July 9, 2020 Last updated July 9th, 2020 94 Reads share

How to Use Gated Content to Increase Brand Engagement

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Do you want to use gated content to grow your brand? Business owners and marketers worldwide use this type of content to build their email list, spread brand awareness, and generate more sales. 

Gated content includes videos, articles, webinars, guides, and other pieces of content that require a subscription to read. In most cases, visitors can sign up by offering their email address with optional fields for increased personalization. 

Online publications like Medium and The Washington Post use a subscription-based model that gives users who sign up — and pay, in some cases — unrestricted access to all of the content on their site. We know this strategy works because blog posts from these publications are often sourced, shared, and discussed professionally and casually. 

If you are thinking about adding gated content to your site, stick around. We are going to take a look at several strategies you should know if you want to find success with this marketing strategy.  

Provide Value to Your Audience

The most important tip we can provide for you today is to give your audience something of value before you ask them to sign up. Imagine running a website where every piece of content is locked behind a subscription screen. 

Even if you manage to get some traffic, very few people will subscribe and hope that your content is good. Now consider that 70% of consumers prefer to get to know a business through blog content instead of marketing, and you can see why this is so crucial for your brand. 

Instead of blocking off everything, you should leave most of your written and video content unlocked for users. When you offer immediate value to people, they are likely to return the favor when you ask them to sign up for one of your premium pieces of content. 

For example, if you run an email marketing firm, you should include plenty of free and unlocked content that focuses on converting leads, building email lists, etc. But you can also make an ultimate guide with all of the information compiled in an ebook format for users to download. All they have to do to get their copy is sign up with their email address. Suddenly, you’ll have people subscribed via your gated content because they want to expand on the value you’ve already offered. 

Keep Your Forms Simple

We want to talk about the forms you’re using to get users to subscribe. Forms allow users to leave comments, make payments, subscribe to your list, and contact your business. There’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to how you create your forms. 

However, you should keep in mind a couple of things, specifically when creating forms with the intent of getting users to sign up for your gated content. You’re going to want to use a mobile-friendly design so everyone can access the sign-up form. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as trying to connect with a brand, only to get held back by below average design. 

You should also limit the number of fields you add to the form. The best number seems to be 3 forms, which typically nets a 25% conversion rate. Now, if you look at forms with 6 or more fields, the performance drops drastically, with only 15% of people converting

Ideally, you’ll want to just ask for their name and email address. You can throw an extra question in if you’re going to use it for segmenting — more on that later — or extensive customer research. The easier your form is to complete, the more likely you are to see users engaging with your business. 

Promote Across Multiple Platforms 

Social media and email marketing are two of the most significant off-site traffic sources for businesses across all industries. When you want to engage with users on your website with gated content, you can use these other platforms to reach new and existing consumers. 

We’ll start by talking about social media. There are over 3 billion users across all platforms, making platforms like Facebook and Twitter vital for sufficient business growth. You could use your gated content to convert more subscribers on social media and your website. 

Let’s say you decided to create a contest on your Facebook account with one big winner. You could ask participants to visit your site and sign up for your email list for an extra chance to enter. Make it known that everyone who uses this entry method will also receive the piece of gated content you’re promoting. Using this tactic, you’ll potentially get more social media, on-site, and email interactions! 

Segment and Personalize

Now let’s dive into how to use gated content to improve your email marketing performance. All businesses have customer personas, which are profiles that define their target audience. An online pet store would have a persona for cat owners, and a different profile for dog owners. 

These profiles all focus on the specific goals, pain points, and behaviors of those consumers. So you wouldn’t market leashes to cat owners because they rarely have to worry about taking their cat outside as most people do with their dogs. 

You can use your gated content to gather more information about your audience and segment them through your email marketing campaign. For the sake of clarity, we are going to continue using the example mentioned above. 

If you created an ultimate guide for cat owners, you could comfortably put those who subscribe to a segment designated for people with cats. Later, when you’re sending out new free content about cats, you have a built-in segment that will flock to the post when you send out the email. 

Personalizing user experiences through email can help you dramatically grow your sales. In fact, adding elements of personalization to your headline can increase your open rate by 26%! In other words, if you want to see more engagement on your site, use segmenting and personalization based on what you learn from gated content sign-ups. 

Back to You

There you have it! Now you know some of the most effective ways to use gated content to grow your business. There are plenty of practical uses for these valuable posts, videos, and books. Spend some time researching your target audience before you start creating gated content to ensure that once your work starts going live, users will come in engaged and ready for more. 

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Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi

Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.

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