Content marketing -- or the use of written content such as blogs, white papers, e-mail newsletters, and more -- helps draw customers to your company website and convert new leads in an inbound, organic way.

Instead of using salesy ads, content marketing allows you to create and release valuable content that people can discover and consume voluntarily, ultimately branding yourself as an expert and trusted authority in your field.

One form of content that can be highly effective at generating leads is “gated content,” which you create and put behind a form (or "gate"). To download the content, people must provide basic contact information. Popular types of gated content include eBooks, online courses, and white papers.

I know what you’re thinking. Why would you hide great information behind a form? Will B2B buyers really fill out forms to get information? 68% of B2B companies use landing pages to gain new sales leads.

So how does gated content help you generate better leads?

1. It Confirms a Buyer’s Interest

People who share contact information on your website in order to access content have confirmed they are at least somewhat interested in what you have to share.

This means you can spend your sales time and effort following up these “warm” leads. The more warm leads your company has, the fewer cold leads they need to make sales numbers.

Another perk of gated content is that the people that fill out lead forms volunteer their contact information and are more likely to take a phone call than a cold lead.

2. It Implies Content Has More Value

When you gate content, you imply that it is more valuable than a standard blog post or article. Just like you’d expect more from subscription content in a magazine, newspaper or website, gated content can help boost your company’s identity as an authority or expert.

If a potential customer visits your website and finds “premium” content that’s more than just descriptions of your products or services, it differentiates your company from those that don’t provide this information.

3. It Makes Content More Secure

If you gate content behind a lead form on your company website, you protect it from being scraped, shared by bots and copied.

Bots can take the information you publish and disseminate it for free on other websites. You want your company website to be the exclusive source of this information, and you want people to find it on your website alongside other helpful marketing information that furthers the sale.

In short, gating content ensures that the people who are seeing it are the people that you wrote it for in the first place.

4. It Makes Personalized Lead Nurturing Easier

When a potential customer accesses specific gated content, you have a good idea of what topic resonates with them. You can then personalize your follow-up, whether it’s by email or phone.

Using marketing software or analytics, you can look at what individual leads looked at before filling out the form, and can also see their subsequent visits to your website. Because you have this intelligence in your sales arsenal, you can easily tailor your follow-up to move things along.

5. It Automates Entry Into Your CRM

If you’re using a CRM to keep up with the status of your prospects, gated content can make your sales rep(s) more efficient. When website visitors submit lead forms, this information can flow right into Salesforce or other CRM so sales reps don’t have to type it in manually.

Ultimately, gating some content on your website can bring in better sales leads, making it easier to convert people to paying customers.

Your website should be a top sales driver. Let's chat about how digital marketing can improve sales.