7 Steps to Generate Leads (+Examples)

Content is a will need to have for any enterprise advertising and marketing technique. It serves to educate your viewers in your services and products, distinguish your model voice, and much more importantly, get your viewers into your funnel within the first place.

In truth, in accordance to Marketo, lead technology is the highest purpose for 80% of content material entrepreneurs.

content marketing goals stats

So how do you generate leads with content material? There are various methods, however gating content material is likely one of the handiest.

Gated content material is available in many types, from worksheets and ebooks to webinars and movies. Use this information to decide which sort of content material to create and the way to accomplish that in a approach that provides worth and helps you obtain your lead technology targets.

Table of contents

What is gated content material?

Gated content material is any type of content material that individuals (your target audience) can get in exchange for their contact information. More often than not, they share their name and email. This is a relatively easy way to generate more leads because you’re offering something of value that your ideal client or customer wants, rather than simply asking for their email outright or pitching your offer immediately.

example of gated content - pdf guide from voluum

Gated content can come in nearly any form. Some of those most popular formats (also known as lead magnets) include:

  • Guides/ebooks
  • Checklists
  • Worksheets/workbooks
  • Audio recordings
  • Videos (pre-recorded or live webinar)
  • Case studies

The type of content is usually free and you’ll choose the format based on your industry and your target client or customer persona. For example, a CMO making an expensive purchasing decision is going to be more interested in a case study while a that shows what you do as a company rather than a checklist or guide.

The file itself can be uploaded to your website and therefore accessible via a website page, but that page is not accessible to website visitors. It can only be accessed once the user fills out a form.

That form can live on a landing page or even embedded in a blog post or main navigation page on your site. The option you’ll choose ultimately depends on the software you use and features offered.

Pros & cons of gated content

While gated content can be a valuable resource for driving leads, there are pros and cons to using this format.

Pros of gated content

Cons of gated content

There are a few cons to consider as well.

  • Barrier to entry: Having to share contact information might deter some people from actually accessing the resource. If this is a case study that can help someone make a purchasing decision, for example, you might stand to lose more than you gain. Then again, if a person isn’t interested enough to provide their contact information, this is a good way to filter out unqualified leads.
  • SEO: In addition, gated content is typically shared in the form of a downloadable PDF or other media type. As such, the text isn’t on the webpage itself, meaning you can’t optimize it for SEO or use it for generating traffic.

There are ways around this, however. For example, you can optimize the landing page for those keywords and “sneak in” the high-quality long-form content required for the page to rank in the form of FAQs below the fold of the page.

seo optimized landing page for gated content

You can also use your ungated content to target high-volume keywords, and then promote gated content on those high traffic pages. This could even be a PDF version of the ungated content that has additional information and value.

How to create gated content in 7 steps

If you’re ready to generate more leads with gated content, there are a few important steps you need to take to ensure it actually achieves that goal. Use these tips to make sure you create a resource that works.

1. Choose the right content

For someone to give their personal information, they have to really want what you’re offering. To figure out what they consider to be worthwhile, look at your blog traffic, customer and audience behavior, and even competitor resources that your current customers or clients find most valuable.

2. Determine the funnel stage

Figure out which stage of the funnel you’re targeting with this gated content. Over time, you’ll likely have options that fall within each stage. For example, a case study would likely be categorized as middle or bottom of the content marketing funnel because someone downloading a case study is more toward the evaluation and intent phases, rather than the awareness phase.

Knowing the phase you’re targeting will provide clarity around the type of resource you should create.

content marketing funnel

3. Create a strong landing page…

Your landing page contains information about the content that the visitor needs in order to decide whether to download it, as well as the form to obtain it. To optimize your landing page for conversions, you need a strong hook, compelling copy, and very little clutter so the visitor is encouraged to fill out the form.

Here are some landing page examples to give you some ideas. If your landing page is indexed (i.e., it can appear on Google), you’ll need to take care of all the on-page SEO best practices.

4. … and thank you page

This, of course, is the page the user is redirected to upon completing the form and is the most important part of the lead generation process. This page either contains a button to download the PDF or media file, or it lets the user know what to do next—like check their inbox. You can even put a secondary, lower-funnel offer on your thank you page as a way to even further qualify an engage your lead.

example of a thank you page from write after requesting gated content

And if you don’t have a marketing automation platform, you can use pageviews of the thank you page to see how many times something was downloaded.

5. Deliver on your promise

If the person doesn’t get what they were promised, you end up hurting your brand more than helping it. Think about it: if a person fills out a form to get an ultimate guide on something, only to find that it’s not a comprehensive piece of content on the topic, you’ve now lost their trust, and any nurturing tactics you had planned are not going to work.

6. Follow up with and nurture your leads

This is one of the most important pieces because, once you have your leads, you need to get your offer in front of them. Depending on your product and sales process, this could look like creating a nurture flow that continues to deliver value, while educating them on what you offer, for a certain number of days, weeks, or months after.

gated content nurture email flow example

If sales calls are an important part of your selling process, your goal with these emails is likely then to get those who’ve accessed the resource on a call. As such, all your emails are guiding the recipient to book that call.

7. Measure success & iterate

As with anything in marketing, it takes time to get your gated content strategy right and optimize for the best results. Use data from Google Analytics, your CRM, and other marketing automation tools to understand how successful the campaign was and then leverage that data to create gated content that works even better.

Examples of gated content

If you’re not sure where to start, use these examples of gated content and their associated landing pages to create a valuable resource that generates leads. In each of these examples, notice how the landing pages are simple, concise, and persuasive with a large lead form to encourage conversions.

1. WordStream’s 120 Words & Phrases List

gated content example - wordstream's 120 words and phrases list

WordStream’s 120 of the Best Words & Phrases for Marketing with Emotion is a superb instance of the kind of content material that usually generates quite a lot of curiosity: an inventory. Marketers are at all times on the lookout for methods to write extra compelling copy and an enormous listing that makes their life simpler is a precious useful resource.

2. HR.com’s Performance Management Research Report

HR.com releases gated content material within the type of analysis stories regularly—like its Future of Performance Management Report. For some organizations, it is a smart way to drive leads and keep thought management inside the trade.

Notice how additional down on the web page they share insights from the report—however these are beneath the CTA and obtain button to present additional incentive to obtain with out cluttering the conversion.

gated content example - HR Research report

3. Content Marketing Institute’s Content Gaps Webinar

Rather than offering a written piece of content material, Content Marketing Institute’s “Find Your Gaps” webinar is a pre-recorded webinar that the person can entry on demand. You can even do that with dwell webinars in order for you to promote your services or products to an lively viewers. Follow our webinar suggestions to make this a hit.

gated content example - webinar by content marketing institute

4. Ryan and Alex’s PDF Calendar

Ryan and Alex created a 30-day ab challenge, wrote an in-depth piece of content on it, and then embedded the PDF calendar version in that content material. This is a good way to drive leads as a result of, as a key useful resource for finishing the problem, customers are extra inspired to obtain it. This additionally exhibits how one can embed your gated content material inside a weblog submit (which might rank on Google and generate visitors), somewhat than making a solo touchdown web page.

gated content example - pdf calendar

5. McKinsey’s customizable Inclusive Growth Report

McKinsey’s Accelerating Sustainable and Inclusive Growth report supplies some nice touchdown web page concepts right here, utilizing video within the header of the web page and permitting you to customise what info you get in your obtain. It additionally has a number of CTA buttons on the web page that every one lead to the shape, which is necessary when you’ve got quite a lot of content material on the web page.


Start generate leads with gated content material

Gated content material is an efficient lead technology software for practically any enterprise. You present worth to your potential clients whereas they provide you entry to their contact info so you possibly can construct the connection. When completed nicely, it’s a approach to supply worth and construct thought management whereas additionally rising the pipeline. Here’s a recap on how to do it proper:

  • Choose the appropriate content material
  • Align it with the stage of the funnel
  • Create a robust touchdown web page
  • Create a thanks web page
  • Deliver in your promise
  • Follow up along with your leads
  • Measure and iterate