Give to Get: Building Your Database With Gated B2B Content
Sometimes the difference between two companies isn’t the quality of the product—it’s the ability of a company to successfully engage in business-to-business (b2b) marketing. Selling a product to a business and generating leads is difficult when both the product and the potential buyer are often complex and extremely specialized. Offering free b2b content is a great way to showcase the product or service your company offers, as well as your reliability and ability to respond to market needs.
Working within sometimes highly specialized business fields can make it difficult to cultivate a name and brand recognition. One way that businesses can forge those necessary connections is by offering free content. Businesses can offer this content in gated or ungated format. The quickest and most efficient way to deliver this free content is using email newsletters delivered regularly to clients.
Defining gated content
When content is gated, it means that the company is giving content away in exchange for a piece of information, such as an email address. Ungated content is there for the taking, with no mutual exchange. A business offering ungated content has no way of knowing who is using or benefiting from its content. However, gated content is an excellent way to build and cultivate relationships because it allows a company to track clients and build personalized platforms.
Why is gated content so valuable
Businesses offering gated content via email newsletters have several goals in mind. Email newsletters by themselves accomplish many things—they build familiarity and brand awareness and they can showcase new products and services as they become available. Gated content becomes a vital tool in customer engagement and retention because you are now able to offer their customers something of value for very little commitment. Many customers are willing to offer an email address in exchange for an eBook or a webinar because the perceived value of the gated content seems greater to them than the value of their email address.
Passing out ungated access to white papers and detailed research studies for free can help with brand recognition, but it leaves a very important business goal out of the equation: lead generation. Traditional lead generation involved a salesperson calling another person or visiting in person to pitch the product. Movement into the online space has meant that businesses research and purchase often without ever having spoken to an actual person. Providing gated content generates a new source of leads and provides a trusted source of information to the potential client.
But gated marketing isn’t just about building a list of email addresses to spam—that might generate some one-off business, but it won’t be sustainable for most. When businesses can offer multiple forms of gated content, they can gauge customer needs and target services based on the level of complexity. For instance, a company may generate an eBook that is a general overview of a topic. It might appeal best to a business in the initial engagement phase. Other prospective buyers might already be familiar, and be more interested in specs. Tracking potential leads based on the type of content they’re seeking can help a business shape its leads more attractively.
Building your base
Define the business goals–who are the ideal clients, and what services will they be getting? For effective and sustainable marketing, offer multiple types of gated content. Maintain lists based on the type of content the prospective client wants because this will help to tailor newsletter content and sales pitches to appeal to their specialized needs. Offer relevant gated content—all the free content in the world won’t generate leads if it has nothing to do with the client’s interests.
Finally, be responsive. If clients are choosing certain pieces of gated content far more than others, then notice that and offer more content in that area. Providing content and services people need builds trust and loyalty and generates a steady stream of business. They want to feel like the content benefits them in some way when they turn over identifying information like an email address. And not only will they feel more invested, but you’ll also be able to spend more of your valuable time on closing the sale.