What’s more? There is absolutely no code required to create or gate. This is every marketer's dream come true, we hope. Gating forms can be created with minimal effort and can be cloned or edited at the source in order to repurpose them for multiple use cases. The creator can change the gating rules at any point of time. The edit can also be made at the source, it is a one step change.
Gating content according to what and where the reader can benefit from is the base line to quality leads. This is where smart gating contributes a vantage point. Using this, rather, mastering this, gives you access to what actually converts.
Therefore, SMART GATING to the win!
With Cleverstory, you can create no code interactive content. This is an interactive content creation software built for marketers who refuse to send out boring documentations. Build insightful pages with no code design having the luxury to customise every step of the way.
Still not convinced? Book a demo right here to explore further.