To gate or not to gate, that is the question. The debate on the merits and drawbacks of gating has plagued the industry since its conception. To many, the idea of putting an additional barrier in front of content in a world of almost limitless free information seems crazy. For others, the concept of giving away valuable content for nothing seems redundant and counterproductive. Both sides spin a good argument, but at the end of the day, the answer to the question comes down to a matter of circumstances.
Quid pro quo
As we all know, the ability to gate content is an absolute godsend for those of us seeking data on leads and nurture opportunities. This data allows us to not only get our foot in the door but more importantly, signifies that prospects are quite happy for it to be there. This mutual ground from both parties builds the foundations for a relationship to blossom in the future; it acts as an acknowledgement of interest and confirms each party’s potentially positive attitude to the thought of collaboration.
Bringing down the wall
While the benefits of gated content are easy to identify, the merits of ungated content are equally apparent. Choosing not to gate content can be just as effective, with no barriers in place to impede visitors you have a lot more freedom to use content in the way you wish. Social media, email marketing, etc; all of these options become much more viable when content can be accessed by everyone without restriction. With the wall brought down there’s no obstacle preventing the vaguely interested from investigating what you have to offer.
More often than not the question to gate is reduced to a simple yes or no proposition, but there are alternatives that meet in the middle; progressive profiling for example. This capture technique requires users to provide small increments of data for each piece of content they access. For the first piece they would provide their email address, and then additional information based upon the amount of content they seek to access thereafter. This eliminates the need for the prospect to fill out large forms and significantly reduces the barrier to entry. In addition the amount of data they submit will indicate where they are in the buyer journey and how willing they are to have you contact them.
Create. Evaluate. Decide.
Gating is a matter of perspective, but when making the decision it should be based upon a few key elements, the value of the content, its position in the buyer journey, and most importantly, how unique that content is. Implementing the wrong gating strategy can be extremely detrimental and as such it’s essential you appreciate the potential impacts and understand why that content should or should not be behind a wall.
The decision to apply gating isn’t as simple as black and white; more often than not it will be those solutions that sit in the grey that will be most suitable for your business needs. And for this reason, you need a flexible gating approach and a solution that makes deployment fitting for your customers and your organisation.