Content lockers can be an effective way of growing your email list, gaining more followers on social media and getting your content shared with a wider audience. But what exactly is a content locker and how can you use them on your WordPress website?
In this article we discuss what a content locker is and how they can help your site convert against its goals. We then look at some different WordPress content locker plugins, the features they offer and their suitability for your website.
What is a Content Locker?
A content locker is a very straight forward concept. It simply locks content behind a pop up. Viewers can then unlock the content it by performing a pre-defined action. Depending on your goals, this action could include entering their email address or following you on social media. The aim of a content locker is to increase conversions, so the action should reflect your site’s goals.
The content that you lock away can be of your choosing. However, keep in mind that it should be high value, so visitors are keen to unlock it (and don’t feel cheated after doing so). Consider using your newest posts, particularly your most informative or entertaining articles, stunning images or premium quality videos. Offering a locked away coupon, discount code or a URL to a secret page can also appeal to your audience.
Remember, you are asking your viewers to enter their email, engage with you on social media, or possibly make a payment. The locked content has to reflect this and be worth their investment.
Why Use Content Lockers?
There are many benefits to using content lockers. On your site, you may already have social share buttons and lead generation pop-ups on every page and under every post. However, these are often ignored by visitors as there is no real incentive to interact with them. Content lockers act like a lead magnet and provide the necessary nudge to encourage your audience to take action.
Grow Your Email List
In exchange for displaying your high value locked content, you can ask your audience to enter their email address and join your list or newsletter. This is a common transaction for locked content and has proven an effective way to grow an email subscriber list.
Get Your Content Shared and Increase Your Following on Social Media
Another option is to specify that your viewers follow you, like you, or share your post on social media. Once this task has been completed they are rewarded with access to your premium locked content. Not only will this help increase your followers on social media, it will also get your content shared with a wider audience and help increase brand awareness.
Turn Viewers into Paying Customers
If you run an eCommerce or membership site then locking away a coupon can be a successful strategy. This is a good way of turning viewers into paying customers, whilst also collecting an email or follower.
Try offering a discount off a particular product range or membership plan, or a free shipping code if they purchase within a specific time frame. This might be the final push your visitors need to become a paying customer.
Monetize Your Locked Content
Another option is to charge your audience to view your locked content. This can be as one off payment, or as a recurring subscription. Bear in mind, if you go down the payment route then you need to be offering extremely high-quality and valuable content.
Now we have looked at why content lockers are so valuable, let’s next find out how they can be set up. There are numerous tools and solutions that you can use to create effective content lockers. Here are some of the best.
1. Thrive Leads
Content locking forms are a feature of the Thrive Leads opt-in plugin. Thrive Leads prides itself on offering a wide assortment of visually stunning and highly optimized opt-in forms, designed to maximize your conversions. Their content locker forms are no exception.
Thrive Leads allows you to create a content locker pop-up form that will let your audience view content in exchange for an email address. You can use the content lock to hide text, images or multimedia. You could cover part of an article, a link to a secret page, a coupon, infographic, video or lots more. Remember, the more exciting the hidden information, the more your audience will want to see it. Thus allowing you to successfully grow your email list.
Thrives Leads also offers split testing, precise targeting and analytics, enabling you to show the right opt-in forms at the right time. This plugin is a great option if you are looking to successfully generate leads, and well worth the price tag of $19 a month.
2. OnePress Social Locker (Free)
OnePress Social Locker is a free WordPress plugin that helps you grow your social media following and share your content. This plugin locks the content of your choice behind a set of social media buttons. The content can only be seen by your visitors if they like, tweet, +1, or share your page on social media.
Easy to set up, simply add a shortcode to the content you want to lock. You then affix the social media URLs, and the plugin will take care of the rest. OnePress Social Locker also provides analytics so you can monitor which content is particularly sought after, and producing high numbers of likes and shares.
3. Social Locker Premium
One of the best ways to attract the big numbers is to use a social locker to protect your premium content. Users can only view your content after a simple social share. It’s a small price to pay for top quality content, and most users will be more than happy to support your website in this way.
The best plugin for the job, in my opinion, is Social Locker for WordPress Premium. With the potential to significantly grow the number of social shares your content attracts, it’s well worth the investment.
The plugin supports eight social media networks including the big 4 (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn).It also hides lockers for registered users, helping create a visitor-friendly experience for your regular viewers. The locker itself looks great, coming with some fantastic 3D effects, and also includes a high-degree of customization options. To start, you are able to select your preferred border style, social icons, and text. This helps you fit the locker in with your website’s design, as well as play around with different aspects of the locker, until you achieve the best results. The plugin also lets you select the locked content effect, choosing from hidden, transparent and blurred. The blurred effect in particular looks great, and you could easily see why a visitor would want to share to gain access to the inaccessible content.
To add a social locker to your page, all you need to do is include a shortcode. Anything above the shortcode is fully readable – the introduction to the post – with everything below the shortcode locked until the user shares the content. This approach means the locked content is still visible to search engine bots, and will not negatively impact your SEO performance.
Bloom from Elegant Themes, is another great option if your end goal is to collect emails. Bloom offers six different types of opt-in forms for lead generation, one of them being a locked content opt-in.
Bloom’s locked content widget can be used to hide your premium content and display it only to those who enter an email address. Easy to set up, simply wrap any content of your choosing in a locked content shortcode. Bloom’s pop-ups are also all visually beautiful, completely customizable and SEO friendly.
To start using the Bloom plugin, you will need to join Elegant Themes on the Developer plan, costing $89 per year. For this, you’ll be able to access all their themes and plugins, including the popular Divi theme.
OptinMonster recently launched a content locker opt-in form option. The OptinMonster content locker enables you to block specific posts in exchange for an email address. Users who are already on your email list will be able to view content as usual.
To take advantage of OptionMonster’s content locker opt-in forms, you will need to sign up to the Plus or higher level plans. This will cost you $19 a month (or more for the Pro or Growth plans). These licenses include access to unlimited opt-in forms, split testing, page level targeting and lots more. Everything you need to generate leads and convert viewers into subscribers and customers.
Content Lockers can be every effective tools for helping your site convert against its goals. Select a solution that is suitable for your site’s needs and start locking content that your audience will respond to and want to open. Most importantly, track your analytics to see if your content locker is making an impact.
Which WordPress content locker plugin will you use? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.