Your website is the hub of your business online and it has a threefold purpose: to define your brand, to generate an audience for your content, and to direct your audience to make purchases or become sales leads. Landing pages and gated content are two important and related pieces of a successful digital marketing strategy. These tools can be used to guide your audience through their buyer's journey and ultimately lead them to convert. In this article we will discuss what landing pages and gated content are, and how to use them to generate qualified leads online and boost sales.
Landing pages are optimized pages of a website that are built in order to present a downloadable content offer to a user. They are highly targeted pages built around a specific topic and a single content offer. Landing pages are optimized to attract visitors at certain stages of their buyer's journey, and the downloadable content is meant to move that user to the next stage of their journey. Landing pages not only collect valuable information about potential sales leads, but they also help to educate and propel your site visitors to convert naturally.
In order to be considered a landing page, the following two criteria must be met:
1. The page must contain a form that will provide the user content if filled out (that’s the gated content access point)
2. The page must be optimized for a single piece of content that is not available without providing information to the website
Landing pages are designed and built to convert. As a result, they generally lack the global site navigation and don't contain any links to other content. The page will be visually themed in the same way as the rest of your website, but is specifically designed to be streamlined and simple in order to prevent the visitor from being distracted by any additional navigation and keep them focused on the current piece of gated content.
Gated content is content that is accessed through a landing page, behind a form, and cannot be accessed without an exchange of information. Whether the form simply requires an email address or a complete address card, the content must be attractive enough to warrant your visitors divulging their contact information for it. Making a gated content offer is something that is best done when you understand your site visitors, their buyer's journey, and can create content that you know they will want badly enough to give you their valuable contact information to get it.
Examples of content that are great to offer as a download are:
Images (high quality)
Gated content is a two-way negotiation. Your site visitors must desire the content and find it useful- and in return you will receive valuable information about potential leads. It is a great way to satisfy your audience and keep them engaged with your brand, as well as to identify users that are ready to sell to.
USING GATED CONTENT TO OPTIMIZE YOUR SALES FUNNEL
Your sales funnel, or content conversion path, is the way you organize the navigation flowchart behind your website in order to guide users toward the desired outcome- ie, making a sale. If you have any kind of web presence at all which is meant to sell your product or service, then you have a sales funnel, and it’s crucial to know when to engage the use of landing pages with gated content to push your site visitors to convert to customers.
There are three basic stages of a sales funnel- top, middle, and bottom.
1. Top of the funnel: A buyer at the top of the funnel is trying to fix a problem, and is looking to get educated about solutions.
2. Middle of the funnel: This is the point at which visitors are turned into leads, and at this point you are showing your visitors why your services are the best option for solving their problem. Here is where you gather information on visitors, and this is the best spot to apply selective use of gated content. Once you have a user who has traded information in order to access a piece of gated content, you are able to directly engage them in your sales process.
3. Bottom of the funnel: Buyer is ready to buy, it’s just a matter of which solution they choose.
By using the right content at the right time, you can push your visitors from the middle of the funnel to the bottom, and ultimately to a sale.
Landing pages and their associated gated content exist in order to guide your audience on their way to becoming a paying customer. They can provide a variety of information to your site visitors, but the content should always be optimized to push your visitors toward the next stage of their buyers journey.