To gate, or not to gate, that is the question

min read

Gating is one of the major tools in the lead generation toolbox. Here are four things you need to consider when planning your gating strategy.

To Gate, or Not to Gate, That is The Question

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet

Every day we are faced with decisions, especially the kind where you find out too late whether you made the right or the wrong one. Every day most of us wish that there was a crystal ball to help us make better business decisions, and give us answers based on real-world data. Well, we don't have magic balls, but we do have the data.

What content and offers do companies gate?

Welcome to the 2015 B2B Lead Generation Survey results. The B2B Technology Marketing Community on LinkedIn conducted the 2015 lead generation survey to better understand how B2B marketers are adjusting to new challenges, and to identify new trends and best practices. One of the questions with in this year's survey was: "What content and offers do you usually gate and place behind registration forms?"

Not surprisingly, webinar presentations came out as the most common content to gate: 80% of marketers do. The other content assets that are generally locked away behind forms include: white paper and ebook downloads (79%), free trials (77%) and recorded product demos (75%). If you're wondering which were the least gated: product collateral (21%) and podcasts (34%). Raffle /giveaways were gated by 53% of marketers, while newsletters are 52% and how-to-buy/pricing requests 53%. Software downloads are gated 72% of time.

So, how do you decide exactly what to gate?

If you use the appropriate data with the right marketing automation tools, you can gather intelligence on what content works best with what kind of lead. It can also help you decide whether the content needs to be gated or not. Since gating is one of the major tools in the lead generation toolbox this is one of the important decisions you need to make. Here are four things you need to consider when planning your gating strategy:

1. Carefully map your leads

use your marketing automation platform to find out how far have the leads have travelled through your funnel. Understand what content your leads are viewing and offer them more in-depth assets as they reach the decision making stage.

2. Carefully map your content

Make sure you have different content assets for each steps in the buyer’s decision-making process. Start with the more general topics that demonstrate thought leadership and your ability to give helpful advice. Let your audience know you have expertise in your field.

By using marketing automation technology you can gather a lot of data before taking the final step - the sales call. Capture lead information across a series of interactions, , track your prospects activities and use this information to decide when to trigger outbound messages that promote your gated content.

3. Gate

This is the final step in capturing qualified leads. As a general rule, you should gate your content if it's about product implementation. If you are frequently asked the same questions whilst engaging with prospects, gate any content you have that addresses the answers.. 

Here area few more questions you should ask yourself before gating assets:Does A/B testing show a stronger conversion rate requesting lead info now?

  • Does this content answer a question we get often from current customers?
  • Will the lead benefit from having a direct conversation about this?
  • Is this information available for free elsewhere??
  • Does this asset offer significant value to the prospect? And by that, I don't mean did your company pay more to produce or use this asset...

If you answered "yes" to any of the above, then the likelihood is that you should consider gating the asset.

4. Progressive profiling

Having decided that you want to gate an asset the next question to ask is how much information should I request? Typically, the more fields you ask a visitor to complete, the less likely they are to do it. For this reason you should ask your visitors for different information across a series of visits, we call this progressive profiling. As for basic information such as a name and email address in the early stages of your engagement, and as your prospect begins to trust you, and moves through the buying stages, ask for increasingly more info.

Give Guides A Go

If you don't feel confident about gating and often find yourself wondering whether or not to do it, try the alternative: The content platform is free for casual browsing and downloading of personal guides. For companies, also provides tempting business packages. Users can share the whole guide or parts of it on social media channels and leave comments for the author and the viewers to see.

Why should you care about Guides? The analytics. You can easily check who is viewing your guide, what content they are reading and where readers are commenting.

Readers will feel more secure giving their email to a platform with hundreds of resources that are available anytime they need them and are readily accessible from their computer, phone or tablet.

Still not sure what to do?

If you are still wondering whether there is a content gating formula or a recipe to follow, check out this flowchart created by HubSpot. Or for those that don't have the time to read it yourself, here is the spoiler: if the content is amazing and not self-promotional - Gate it!

Should you gate?

So what did William Shakespeare mean in his earlier quote? At the end of the day he's saying that nothing is really good or bad in itself — it’s all what each individual thinks about it. What do you think: is gating helping you generate leads or is it driving them away? What content do you gate? Drop us a message on LinkedIn and let us know your thoughts.