Gated or Ungated – Solved For B2B

To give a brief context of what gated and undated items are, I’ve borrowed the analogy from the apartment buildings.

There are security guards posted at the entry gates of an apartment building. Nobody can enter the building without the guards permitting them.

Some apartments have a system where you (the guest) need to tell the guards the flat number, then they dial to the residents of that flat number and confirm if they’re expecting someone. Only after cross-checking, the guards will allow you in.

There are some society campuses where there are multiple apartment buildings. You’ll see guards at the entry gate of the campus, and there will also be guards at the entrance of each apartment building inside that campus.

There is yet another kind of apartment where there is no barrier for anyone at the gates. Anyone can enter the campus and the building any time of the day.

Now, in place of the apartments, picture your marketing and sales resources in the form of ebooks, reports, white paper, demo videos, explanatory videos, recorded webinars, etc.

And, in place of the security guards at the entrance of the apartment, picture your form that someone can fill and enter your system to access it.

That picture is clear, right?

This is a huge debate – Gated or Ungated

You’ll find various perspectives on this, and nothing you learn in favor or against would be 100% true or false. Free to go with the gut, but first understand how your audience will react to it. Do enough tests, and then decide.

Now, let’s understand the kind of content you can gate and ungate.

Gated content, in most cases, includes:

  • Ebooks
  • Webinar
  • Whitepaper

Ungated content, in most cases, includes:

  • Blog
  • News articles
  • Social media content
  • Past newsletters

Even though I’ve listed above the kind of content pieces that should be gated and those that should be ungated, something else is more important for deciding what should be kept hidden.

And, that is the “buying stage”.

How buying stage impacts the gating and ungating of your content

gated ungated content

Even after explaining the gating/ungating of content items based on buying stages, here’s my suggestion –

Do not stick to one way or the other. Something that worked for someone, might not work for you, and vice versa. Test, and test a lot.

Every time you have a fresh content piece and you need to make this decision in your head, here are a few questions you must ask yourself to make the process a little easy –

  1. What does my ideal B2B prospect expect from me at this stage?
  2. What do they want to learn now, and is may content piece doing justice to their demands?
  3. Is this the right kind of content for my prospect at this stage?
  4. How would my prospect feel at this stage if I gate the content?
  5. Will they be willing to give away their contact info for the kind of value I’m promising them in exchange?
  6. Is asking for their contact info at this stage really needed for me? Is it justified for them to share it?

How to ease the process of gated content?

There might be some situations where you absolutely need to gate the content. Fair enough. Go ahead and hide that piece of content behind a form, but try to make the process smooth as butter.

Try some of these –

  • Use a shorter form, like ask only email address, if possible
  • Auto-fill the form fields for which you already have information
  • Make the landing page so engaging that it justifies asking for contact information
  • Show a glimpse of what they’ll get after filling the form
  • Popups with long forms is not a good idea. Either move to an inline form, or ask for less information on the popup form

Gating all your content might feel important at first. But, always think from your prospect’s perspective.

If it’d help, think about a specific real life person you’ve interacted with before who ultimately bought from you after exploring content of different kinds at various stages.

How would she or he react or feel if they come across this content piece and it was gated.

Would they be annoyed, reluctant, happy or won’t care much?

You’ll get your answer.