When we do website review videos for our potential clients, a consistent theme is that businesses rarely have any kind of content offer for visitors to download.
And if they do, it’s not something that their audience finds compelling.
This is a HUGE missed opportunity and the very first thing we help them fix to improve their inbound lead generation.
By simply adding one or more pieces of text, video, image, or interactive content for visitors to access, you’ll immediately begin capturing more leads while educating your prospective customers about your industry, AND establishing yourself as an expert in your niche.
Not bad for a relatively small amount of time and effort, right?
Sound good? Okay, here’s how to do it better!
Why Offer “Gated” Content on Your Website?
When we talk about “gated” content we’re talking about content offers where the visitor needs to give some information, at a minimum their email address, to access the content.
Most websites only convert 1% of their traffic into leads – usually from people filling in the contact form or picking up the phone.
By adding one or more content offers you give people an alternative to filling in the contact form or calling you. Remember, 99% of people on your website are not ready to buy, they are simply gathering info. So give them the info they need, in the form of gated content!
When creating content offers for clients, we typically see around a 500% increase in new website leads from people downloading the offers and becoming an email lead. Find out more about working with us.
Once you have the person’s email address, you can then send them regular emails to nurture them along the buyer journey. You can do this with broadcast emails (e.g. your latest blog post) or, what we like to do, by using an automated lead nurture sequence of around 6 emails delivered over a couple of weeks from the time of sign up, educating the person about your product or service and addressing their objections through FAQs and testimonials.
Another benefit is that as well as capturing the lead and educating them about your product or service, you also position yourself as an expert in your industry because you’re answering questions and helping them.
Now for the three types of content you need to be using at each stage of the funnel…
Content Type #1: Top of Funnel (TOFU)
Top of funnel content is for people who are only just realising they need a solution to whatever problem they are having. They are EARLY in the buyer journey and are simply educating themselves about the issue at hand and the industry in general. They are NOT ready to talk to a salesperson or make a purchase decision, YET.
Examples of ungated TOFU content:
- Blog posts
- Video blogs
- Social media posts
- Explainer videos
Examples of gated TOFU content:
- White papers
- How-To guides and videos
- Cheat sheets
TOFU offers should be informational, not sales oriented.
Content Type #2: Middle of Funnel (MOFU)
Often called the “messy middle”, it’s this part of the funnel that most businesses really struggle to create effective content.
MOFU content is for people who are already familiar with your industry and brand and are now looking for help to choose the right solution or vendor.
These are people who are still not quite ready to have a one on one sales conversation, but they are getting closer to making a purchase decision, and are looking for information on which to base their decision.
The great thing is, if you’re already created helpful content at the TOP of the funnel, by the time we get to the middle you have a pretty good head start because you’ve already built some brand recognition and trust with these people.
Examples of MOFU content:
- Case studies & success stories
- Research with stats to back up a buying decision
MOFU offers ask a little more of the customer.
Content Type #3: Bottom of Funnel (BOFU)
BOFU content is for people who are ready to buy. They know which solution they need for their problem, and they are now choosing WHO will be the best person to buy from.
Hopefully, by now you’ve already engaged with this person at earlier stages, and now this is your chance to close the sale, without even having interacted with them previously (this is why content is so effective and scalable).
Examples of BOFU content offers:
- Free assessments
- Audit or review
- Free consultations
- Software demo or free trial
- Detailed quote or enquiry form
BOFU offers are for people who are ready to buy.
How Exactly Do You Create All This Content?
You might be thinking “this is all well and good, but how the heck am I going to create 3 pieces of high-quality content and get it in front of my web visitors?!”.
Relax, it’s not that hard with a few quick hacks:
- Re-purpose existing content and create a compilation. For example, if you already have a blog, you can take your 10 best articles and put them into a PDF, calling it a “quick start guide”.
- Take an internal document you use with your customers, some sort of template or checklist, and offer it as a “blueprint” or “cheat sheet”.
- If you’ve ever run a webinar or recorded a Zoom call, take the recording, edit it to remove anything sensitive, and offer it is an on-demand video/webinar.
- Take your existing offline brochure or product sheet and call it an “info pack” for download.
- Create a “pricing guide” for your product, service, or industry.
- Build a simple “assessment tool” where the visitor answers some questions and gets an instant score or result based on their answers. There are several tools to help with this such as Interact quiz builder. The beauty of this approach is that you also get to profile the person based on their answers.
Of course, you can also hire a copywriter or digital marketing agency to do it all for you.
A cheat sheet can simply be a spreadsheet or template to get them started.
The main thing to remember is that a content offer doesn’t need to be some sort of 30-page white paper that costs a fortune to produce. Some of the most successful opt-in offers can be a simple one-page checklist or blueprint. It’s not the quantity of content in your offer, but the quality.
I’m a huge proponent of the concept “perfect is the enemy of good enough”. Much better to get something basic up and improve on it over time, than delay trying to get everything perfect while you COULD be capturing leads the whole time.
How Do You USE This Gated Content on Your Website?
Now that you’ve scraped together a few pieces of content, it’s time to get it working for you to capture those valuable leads!
A few basic ways you can begin to do this are:
- Embed a call to action (CTA) at the end of your blog posts with a related TOFU offer
- Create landing pages for each content offer spelling out the benefits – these will convert much better than just a form on the page
- Popups and slide-ins on key pages of your site, or after a visitor spends a set amount of time on a page
- Place CTAs on the footer or sidebar of all pages (or relevant pages – e.g. BOFU offer on product page)
Placing your offers at the end of specific pages gives users a logical “next step”
Extra tip: Once you’ve captured the lead and added them to your mailing list, use the later content types to move them closer to the bottom of the funnel.
Taking it Further
Here are some pro tips for when you’ve mastered the above basics:
Get your sales team involved in the content process so they can be using your content to educate their leads – e.g. sending case studies and comparisons to address specific objections.
Use your CRM to automate lead rotation to your sales team, and have people follow up with BOFU conversions within a day of them taking the action on your site.
Use email automation to create a follow-up email sequence – this way, when someone downloads an offer on your site they’ll get emails from you over the coming days and weeks, educating them about your product or service and building trust.
Ideally, you’ll go on to create several pieces of content at each stage of the funnel. A good rule of thumb though is the inverted pyramid – you want more content offers at the top of the funnel, leading down to fewer MOFU offers, and then depending on your business model and sales process, you can generally just have one BOFU offer.
So in a perfect world you might have 5+ different TOFU offers discussing all different aspects of your product/industry, and in a range of formats – video, text, and infographic. Then one or two MOFU, and one BOFU offer.
Final Word on Gated Content
As you can see, offering your website visitors something to opt-in for that doesn’t involve a sales conversation is a great way to increase your inbound lead generation.
We typically see a 3X-5X increase in website leads just from implementing these simple strategies. That can add up to hundreds or even thousands of extra leads each year, and when times are tough it’s great to have those email leads to call on when you have a new product or service announcement, or news about your business or industry.
What’s YOUR biggest challenge when it comes to creating gated content offers? Let me know in the comments section below. And don’t forget to check out our content offers to stay in touch (and see how we nurture email leads after sign up).