How to Use Gated Content with Your Book Marketing
Online marketing strategies can help build your list of loyal fans and potential book-buying customers.
Strategies such as: SEO, email marketing, list segmentation, developing engaging content & social media marketing, etc. Putting these strategies into play are fantastic for building your book marketing business, establishing your author brandand connecting with your fan base.
Gating content is one way of generating leads that many online marketers use to capture new prospects. Even if you don’t recognize the term “gated content”, chances are at one time or another this tactic has effectively led you to add your name and information to someone’s lead list!
What is Gated Content?
Put very simply, gated content is information that is valuable to the reader. The reader must perceive the value of the content to be high because they will have to exchange personal details for the information.
When you gate content on your author website, you require that your reader complete a form in order to receive the content. Typically, that form will consist of a name and email address. Some marketers might ask for a phone number, or information about your job, depending on the nature of the products or services they sell. But as we’ll discuss, the value of the content must be in alignment with the value of the information that is handed over in exchange for it.
On the flip side, ungated content is content that anyone can access, meaning the content can be enjoyed without commitments or restrictions. With ungated content, you may have worked hard on developing it and hope readers find it valuable enough to take the next step (ex. join your email list), but there are no guarantees; readers can enjoy the content without limitations.
You may opt to gate content that you believe to be valuable to your audience; here are some of the most common examples of gated content:
- Special Subscriptions
- White Papers
- Exclusive Video Content
- Case Studies
Respect the Privacy of Your Leads
Gated content can get a bad rap – especially when marketers abuse the prospects’ personal details with excessive or spammy telemarketing calls or emails. So be mindful when considering your content gating strategy, because honestly, readers don’t like to give out personal data.
The good news is that as an author and bookseller, gating truly premium content can help you generate more leads. By employing gated content best practices, your readers won’t regret their decision to hand over their personal information. Instead, you’ll have a unique opportunity to build their trust and sell more books!
Benefits of Gated Content
Once you’ve demonstrated your expertise to your readers by frequently sharing timely and engaging content, you can begin taking steps towards a winning gated content strategy. It is recommended that you be thoughtful and deliberate about what is gate-worthy and what isn’t only after you’ve started building your brand as an author and bookseller.
Quality gated content delivers a host of benefits, including:
- Strong Leads – If readers decided the cost of their personal information is worth the content you’re offering, these prospects are likely to be your target readers and most likely to become loyal fans.
- A Target Audience - The data you collect helps you build a better picture of your ideal audience.
- Increased Conversions - Now that you have more data on these solid leads, you have an opportunity to nurture your relationship with them and move them through your book-selling sales funnel.
- Retargeting - Since your new leads have already shown an interest in your content, they can be an ideal audience for retargeting ads. These ads show up on various channels your prospects visit at the right time and place.
- Increased ROI - You spend a lot of time and effort developing fantastic content. By gating it, your chances of increased ROI on that content grows exponentially.
When Does Gating Content Make Sense?
The simplest answer is it should be a win-win for both parties. If you’re asking your readers to give you personal information, what you’re offering should be worth their investment. When making the determination as to whether content will be gated, ask yourself these questions:
- Does it have value to your readers? (Make it easy for them to say yes!)
- Is it relevant to your author brand?
- Is it share-worthy? Will readers find your content worthwhile enough to share with their friends?
Tips on Using Gated Content with Book Marketing Campaigns
Book marketing is a great match for gated content. Readers LOVE to read! And it’s not often they can read the kind of content they love to read for FREE, so do what you do best – serve up some great writing and offer it as gated content.
- Consider teaser content like part of a book chapter, with the Call-to-Action (CTA) “keep reading for free by signing up!”
- Offer free sample chapters of your latest book.
- Develop a supplement to one of your best-selling books.
- Create an author coaching or fiction-writing course series.
- Offer up an entirely free ebook.
- Do you have an “exclusive” fan club or premium site that gets your followers access to more than just the typical social media posts, etc? Consider a free upgrade in exchange for lead information.
Best Practices for Gating Content
Aside from ensuring that you’re gating the right content for your audience, here are some best practices for getting the most out of your gated content strategy:
- Keep the form simple and ask for only the information you need. The more invasive, the less likely readers are to want to take the next step.
- Promote your gated content in posts, emails or other content that is ungated with CTAs that speak to your target audience.
- Direct readers to a dedicated landing page. This should be the same page you direct any promotion to – whether it be a CTA on your site, in a blog post or on social media.
- Send an email confirmation. Keep it brief and thank readers for their interest.
- Don’t overdo it. Try not to hit your new leads up with overly salesy content or email too often. This is your opportunity to build a relationship. Deliver the kind of content that will make them WANT to see and learn more about your books.
- Consider social media ads. Social ads are proven to be a strong channel for marketing gated content. You can target your audience based on interests, demographics, etc. and social ads tend to be inexpensive.
- Use tools like Aerio to gate a “peek-inside” preview, offer free sample chapters or even create an entirely free ebook. The ability to gate content and capture lead information is built right into the platform.
When used in combination with premium content, effective calls-to-action, and engaging follow-up information, gated content is an excellent tool to help diversify your lead generation and drive more book sales! Be sure to experiment with different CTAs, channel promotions and follow-up emails to find the sweet spot for your audience.