I've written about gating content before. You "gate" content when you require a visitor to your website to provide her name and e-mail address in order to download a piece of content. Having her name and contact information amounts to having a fresh lead.
In January, I launched a new website for a client. One of the key functionalities I built was gating an e-Guide to do precisely this - generate e-mail lead capture. In the first week of going live, three people downloaded his e-Guide. While it's not an astonishing number by big firm standards, for my client, this was what the new website was all about - generating fresh leads. I know his business well enough to know that if any of these leads becomes a client, that single conversion alone would pay for his new website, if not more.
WHY DID IT WORK?
The short answer:
I gave his visitors a preview of what his e-Guide contained.
Some of my ideas about marketing come from watching my own behavior. I got the idea of providing a preview of my client's e-Guide from how I shop for books on Amazon. I find that when I read a preview, and it resonates with me, I almost always purchase the book or audio book. And more often than not, I do not regret the purchase.
So that's what I did for my client's e-Guide. I provided access to the first few pages, so that visitors could make a considered judgment about whether it was worth their giving their contact information to have access to the entire guide.
Does providing a preview of your marketing asset work in all cases to encourage a potential lead to provide her name and contact information so that you can follow up with her at a later date? No, it does not. If your content i.e. white paper or e-Guide doesn't provide valuable, usable information, it will fall flat. If it doesn't meet these standards, you could give away all the content and it still wouldn't compel a potential client to connect with you.
In short, content is king only if it's good content. And that's a whole different story altogether (see my next post).
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