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Gating PDF Content – What Exactly are My Options?

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Posted by steve on March 4, 2011 at 10:31 pm

It seems that online article authors see the matter of gating content to be either black or white, gated PDFs or un-gated¬†PDFs. They’re not able to agree on whether it’s always best to gate content in order to capture information for sales lead generation or leave the documents open.

Concealing PDF content behind a web form is known as “gating” content, whether it is in the form of a white paper, data sheet or case study. Essentially, you will be only allowing access to that document if the reader is prepared to provide an array of information to you. Quite a few online marketers make use of this as a sales lead generation method, gathering as much information as possible from the reader in exchange for access to their white paper, data sheet or other PDF marketing collateral. The downside with this sales lead generation technique is that up to 95% of readers will leave a PDF when they come across a web registration form.

On the other end of the spectrum, online marketers can choose to leave the electronic content un-gated, so as to share their document openly and push their thoughts out there. The most apparent downside to this technique is that the author will have absolutely no notion of who is accessing and downloading their PDF documents or if anybody is even interested in them at all.

Rather than gating all content straight away with a web registration form, visitors ought to be granted access to a few pages of content prior to being asked for their contact information. The reader can better determine if they consider the remaining material could be of value for them, which makes it more likely that they’ll provide their details in return for total access. If the document is gated at the beginning, readers won’t have sufficient information to decide if it will offer them with enough value to give up their information; if the document is completely un-gated, then the author is not going to enjoy any benefit other than disseminating their thoughts and hoping someone reads it.

So don’t throw up your arms in frustration, unable to choose whether to hide your PDF behind a web registration form or leave it open for quick access. There is another way! Allow your visitors a taste of what is to come and allow them to decide if it‚Äôs worth it to give up their names and emails. Sales lead generation doesn’t have to be complicated or challenging for either the publisher or the reader anymore.

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