How to Hide Content Behind An Email Sign-Up

You may have wondered how to require an email subscription

You may have wondered how to require an email subscription for access to your high-quality content, the stuff you can’t find just anywhere on the Web.

After all, you spend a lot of time and energy putting it together. You brainstorm, dig around the Internet doing research and polish your message like a well-loved shoe.

You could charge for your content, but you know that subscribers, of course who will read and respond to your emails will be more valuable in the long-term.

So how do you make the trade?

Require A Subscription For Access To Your Most Valuable Content

Hiding your content behind your email sign-up is called “gating” the content. It’s an effective way to motivate your web site visitors to subscribe, and it’s easy for you to set up.

You see, when you set up your web form, you choose a “confirmation success” page – a page your new subscribers land on after filling out your web form.

Generally, that page will confirm the reader’s subscription and thank them for their support.

In this case, however, you’ll redirect your new subscribers to a custom confirmation success page where your high-quality content resides. (Here’s how to set it up.)

You’ll want to make sure that a word of thanks for signing up is still included, ideally above your promised content.

One last detail: make sure your “gated” web page isn’t linked to from anywhere else, or you’ll have would-be subscribers hopping the fence!

You Can Gate Files As Well

If you want to offer an e-book, a whitepaper or even an MP3, you can use the same process. Just put the link to your download on your new confirmation success page.

Up-front Payment Or Email Addresses?

Some people charge a straight-up, one-time payment for their content. Others use the strategy above, asking for email addresses in return for premium information.

Which do you prefer? Is marketing to your subscribers over the long-term a better alternative to a one-time sale?


  1. Simon Cowan

    11/29/2012 11:57 am

    I normally prefer to advise clients to require only an email address and not an upfront payment. I’d much rather get the email and not ‘turn away’ others at the gate by requiring credit card details, etc. However, for some clients the ROI of having just a few select people (those most likely to contract services) pay for our highest quality content makes this practise worthwhile.

  2. Greg

    11/30/2012 1:44 pm

    Love it Amanda. This is just one of those methods that will never go out of style.
    I guess its debatable whether the confirmation success page or the follow up email is better for delivering that premium content like an eBook. It’s the worst if someone fails to get there…which method to you recommend?

  3. Rebecca Woodhead

    11/30/2012 1:45 pm

    I much prefer to build a responsive list rather than a one time sale. The people who buy my products are typically people with whom I’ve built a strong relationship through a combination of content, social media, and email marketing.

    Those who go on to buy my products or books then tend to be the ones most likely to approach me about coaching. It’s a nice, organic, process. It means that only the best suited writers and entrepreneurs end up working with me. That, in turn, improves the success rates of my clients. Everyone wins.

  4. jarom

    11/30/2012 1:52 pm

    If somebody joins your email list, you’ll have many opportunities to sell something to them over the life of your relationship.

    If you try to sell something and they don’t buy, then that’s the end of it.

  5. Ashley Porter

    11/30/2012 4:52 pm

    This info make sense Amanda. Premium content, info should be seen by those who will be interested in it and will engage with it and the best way to filter with email subscription.

  6. Randall Magwood

    12/1/2012 6:03 am

    Is this like setting up a membership site?

    I like a one-time sale, but I have a backend process for selling to these new customers. I personally prefer collecting a group of customers, over a group of free leads.

  7. Sean Olson

    12/4/2012 12:43 pm

    The opt in form is crucial. The invitation to opt in must be delivered based on the type of content on the page being seen. I have tried all different methods on my site. Thanks Aweber for your awesome tools!

  8. W

    12/13/2012 5:45 am

    You have shared a very important important information. I am not finding the words to thanks you. Hiding the content behind an email sign up is just amazing. Thanks for the share.

  9. SS

    12/19/2012 4:41 am

    Research is the main and basic thing to write attractive, comprehensive and user friendly content which will help a lot to get good position in search engine as well as to attract visitors.