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The Case For Ungated Content

| Author: Lauren Sanders, Senior Copywriter | Topic: Content Marketing Strategy

5 Reasons Ditching The Form Will Actually Increase Revenue

For as long as marketing teams have been charged with a monthly marketing-qualified lead
(MQL) goal, they’ve run the lead magnet play, providing a content offer to prospects in exchange for their email address or other contact information.

In other words, gating assets behind a form so that when someone fills it out to download your whitepaper or e-book, they get qualified as a lead and passed over to sales.

You get to add another lead to your monthly quota. Sales gets to try reaching out to an individual that may have absolutely no intention of ever purchasing your product or service.

There are three major problems with relying on gated content offers to generate leads:

  1. When someone downloads your whitepaper or e-book, they probably aren’t ready to buy – or even to engage with your business. People read educational content to learn how to solve a problem or capitalize on an opportunity, not to make an immediate purchase decision.
  2. It creates misalignment between sales and marketing. Imagine trying to convince 100 people with Celiac disease to buy whole wheat bread. You’d be frustrated and discouraged by the end of the day – so is your sales team trying to pitch a product or service to individuals with no intent to buy.
  3. It’s seller-centric. Think about it: Gated content is gated so that you can collect contact information, not to create any value for your audience. A buyer-centric process considers the potential customer’s experience ahead of metrics and lead goals.

5 Reasons To Consider Ungated Content

Ungating content challenges the traditional marketing thinking. But as the buyer journey evolves and consumers become smarter and more skeptical, companies that want to thrive need to adjust their processes to align more closely with how people buy – beginning with how they educate themselves.

Here are five reasons ungating content could benefit both your buyer and your bottom line.

1. It reduces friction.

Today’s digital consumer is used to instant gratification. Forms put up a wall between your content and your audience, creating a fractured experience on what could be the very first interaction.

2. It increases consumption.

Remove the barrier to entry and your readership will likely skyrocket, possibly exponentially as users share your easily accessible content with others.

3. It builds brand awareness.

As your content consumption grows, so does your brand awareness. And while you can’t measure brand awareness directly, you can look at indicators of growth like increased social media engagement, website visits, newsletter or blog subscriptions and inbound demo or contact requests.

Developing brand awareness and thought leadership around a challenge facing your audience helps ensure that when they are ready to look for a solution, you’ll be top of mind.

4. It encourages better intention.

When you aren’t expecting direct, attributable ROI from an activity – like creating a piece of content – you approach it differently. Your goal becomes to produce content offers that provide value for the consumer, not for your team.

In practice, that means focusing on who your audience is, how they consume content, what their pain points are and how you can best help solve them – not slapping a clickbait title on a social ad to drive clicks because you’re short on your MQL goal for the month.

5. It forces you to set more critical metrics.

If your content is accessible to everyone, you can no longer measure success based on MQLs. Instead, ungated content forces you to set key performance indicators (KPIs) more closely aligned with actual revenue, such as sales-qualified leads (SQLs), new opportunities created, marketing-sourced revenue and sales cycle length.

Sounds pretty good, right? But before you take down all your forms and release your content unhindered, you need to understand three important things.

3 Factors To Consider When Ungating Content

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1. Your MQLs will drop.

When you dramatically change your entire marketing approach, your numbers are going to change as well. The baseline by which you’ve measured success will cease to exist – and that can be tough for marketing leaders to abide. Understand that it’s going to happen, and stay focused on more relevant predictors of actual revenue.

2. Results take time.

Marketing is not a sprinter’s sport; for any strategy to be effective, it needs to be given the chance to develop. Building that all-important brand awareness means playing the long game, developing truly valuable content with the intent of educating your audience and offering it up without expecting immediate results.

3. Retargeting is important.

You don’t want to create friction for your audience or spam their inboxes, but you still need to get in front of them. Leveraging Facebook or LinkedIn to directly target people who have interacted with your brand – using more valuable content – helps keep you top of mind without cumbersome forms or annoying email nurtures.

Ungated Content: Better For Your Buyers, Better For Your Business

When you offer your content without asking for anything in return, you improve your audience’s experience, build brand equity and establish trust – all factors that encourage continual engagement. Potential buyers can educate themselves at their own pace, increasing the likelihood that when they reach out for more information, it’s because they’re ready to purchase.

Square 2 — Building The Agency You’ll LOVE!

Posted By Author Lauren Sanders, Senior Copywriter

Lauren is a senior copywriter at Square 2. She originally joined the Square 2 team in 2018. When she left to work on an in-house marketing team at a fintech firm, she always knew she’d come home someday – and she was right. She has a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from Cedar Crest College and an MFA in creative nonfiction writing from Goucher College.

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