Gated content is where you “lock” a piece of content such as an eBook, whitepaper, or webinar, and a visitor is required to give you their information to gain access to it.
Unlike ungated content where the material is available without exchanging any information, gated content allows you to gather email addresses, phone numbers, and more, which you can then use to generate quality leads and eventually convert into a sale.
And it’s incredibly popular among modern companies, especially B2Bs, with roughly 4 out 5 using it for lead generation in some capacity. But to be brutally honest, far fewer brands are doing gated content the right way.
There’s definitely an art to it, and effectively setting up gated content isn’t always intuitive. So, for this post, I’m going to discuss how to win with this marketing technique.
I’ll explain the logic behind creating gated content, best practices to follow, and most importantly, I’ll offer several real-life examples from B2B brands that have perfected the formula.
What Is Gated Content?
Gated content is any content that your visitors can access only after entering their details, which, in most cases, means an email address. As mentioned above, gated content is an effective way of incentivizing lead generation while building credibility with new prospects.
7 Gated Content Examples to Try Today
1. The Purpose of Gated Content
2. Gated Content Best Practices
5. Crazy Egg
The Purpose of Gated Content
Why exactly do companies want to make prospects go through the extra effort of giving over their information? After all, only a percentage will actually go through with it.
Two words: lead generation.
That’s the number one reason behind content marketing. Companies want to continually keep a steady stream of qualified leads coming their way that they can nurture, build relationships with, and ultimately convert into customers.
And gated content has proven to be one of the best ways to go about that.
Rather than freely giving out ungated content where there’s no exchange of information, gating something like an eBook ensures a brand takes away something tangible such as an email address. Then, they have the opportunity to send the lead targeted content based on their interest.
If the content wasn’t gated, however, they wouldn’t have anything concrete to go on, and potentially game-changing leads could slip through their fingers.
And as Rebecca Riserbato of HubSpot points out, gated content often “leads to more sales, provides analytics and insights into your customers, and allows for email list segmentation.”
So, not only is this tactic useful for generating qualified leads, but it can also set the stage for gathering comprehensive data and personalizing your marketing efforts later on.
Gated Content Best Practices
Now, let me give you a brief overview of what’s considered best practices. First, your offer needs to be captivating enough to make someone willing to give out their personal information.
A generic, cookie-cutter eBook with a boring title and lame stock photo cover, for example, probably won’t compel all that many people to give you their email address.
However, a captivating original research study that’s jam-packed with amazing industry insights and a ton of actionable information with an ultra-professional cover probably will.
When a potential lead asks themselves, “What’s in it for me?” it should be immediately obvious. Next, the landing page/popup your gated content is placed on needs to be well designed and hit the right notes in terms of copywriting.
“This means you’ll want to create a strong headline, write compelling copy, and generate a form,” says Rebecca Riserbato. Also, “a landing page will eliminate distractions and capture your visitor’s undivided attention,” she adds.
As you’ll see in just a moment, most great gated content offers are simple and don’t require unnecessary “cognitive bandwidth” for visitors to figure them out. With just a glance, they know what’s going on and the value they’ll get by giving you their information.
Finally, you should ensure that your gated content is properly segmented so that each visitor sees a hyper-relevant offer based on their interest and what stage they’re at in the sales funnel. In other words, it’s not something you want to take a one-size-fits-all approach to.
Riserbato mentions there are three main stages in the buyer journey—the awareness stage, consideration stage, and decision stage.
So, “for instance, visitors in the awareness stage are probably interested in reading an eBook. On the other hand, a visitor in the decision stage might prefer a product demo or webinar.”
That’s why it’s important to put yourself in the shoes of different leads and create gated content that will appeal to them. This should ensure you don’t end up offering content that visitors aren’t truly interested in and maximize the overall level of interest.
To recap, the three most important best practices are:
- Offering a strong incentive
- Constructing a compelling landing page/popup for your gated content
- Segmenting your offers so they’re super relevant to each visitor
Gated Content Examples
Now that you know the purpose of gating content and have a basic understanding of which strategies to use, let’s take a look at some killer examples so you can see what this strategy looks like in action.
Braze is a mobile engagement automation platform that helps create smoother, more engaging conversations between brands and leads. The way they approach gated content is really straightforward.
It offers visitors access to its Mobile Engagement Automation report from the third quarter of 2020 that focuses on improving customer engagement and data integration.
In fact, this is the first thing visitors see when landing on the Braze homepage.
Its headline/UVP is definitely an attention grabber, and its copywriting gets right to the point.
And after glancing at these sections, visitors can click through to read the report.
After doing that, they end up here where they can get the full details.
This graph does a great job at illustrating that Braze is a top leader in mobile engagement, which instantly lends credibility to its offer.
And the section below that elaborates even more, beefing up Braze’s authority level further.
Once they’ve gotten a visitor’s attention, they direct them to this form to fill out info like their name, email, job title, company, and so on before clicking through to the CTA.
Boom! Just like that Braze has a qualified lead, and they can begin the nurturing/relationship-building process.
As you can see, there’s nothing complex or convoluted about this gated content strategy. Braze simply lets visitors know they’ve published a valuable report they may be interested in and shows them how to gain access to it.
I also like how they leverage social proof by backing up its legitimacy through data from Forrester Research, which is a nice plus.
If you’re unfamiliar, Crazy Egg is one of the world’s top website optimization tools. You can use it to generate heatmaps for your site, get recordings of visitor behavior, perform comprehensive A/B testing, and more.
Crazy Egg is also known for its epic content marketing, with its gated content being a prime example. Here’s what their homepage currently looks like.
It starts off with a simple yet powerful UVP of “Make your website better. Instantly.”
And just below that, Crazy Egg has a feature where visitors can enter their website URL and see what their heatmap looks like.
Here’s what happens when they do this.
They get directed to this page where they can sign up for a free 30-day trial and either sign up using their email or with Google for added convenience.
Crazy Eggs takes a slightly different approach than many other brands who simply ask for a visitor’s information so they can generate a lead and add them to their email list.
They go ahead and actually ask a visitor to try out its product for 30 days. If the lead likes it and agrees to officially become a customer, they then make recurring payments until they choose to stop.
And this approach is clearly working, given that Crazy Egg has been around since 2005 and is one of the leading brands in the website optimization industry.
The seamless flow of moving visitors from the homepage to the gated content section is one of the main strengths of this example. There’s zero friction getting from here…
The copywriting is rock solid. And I really love how Crazy Egg injects social proof in two key areas. On the homepage, they point out that over 300,000 websites use this platform.
And here they have a nice testimonial of a satisfied customer singing Crazy Egg’s praises, saying that her company was able to double conversions on one of their landing pages.
Talk about incentive! So, there’s a lot of takeaways you can get from this gated content example.
When it comes to top tier resources for everything SEO, it doesn’t get much more legit than Backlinko. It’s one of the first places many companies turn to when they want to learn the ins and outs of optimizing for search, as well as stay up-to-date on current SEO trends.
The gated content section is insanely simple and is the focal point of the Backlinko homepage. Here’s what it looks like.
I like it because it doesn’t beat around the bush. Instead, it jumps right in saying visitors can “get exclusive SEO tips” that aren’t available on the regular blog.
The layout is crisp and clean, with a super uncluttered feel that many people can appreciate. Just below the header, there’s a well-placed testimonial from Kieran Flanagan of HubSpot, which instantly adds valuable social proof.
And the CTA is really straightforward where a visitor simply enters their email address, clicks “Try It,” and they’re all set.
It’s a no-nonsense gated content example that shows you don’t need to get “too cute” with it. Instead, you just need to clearly showcase the value visitors get by handing over their information and make it relevant to the particular audience you’re trying to reach.
Do that as Backlinko does here, and you’ll be golden.
My final example comes from Bitrix24, a brand collaboration platform with CRM, task management, communication, and more.
Whenever a visitor lands on its homepage, Bitrix24 gives them a quick rundown on what its brand is all about…
…and the specific products they offer.
And just below that, they include this section promoting its next upcoming webinar.
Attending the webinar is totally free, but in order to do so, a visitor needs to register, which they can do by first clicking on the CTA above.
They’re then taken to the webinars page where they can see a list of upcoming webinars, including the one called “Total Telephony” that’s highlighted on the homepage.
They click “Register” on the webinar they’re interested in and are then taken to this page where they enter their first and last name and email address.
And of course, once a visitor clicks “Register” they’re officially a qualified lead where Bitrix24 can initiate communication and begin the rapport-building process.
It’s all very streamlined where visitors go from learning the basics of the company, to seeing which webinars are available, to being able to register.
On a side note, webinars have proven to be a fantastic way to generate leads, with research finding the average one receives nearly 260 registrations.
And once you’ve got those leads dialed in and interacting with your brand, you can rapidly build authority and prove to them why you’re a company worth doing business with.
So, this is definitely a strategy that can pay off.
Gated content, when done correctly, is an insanely effective way to turn visitors into solid leads.
And as Daan Reijnders of Marketo notes, “If a visitor is interested enough to download an eBook or whitepaper and is even willing to give up contact information, it’s likely they’re a good candidate for further sales and marketing engagements.”
By signing up, they’re opening the door for quality interactions so you can begin the lead nurturing process and build meaningful relationships with potential customers.
It’s just a matter of following the right formula and getting inspiration from B2Bs that know what they’re doing.
Hopefully, these examples have got your creative juices flowing so you can implement gated content into your lead generation repertoire.