How would you feel if you had clicked on this article from Facebook or Twitter and you encountered a form? Would you give us your email to read this article? What about your name and phone number?
Let’s be honest, you would probably exit out of the page and go somewhere else. I mean, my articles are good, but they aren’t that good.
Trading a downloadable white paper for an email address or phone number is one of the most common B2B content marketing strategies. It’s a great way to generate leads, but you have to be careful what content you form-gate. Not every piece of content you publish should require information to access.
Generally speaking, you need to look at the content you create and determine the role it plays and the value provided. Think about it like this: your audience is looking for valuable content that’s related to their industry or job. They’re willing to “pay” you with certain information about themselves, but only if the content is valuable enough.
What’s the old saying about how there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch? Yeah, that’s the one. Well, that applies to your free content as well.
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Determining whether or not you should form-gate your content doesn’t have to be hard. When you’re making this decision, start by asking simple questions like:
Top-of-the-funnel content like listicles, infographics, articles, and videos can generate interest and awareness for your business. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in this content, but most people aren’t going to give you anything for a listicle. Instead, you should use this type of content to build awareness and engage your audience.
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Just because you don’t have a form-gate doesn’t mean you can’t still use top-of-the-funnel content to produce leads. A prospect who has already engaged with your content and can see the value in what you offer may be willing to give you information to request a quote or call.
Placing calls-to-action on your website and in your content will help you direct prospects to take specific actions. You can use them to push people to your contact us forms or even add a click-to-call button on your mobile landing pages. This will allow you to drive awareness and accomplish your goals at the same time.
Bottom-of-the-funnel content like e-books, white papers, research, webinars, and — sometimes — slideshows can be most valuable when they are used to generate leads. This content is often more in-depth and more expensive to create, so it makes sense that you would ask for information in exchange.
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The biggest question you need to answer about form-gating your bottom-of-the-funnel content is how much do you require? There are a few things you need to take into account here:
If you’re creating an e-book, you might be able to ask for an email, phone number, name, company, and job title. On the other hand, a white paper form might require only a name and email.
If a piece of content is used to qualify leads, then you need to require additional information. However, content can be used differently. You have to determine the length of a form on a case-by-case basis.
One of the most important functions of B2B marketers is to provide leads to sales, and form-gating is a great tool to generate leads from your content. However, make sure you are form-gating the appropriate content.