Leveraging Gated Content for Lead Generation in Accounting Firms
Gated content can be a powerful tool for lead generation. However, in an era characterized by a surplus of freely accessible information, many businesses question its efficacy. Despite this, there are compelling instances where gated content emerges as a worthy strategy. The challenge lies in discerning when and how to employ it for maximum benefit.
By harnessing the strategies detailed in this article, you can leverage gated content to its full potential, driving leads, building relationships, and propelling your firm to new heights.
When gating content makes sense
If your content is rich, in-depth, and offers unique insights that are difficult to find elsewhere, your audience is more likely to perceive the form-filling process as worthwhile. Original research and exclusive white papers are examples of content worthy of gating.
Also, use your conversion rates as a guiding metric. If your existing gated content is already performing well, it’s best to keep what is working. The average landing pageconversion ratehovers around 2.35%. If your conversion rate is above average (the top 25% of sites see conversion rates around 5.31%, while the top 10% of sites see conversion around 11.45%), it could be a sign that your gated content strategy is working well.
Determining whether to gate your content
A thoughtful content strategy embraces a blend of both gated and ungated content. Here are some factors to consider when deciding which to use:
- Purpose: if lead generation is your main goal, gated content can be beneficial. If your primary goal is to increase your website’s visibility, ungated content is preferable because, unlike gated content, it can be indexed by search engines.
- Content value: even when aimed at generating leads, the content must provide sufficient value to warrant users providing their contact information.
- Competitive landscape: consider if similar information is available ungated from your competitors. You might inadvertently place yourself at a disadvantage by gating content others offer for free.
The benefits of gated content for accounting firms
When executed well, gated content can significantly enhance your firm’s marketing efforts, solidify your position as an industry leader, and drive your firm’s growth.
Positioning your firm as an industry expert
When you offer gated content like comprehensive guides or industry-specific whitepapers, you demonstrate your firm’s expertise. According to the 2022 Edelman-LinkedIn Impact Study, thought leadership has emerged as the most effective tactic in demonstrating a provider’s potential value. Specifically, the study found that 61% of decision-makers say that an organization’s thought leadership [is] more effective at demonstrating the potential value of its products or services compared to traditional product-oriented marketing. Likewise, Forbes has noted that 81% of customers make purchasing decisions based on how much they trust a brand.
Lead generation and qualification
Gated content’s primary advantage is its potential to generate leads. And, the leads generated through gated content are typically higher quality, as they have already shown a level of interest by providing their contact information to access your material.
The data collected from gated content provides valuable insights into your marketing strategy’s effectiveness. You can track how many people downloaded your content and how many became clients. This makes it easier to assess the ROI for your content marketing efforts.
Segmentation and targeting
When visitors complete a form to access gated content, they provide information that can be instrumental in building detailed client profiles within your CRM. Understanding your potential clients’ interests, industries, and needs can lead to more effective, personalized communication strategies.
Lead nurturing and improved client retention
Gated content is an effective tool for nurturing leads through your sales funnel. A report from Forrester Consulting indicates that lead nurturing leads to 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost per lead. Providing a steady stream of valuable content helps maintain engagement with potential clients, moving them closer to choosing your firm’s services.
Gated content isn’t just about attracting new leads. It’s also about providing ongoing value to existing clients. According to a report from Annex Cloud, increasing client retention rates by just 5% can increase profits by 25% to 95%. By offering exclusive content to existing clients, accounting firms can cultivate loyalty and improve client retention.
Creating and optimizing gated content
Gated content can be a strategic asset for accounting firms, but it requires careful planning and execution.
Balance content aligned with the buyer’s journey
While gated content serves as a potent tool for lead generation, it’s important to balance this with ungated content. Offering a blend allows potential clients to experience your firm’s expertise without restrictions, building trust before they’re asked to provide contact information.
To effectively leverage this mix, it’s crucial to align content with each stage of the buyer’s journey. This journey is often segmented into three distinct stages: awareness, consideration, and decision.
The awareness stage marks the beginning of the buyer’s journey, where potential clients recognize they have a problem or need but are unsure about potential solutions. At this stage, they are primarily seeking educational content to understand their challenges better. Blog articles, ebooks, and webinars on broad topics related to accounting can help raise awareness and provide a foundation of knowledge for potential clients. Optimally, this type of content is offered ungated to build trust and demonstrate your expertise.
In the consideration stage, buyers have clearly defined their problem and are actively exploring various approaches or methods to address it. They are looking for more specific, in-depth content that compares options and discusses potential strategies. White papers and templates can showcase your expertise and provide prospects with a tangible solution they can use immediately. Gating these resources can help generate qualified leads as these prospects are closer to making a decision and more likely to exchange their contact information for valuable content.
During the decision stage, buyers have decided on a solution and are comparing different providers or services. They need specific, detailed content about your firm and why they should choose your services over competitors. Case studies can demonstrate your firm’s success with clients, and product demos can offer prospects a close look at your offerings, further persuading them to choose your firm. Given the specificity of such content, it is best used when nurturing existing leads.
Prioritize quality and choose the right content
The success of your gated content strategy hinges on the quality of the content you offer. Ensure that your gated content is well-researched, professionally written, and provides real value to your audience. The content should address the challenges and pain points that resonate with your target audience.
For accounting firms, your audience’s needs often revolve around tax planning, financial management, or industry-specific accounting practices. You can also analyze your client inquiries and competitor resources to identify topics that will resonate most.
Importantly, quality gated content doesn’t always have to be created from scratch. Compiling your existing, popular content into comprehensive guides or ebooks can deliver added value for your audience. This approach allows your individual content pieces to maintain their search performance while the compiled versions drive conversions.
It’s also worth exploring different types of gated content, such as:
- eBooks: eBooks provide detailed insights and can be made interactive for a more engaging experience. They often pair well with related blog posts, nudging visitors to share their contact information for additional value.
- White papers: in-depth reports on a specific topic can help position your firm as an authoritative voice. This long-form content should be packed with valuable insights and data-driven evidence.
- Templates: practical and actionable templates make for excellent gated content. Providing ready-to-use resources like financial planning spreadsheets or tax filing checklists can attract prospects who are actively seeking solutions.
- Webinars: an interactive form of gated content, webinars can effectively educate prospects while familiarizing them with your firm. These are most suitable for prospects in the awareness stage.
Create compelling landing pages
Landing pages are the gatekeepers to your content, and they play a pivotal role in convincing visitors to exchange their contact details for the resources you offer. When creating your landing page, you’ll want to craft an attention-grabbing headline that conveys the value of the gated content. Then, create a brief yet compelling description of your content. Highlight the unique insights it provides and the problems it helps solve. Make sure to convey the immediate value visitors will gain from accessing it.
Keep your form straightforward and simple to complete. Request only necessary information to avoid overwhelming visitors. For high-value content, you might ask for more details, but generally, stick to basic information such as name and email.
Finally, be sure to optimize your landing page for SEO to increase visibility and drive traffic to your offering.
Follow up and nurture leads
The very essence of gated content lies in its potential to generate qualified leads. However, this purpose is defeated if leads provide fake emails just to access your content. One way to prevent this from happening is to distribute your gated content via email instead of allowing an instant download. An automated response offering the gated content can validate the email addresses obtained, ensuring you only receive accurate, usable contact information.
However, acquiring leads is only the first step. The key to a successful gated content strategy lies in effectively nurturing these leads. This means initiating prompt follow-up contact, which can be an email delivering the promised content with a brief thank you note.
Personalized and targeted email campaigns acknowledging a lead’s specific interests or concerns can set your firm apart and establish a stronger connection. Consistent follow-up interactions can maintain engagement, provide ongoing value, and gradually guide the lead toward conversion.
Leveraging CRM tools can streamline much of this process, ensuring you keep track of lead behavior, automate your communications, and refine your strategies based on gathered insights.
Test and Optimize
A successful gated content strategy does not end once your content is published. It’s crucial to keep a close eye on the performance of your gated content campaigns, consistently monitoring and analyzing their outcomes. You might need to experiment with different content types, modify landing page copy, or revise your follow-up strategy.
Remember, this process is not a one-time effort but an ongoing commitment. By routinely refining your approach, you ensure that your gated content strategy remains dynamic and responsive, continually generating leads and driving business growth.
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