Grow With Steve #11 – To gate or not to gate?

Welcome to Grow With Steve Edition #11 – your weekly treat of marketing goodness to help you get better at promoting your business online.

This week, I wanted to touch on the subject of “gating content” – the notion of hiding your content behind a virtual wall, only accessible by giving over an email address.

It’s a hotly contested topic of what is right, do you only allow prospects to see your best content if they supply and email address?

To gate, or not to gate? That is the question!

There’s two schools of thought here…

  1. By asking for an email address I can nurture prospects after they access my content.
  2. By not asking for an email address my content is seen by the maximum audience possible.

In many respects they’re both right, to build an audience you own ideally need to gain the email address of your prospect. However, we know that a fraction of people will do this, usually an average of 20-30% conversion rate on my gated content pages.

So, that at least 70% of people that will never see the amazing piece of content you created.

Balance is the key

My take is always to try and strike a balance and make sure you have a healthy amount of non-gated content available for your audience, reserving your premium content for prospects willing to share an email address.

Take this newsletter as an example.

I have asked you for an email address so I can share my wisdom, and to ensure you’re the first to see it in your inbox.

After a few days, I add this content on my blog which is available without an email address being entered.

It’s about striking a balance.

What should be gated, and what should be un-gated?

Good question!

Ideally, as little of your content as possible should be gated.

if it’s good content and helps the prospect solve a problem, you will almost certainly be rewarded with an enquiry, especially if you’re using social media to stay ‘front of mind’.

Examples of premium gated content

  • Digital tools
  • Scorecards
  • High quality quantitative surveys
  • In depth studies
  • Short courses
  • Books

Examples of non-gated content

  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • PDF brochures

Your aim is to make as much of your content as freely as possible to build trust and authority with your audience, and have just one or two pieces of premium high quality content behind an email gate.

I hope that’s helped clarify your thinking on this hotly debated topic. I encourage my clients to build audiences and then nurture them, but to also have a healthy supply of freely available content when prospects are researching them.