Request demo


Talk to more prospects,
close more deals

Generating opportunities with paid content (webinar recap)

November 5, 2020

Lead generation is accessible to everyone, but it can be incredibly difficult to get leads, especially with paid ads.

You might be asking yourself:

  • Where can you improve your paid strategy?
  • How can you reduce waste, and generate more opportunities?

Our recent webinar - Kill the MQL! How to promote paid content to create opportunities - answered all these questions and more. Our three guest speakers are true experts when it comes to generating leads that convert via paid content!

Our speakers were:

But enough with the chit-chat, scroll to see the five key takeaways from our webinar 👇

Key takeaways 

1 - The great gate debate 🔐

To gate or not to gate is the big question when it comes down to paid content.

Liam Bartholomew finds a lot of value in gated content:

"There are loads of downsides to gating content, like losing your message or your prospects no longer wanting to engage with you. It’s a big ask of people but I believe a tactic done well will still lead to results. There will always be positives and negatives to everything."

The thing about gated content is that, like with any strategy, you'll always need to establish an end goal that ties in with your buyer's journey.

Cognism has found great success in gating content online through paid ads.

How did we achieve this?

We believe in tailoring our content to ensure our total addressable market finds actual value in the content they are downloading. It's not worth gating if a prospect doesn't want it enough to give their details for it.

Liam expands on this:

"Sometimes you see a great tagline and you give your details for an ebook that consists of five points you already know. We don't want our gated content to be like this, so we try and tailor our content for our audience."

"For example, everyone wants to be able to talk to CEOs in B2B marketing, so we offered a helpful cadence to allow our target audience to do that. We also include snippets in our adverts to show people exactly what kind of value they're getting."


Experiment with advertising your gated content to see what really engages your audience. At the moment Liam is experimenting by including an image of a recognisable figure or a controversial statement in paid ads, to garner attention and get clicks.


But gated content isn't just about getting more leads. It can be repurposed for SEO on your website too, as Liam explains:

"Repurpose your content as SEO for maximum value. Then, it’s not a loss if no one completes your form for it."

Gating content is one way to go about it, but Kate Terry has a different approach:

"One of the questions you should be asking yourself is who is engaging with your content at the different stages of the buyer journey, because it's not something many companies think about."

Turtl did some research on the different stages of content and found that the time frames regarding engagement were the least measured. According to Forrester/Sirius Decisions, most companies do not measure relevance or content performance by stage of the buyer journey.

You need to ask yourself three important questions:

  1. At what point are they arriving at that content?  
  2. How much do they know about you at that point?
  3. How much are they willing to share with you?

Drift delved further into this research and they discovered that 80% of buyers will never fill out a form and 40% said they would be annoyed by it. What's more: Turtl discovered that at least 50% of the younger generations like Gen X and Gen Z would rather abuse the gate by filling in false data than willingly share their own.


So how do you prevent this?

Turtl likes to get creative. For instance: they put a gate midway through content after sharing the first three chapters. This acts as a hook; the prospect has already read part of the content, now it’s up to them to gauge if it's worth sharing their B2B data to download the rest.

Kate recommends cross-promoting gates by asking a prospect to stay in touch and sharing some additional value:

"This will help you navigate and deal with the loss of events in your pipeline. Normally we'd hard gate something like this, but we tried soft gating it and got quite a few more leads."

The great thing about Turtl is you can incorporate pop-ups, whereas on a normal landing page you might need to get a little more creative with the form.

Kate ended the great gate debate by saying:

"You need to give your prospect confidence in what they are getting. Ask yourself if your content is valuable and if there’s a good reason why it's gated?"

"You need to be mindful of what point of the buyer journey they're running into your content and what your goal is for capturing information. There are so many ways to get info, this isn't the only one."

2 - Find and target the right audience 🎯

"We need to get better at layering the different data we have on someone to figure out the next best action for them. This means creating more tailored decisions. I'd suggest approaching this by looking at what kind of content we have to offer and where they are in the buyer journey." - Kate Terry

One way to take aim at existing intent data and relevant audiences is to analyse how long prospects spent reading the information you gave them. Then you can follow up with a query if they spent more time on one specific chapter, because you can understand the intent signals they’re giving out.

When it comes to data driven marketing, Jonny Butler suggests starting with ABM and targeting companies that are already in your sales team’s pipeline or target account list. He says:

"Breakdown the data on the list based on the revenue you could potentially generate for your company and upload the CSB to LinkedIn for targeted campaigns."

You need to focus on the accounts that will generate the most value, rather than a broader target audience. LinkedIn is great for this because you can upload your list there. Liam agrees:

"So much can be done with LinkedIn because of how you can refine your targeting to your ICP. If your ICP is a certain industry and you're getting the details through, then you should follow those leads up and build a relationship with them before sending them over to sales."

Don't just look at how many leads you can create but how much revenue each piece of content is giving you. You can monitor this yourself or invest in marketing tech to monitor it for you.

3 - Creating strong content for the best leads 💪

If you want to attract quality leads, you need to create quality content, and that usually means making it hyper-personalised.

To do this, decide on your core message and change it to fit each market you want to target. Turtl is incredibly useful in creating content that's customised for each individual or account. Kate recommends:

"Using someone's name is psychologically powerful. It makes marketers stand out when something is made just for you, because it makes us feel psychologically in control of our own experiences."

Turtl is all about innovation: they try to make things more interactive with customised content. One format they use is a quiz that results in a personalised report containing  information relevant to the prospect’s industry.

Another example of content that generates quality B2B leads is their email nurture course, presented by Turtl Academy. This is where prospects were sent a daily email for 30 days so they could learn something new in bite-sized chunks. They found that people read the email all the way through and they had 70% open rates. On this Kate says:

"After you've made 12 points of contact, people will remember you and it's also great for creating brand awareness. "

4 - Establish if your CPL is worth it 💰

Segmenting your audiences is the best approach for generating opportunities and maximising CPL.

Leedfeeder tiers their data by separating it into lists that their sales team is targeting and a list based on the industries, revenue or website traffic numbers each company has. Then they allocate budget to each segment. Johnny has this to say about it:

"You need at least 20 enterprise accounts to improve your pipeline. Follow up with the prospect when you know what kind of content they are interested in."

Kate likes the useful features LinkedIn has on offer, but finds it can be expensive, so she retargets similar content on different channels:

"Facebook has introduced interest-based targeting which is so great for personalisation. Even though it's cheaper than LinkedIn, I still like to use the platform for industry-based targeting. At Turtl, we use a tool called Albacross which is good for personalised ABM display ads."

On the other hand, Liam finds the cost per SQO, rather than optimising your CPL on other platforms, to be the most important when it comes to making a bit more revenue:

"Your CPL is important for being able to determine budgets if you've created a model and built it into the funnel. But you don't just want to be looking at your CPL when you're generating hundreds of leads to fill up your pipeline and they end up not going anywhere."

Instead, he likes to look at the cost per SQO and not at competitive costs all the time:

"It looks lovely if you lower lead costs but will it actually convert down the funnel? It isn't worth it in the long run and it doesn't always mean great business."

Johnny agrees. When Leedfeeder had to cut spend during quarantine, they worked with Google Analytics to directly track the exact revenue from each prospect that signed up for a trial:

"It was interesting because we found that sometimes campaigns had a high CPL that generated a bit more leads than the lower CPL. The initial lead may look good, but it doesn't necessarily convert."


5 - Take advantage of new and old audiences 🔎

If you’re looking to discover new audiences, the best thing to do is ensure your content is sharable. Turtl had a new client find new audiences in a country they had never thought of targeting, just from someone sharing it. Kate elaborates:

"The analytics showed who engaged with the content down to the individual level, but also the geographical and account-based level. They discovered that their content had been shared to France and they were very interested in their product."

"It just goes to show, you might not know who might be interested in sharing your content and the more it is shared the better."

The point here is about being able to measure content and see who shared it, and with whom. This type of measurement is great for getting buyer and market insights. The key to this case study was the additional insight they got, which was invaluable to their sales team.

And it's not just about creating shareable content, but reducing churns too. Liam suggests:

"Your MDRS need to have set templates for tailored follow-ups and your always-on content should flow into email automations that include scalable CTAs."

Another way to reach new audiences is to reawaken your cold leads with a rekindle nurture, as Liam details:

"It starts with additional valuable content with a gate at the end and then we also add 25 free leads."

Paid content - final thoughts 🤔

One thing that is apparent when it comes to paid content is that you need to know who you're targeting, who your content is for and how it works into your funnel.

There is so much content on the internet to compete with and you need to stand out. So if you take one thing from our webinar, let it be this:

Create more stand out content.


If you’d like to gather more insight into how to generate paid content for quality leads, you can click the link below to listen to the recording and view the accompanying slides.

Listen to the webinar

Give Cognism a try 🚀

Need help generating even better leads?

Cognism can help you increase your campaign reach - all within a single platform. Book a demo today and never miss a revenue opportunity again!

Request your demo now