How to Create Effective Gated Content Landing Pages
Creating effective gated content landing pages is an essential strategy for building your email list and growing your community. It is one of the best ways to get the most value from your Ad Grants because it gives you valuable information about your supporters and a line of communication from which to build a meaningful relationship. We have talked about this strategy in several of our previous blogs andÂ we often get asked by our clients what makes for an effective gated content landing page. I’ve written out some of the basic steps below.
- When Should You Gate Your Content?
- 7 Steps to Creating an Effective Gated Landing Page
- Examples of Effective Gated Landing Pages from other Nonprofits
When should you gate your content?
To gate, or not to gate. That is the question.
There is an inherent dilemma when it comes to gating content: What about the SEO value of the content you hide behind a gate? In order for someone to be willing to give up personal information, like their email address, you need to offer something of value in return. However, if you gate high-value content, you have to think about the opportunity cost of the SEO potential of this content. The content that people are willing to give up information for, is often the most valuable content that will also be some of your best SEO content. The SEO potential of your page decreases significantly if you hide most of it behind a gate; or can even disappear completely. Instead, you will need to send traffic to this page from other sources like search engine ads or Facebook ads.
So when do you forgo this free, organic traffic, to get leads?
Benefits of Gated Content Landing Pages
There are some clear advantages to gated content, which include:
- You can get more information aboutÂ who your supporters are;
- It will be easier to build an ongoing relationship with these supporters because you can now, for example, send them emails and retarget ads to them on Facebook; and
- You will have a larger supporter base to activate for your cause.
Drawbacks of Gated Content Landing Pages
The disadvantages of gated content include:
- You will reachÂ fewer peopleÂ with this content;
- The page will get fewer referrals, social shares,Â etc.;
- Some usersÂ will be annoyed —Â users who would have been interested in your content, dislike this type of ask and you may turn them away by putting up a gate.
So ultimately, you have to decide if the leads you will get are worth more to you than the missed audience potential. And you have to choose a piece of content that is valuable enough for people to be ok with giving up their information, and which you can be satisfied with not to reach that larger potential audience.
Alternatively,Â if you can offer something of value that cannot get you organic SEO value easily, such as exclusive pictures, then that could be something you can offer in return. Another option is to repurpose your content in different ways, and have some of it gated, and some of it publicly accessible to everyone.
Now, once you are sure you want to gate some of your content to capture email addresses and build your community, we can get started.
7 Steps to Creating Gated Landing Pages for Nonprofits
AÂ lot of these steps depend on what systems you’re working with, but here are the basic best practices to creating gated landing pages.
1. Create a landing page
We’d recommend to pick a resource that has done well for your AdWords in the past and create a landing page around that. That way, you already know that your audience values this resource, you know which keywords to target and you have good historical performance on those keywords to help give you a boost once the landing page goes live.
When designing the landing page for gated content, we recommend following theseÂ guidelines:
- The page should have a highly simplified and modern design;
- Utilize color, imagery, and/or icons to convey concepts when possible;
- Minimize the number of form fields to increase the likelihood of sign up. You can always gather more information later once you have a user’s email address. At the very least, ask for their name and email.
- Use your target keyword and related keywords, and most importantly;
- Have a clear call-to-action.
2. Determine how the user gets access to the resource
After a user submits the form, they should,
(1) See a confirmation page with the PDF download, OR
(2) Receive an email with the PDF.
3. Create a thank you / confirmation page
This looks differently depending on what you chose in step 2. Either thank the user for downloading your resource or confirm that an email will be sent to them that will containÂ the resource.
Having a call-to-action on your thank you page, such asÂ ‘check out more of our music educator resources‘ (include a link)Â or asking them to share the landing page on social media, is also a best practice.
4. Make sure the email collection process is aligned with your existing email / donor systems.
Make sure your leads are added to your existing email lists, or any other CRM systems where you’d want them to be added. We don’t want those valuable leads getting lost.
Make sure you create a custom group, or email segment, for this group. Having an email segment based on sign-up point is importantÂ because it gives you valuable information about what kind of information they are interested in. It is also important so that you can send them a custom welcome series, which leads me to the next point.
5. Set up an email welcome series
Set up a custom welcome series to both thank your new supporters for downloading your resource and to welcome them to your community. This should be at least one email that is triggered after they download the resource. You could create some follow-up welcome emails as well that show them more, similar resources, or other content you’d think they’d be interested in based on the resource they downloaded. The more specific the welcome is to what you know they are interested in fromÂ the resource they downloaded, the better. So make sure you use email segmentation.
6. Set up conversion tracking on the confirmation page
Make sure you have conversion tracking set up on the confirmation landing page for the relevant platforms. For example, for Google Analytics you can set up a destination goal that you can import into AdWords and for Facebook ads you can set up a custom conversion as well.
If you are a client of ours, we’ll guide you through this process or can even set this up for you.
7. Go live and celebrate
Congratulations! You’ve created a gated landing page. Now, you can set up an AdWords campaign and/or Facebook Ad campaign toÂ drive traffic to itÂ and don’t forget to always measure & optimize its performance.
Effective Gated Landing Page Examples:
Below are several examples of email capture landing pages that we have created for some of our clients.
- diaTribe:Â “10 Commandments Guide” to eating for diabetes in exchange for an email.
- Rainforest Alliance:Â email in exchange for a slideshow that shows how their work is conserving habitat for threatened rainforest species.
- Canadian Wildlife Federation:Â hiking trail guide in exchange for email
These have been quite successful in converting visitors to email signups. The first landing page for diatribe has been particularly effective, driving ~3,000 new subscribers monthly. We believe this is because the page looks and feels much like a regular website, but there is really only one action to take (download the PDF). Read the diaTribe case study to get the full story and strategy behind this landing page.