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How we use Turnstile to capture leads

You might already be familiar with Turnstile, the pre-roll email collection tool we added to SuperEmbeds a couple weeks ago. But if you haven't gated your content in the past, you might be wondering how best to use it. We thought we'd give you the low down on why we started gating content and how it's helped us capture leads.

Why gate content to begin with?

We realized that there were many people who were interested in Wistia, but not quite ready to begin a 15-day trial. Maybe they were only just starting to develop an interest in video marketing, or were already sold on the concept but didn't have any videos ready yet. Whatever the reason, we had no way to stay engaged with these people; we just had to hope that these prospects would come back to our site to find new information, read our blog, or rewatch video footage of Brendan for hours.

The natural solution to this problem seemed to be to collect emails. Clearly, these people were interested in the information we were doling out, so they probably wouldn't mind receiving emails that we thought were relevant to them, providing more resources and keeping Wistia in their minds for when they were ready to take the next step and invest more in web video.

So how do we encourage prospects to share their email address with us? We created a video series called Video Marketing 101 and asked viewers to enter their email to watch. It seemed like a pretty fair trade to us -- you give us your email and in return we'll give you some super useful content.

How do we gate our awesome video content?

We started by gating the videos with a landing page. It was a good first solution, but we had to get the development team to help with building it, and it was hard for a visitor to know exactly what they were getting by entering their email. The result of this first approach was a 6% conversion rate (meaning 6% of visitors who reached the landing page entered an email address).

We then switched to a custom “Turnstile” that we made. Visitors now had a better sense of what they were getting because the video and comments were right there . This solution also made sharing easier because viewers could link directly to the content (or use social sharing buttons) and new visitors were still shown the gate.

Best of all, viewers get tagged with their email in our Wistia analytics, allowing us to better follow their viewing activities. The result with this approach was an 11% conversion rate from the same type of traffic.

How do we get more leads from our gated content?

After proving to ourselves that people were willing to give their email address for this type of content and seeing some of these leads turn into customers, the obvious followup question was "how do we get more leads from this content?" We started by taking out Facebook ads directly for this resource. To make sure we were getting a return on our ad spend we made a very simple model based on the conversion rates we had seen from -- page view to entering email, enter email to trial and trial to customer. With these numbers and a rough estimate of LTV we easily calculated the max cost per click we'd be willing to spend for this campaign. Sorry can't share all the numbers-- too many people are reading this stuff these days :)

With these calculations in our back pocket we were super comfortable running our Facebook ads at $1-2 per click and saw great results. Over time we have updated the conversion numbers in the model because (not surprisingly) the traffic from ads behaves differently from the traffic that was already on our site. For example, the conversion rate for entering an email address fell to 8% for this subset of traffic and conversions rates to trial were also slightly lower. But with the basic model already built, these updates were simple to make and we are still collecting data and iterating as we speak!

In addition to driving more traffic through advertising we also started creating more content to be gated such as a series on "How To Make Your Own Product Video in an Afternoon" and a guest video series from Grumo Media, "How To Write  a Script Like a Demo Video Pro". The combination of more traffic and more content has helped us go from a handful of identified leads in Oct 2011 to over 2000 active leads today. Guess we should have thought of this earlier!

And then we figured we couldn't keep all the fun to ourselves so we made Max do his magic coding thing and now Turnstile is available to everyone (who has a Wistia account). And that's how Turnstile was born.

So, gating content seems pretty sweet... anything I should consider before gating all my videos and becoming a lead gen machine? Glad you asked.

  • Collecting leads is great but it comes at a cost. If 10% are filling in emails, that means 90% are not consuming the content. Is that tradeoff worth it? It will vary by business and content. Maybe the 10% are your best prospects anyway, or maybe lots of great prospects aren’t watching. Let's just say you probably don’t want to gate your front page video.
  • Gating content is all about trust. Visitors will only "pay" for content with their email if they trust that you won't spam them like crazy and that your content is valuable. Don't break that trust with lousy video content.
  • Gating and SEO don't mix. We have removed the ability to combine these tools from our SuperEmbed builder because Google gets mad when content is not “freely” available to the visitor when they click search results. This will keep you and us from getting punished by The Googles. Just another thing to consider before you start gating every video in your library!

Had success with your own video gating project? Shoot us an email with the link and tell us about it.

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