How to Design an Ungated Offer

By Ryan Deiss, Russ Henneberry

Ungated offers can be a very useful part of your digital marketing campaign. Offers that require no risk on the part of prospective customers are the most powerful way to begin to cultivate strong relationships with customers. An ungated offer such as an informative article, video, or podcast gives value without asking for contact information or a purchase. That said, these are still offers. You are offering value to prospects in exchange for their time. And for many people, no other resource is more precious than time.

The value provided by the business is generally made available to prospects using content such as blog posts, social media updates, or videos. Successful digital marketers make free content available that provides one of the following values:

  • Entertainment: People pay a lot of money to be entertained, and content that makes a person laugh is content that is likely to be remembered. It’s why commercials try to make you laugh (think the gecko from Geico or Flo from Progressive); they have only 30 to 60 seconds to cut through all the noise and get you to remember their product or service. Poo-Pourri’s video advertisements on YouTube and Friskies’ and Buzzfeed’s “Dear Kitten” campaigns are prime examples of marketers providing entertaining content that gets their message across.
  • Inspiration: People are highly moved by content that makes them feel something. The sports and fitness industry taps into this sentiment with taglines like “Just do it,” by Nike, or Fitbit campaigns showing everyday people (as opposed to celebrities and professional athletes) achieving their goals using Fitbit. Weight-loss businesses also use inspirational content by using successful customer testimonials and “before” and “after” images.
  • Education: Ever go to YouTube to watch a how-to video? From DIY projects to how to rebuild a car engine, you can easily find educational content online. People want knowledge, and providing it helps build trust. Entire blogs, sites, YouTube channels, and businesses are built around educating people, to great success. That’s why Wikipedia gets roughly 16 billion page views a month.

The first two value propositions (entertainment and inspiration) can be difficult to execute. But the third is within the grasp of every company.

The production of content by brands is at an all-time high. An absolute glut of content is produced on blogs, YouTube channels, and social media sites every day. That said, an insatiable demand still exists for great ungated content. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that because this content is free, it does not deserve the time and energy of your other offers.

An ungated offer is, in many cases, the first transaction that a prospective customer will have with your company, and you should make it a successful one.