Post updated 3 May 2020
Create a lead magnet that people actually want
Lead magnet. Opt-in. Incentive. Freebie. Ethical bribe.
They go by many names but they all boil down to the same thing.
You give something away to get something in return. In this case, an email address.
You know how valuable an email address is. Despite all the claims that email marketing is dead/dying/on its last legs/living in a rest home in Bournemouth, it’s still very much alive.
Estimates reckon that there will be nearly 254.7 million e-mail users in the U.S. alone by the end of 2020.
Email is a platform that doesn’t change, unlike social media.
Tapping ‘like’ on a Facebook page or ‘follow’ on a Twitter account is a low maintenance relationship. There’s no guarantee your followers see your updates.
But the inbox? That’s hallowed ground.
If you want the privilege to present your wares in such a personal space? You need to show the goods upfront to get your foot in the door.
Avon calling, the original lead magnet
It’s not a new idea. In the 1880s, a door-to-door bookseller struggled to even get past the doorstep. So he hit upon a novel idea to get into the living room so he could pitch his wares.
He gave away a free sample of perfume to anyone who listened to his pitch.
Our trendsetting bookseller realised housewives were more interested in the perfume than the books and Avon was born. But that’s not the moral of the story.
The moral is–give someone something they want, and they’re more likely to listen to you. Give something they really want–and they’ll buy from you.
Your lead magnet is no different from that free sample of perfume.
So how do you make a lead magnet that people actually want?
You can just offer a newsletter, right?
Wrong. Super popular blogs, or blogs by influencers, can offer newsletters. Subscribers are begging to hear what they have to say. Unless you’re one of those rock stars, your business needs to offer something extra.
A lot of commentators will advise you to make a lead magnet your potential subscribers need. Solve a problem and they’ll sign up in droves. That’s a valid strategy.
It can backfire though. You could spot a problem in your niche and offer a solution through your lead magnet. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people sign up to get their hands on it. But if it doesn’t relate to what you sell? You’ve just built an audience of the wrong people. No matter how fantastic your lead magnet is, if it doesn’t lead to sales, then it’s a waste of your time.
Don’t worry. There’s a solution to that problem too. But you must work backwards. What should subscribers do after they sign up? Buy something? Book something? Your lead magnet is the bridge to that. It could be a discount code, an offer for first-time customers, or a useful guide that leads to your paid offering.
So if you run a hotel, then you might make a lead magnet listing 10 must-see attractions in your region. You could even partner with the attractions to secure discounts for your guests in exchange for you promoting them.
If you’re a wedding photographer, then you might offer a checklist for potential brides. Teach them what they need to look for when choosing a wedding photographer. And make sure it leads to booking you.
You need to create a logical jump from the contents of your lead magnet to whatever it is you sell/offer.
Avoid the temptation to make your lead magnet generic.
You might want to try to snag a wider range of subscribers. As backwards as it sounds, you only want those subscribers likely to buy from you. Don’t be afraid to address their specific needs in your lead magnet.
Not sure what those needs are? Ask your customers.
Send them a short questionnaire asking for their feedback.
If you ask them to do you a favour, they’re also more likely to do it. It implies you’ll owe them one, and it also shows you see your relationship as a two-way street.
Email marketing is all about building those relationships.
Just remember to add a ‘because’. Even if it’s as simple as ‘because I’d like to provide more resources to help you’. Then you know what to address when you make a lead magnet.
Pay for a designer to inject your lead magnet with some design pizzazz. At the very least, it should break the text into bullet points or include graphics. No one likes a wall of text.
Above all things, keep your lead magnet short and sweet. A 90-page ebook will probably just gather dust on their hard drive. But a checklist that helps your subscriber achieve something? That’s gold.
What can you offer as a lead magnet?
Cheat sheets or guides are always popular. Anything that helps someone to save time, or do something better, is a winner. Just make sure it’s the stepping stone between what a customer is looking for and what you sell.
Presentations from events can become lead magnets and you can advertise their availability at the event. Have you attended a top event in your industry? Gather your top 10 takeaways and make a lead magnet out of those.
If you’re interviewed on a podcast, get a transcript of the episode. You can offer that to new signups. Or interview someone else in your niche and offer the recording (video or audio, it’s up to you) to subscribers.
Even curated newsletters can work. I know I said newsletters were a bad idea, but curated newsletters are different. It’s a weekly round-up of information in your niche that they need. Your subscribers are busy, they don’t have time to scrape every website looking for content. Provide it for them. Austin Kleon and Brian Clark are both masters at the curated newsletter – the sheer value in each email becomes the lead magnet.
They both have ‘buy’ links in those newsletters. Provide value and people will buy.
Get your marketing solution in order
If you’re going to make a lead magnet, you need an email marketing provider to back it up. You’ve learned why it’s important to create offers people want–so you should choose a people driven solution. Tired of your existing provider? Check out our guide to migrating your email list.
Otherwise click here to sign up and start using the platform that’ll help you supercharge your email marketing. If you’ve got any questions, pop a comment below or get in touch and we’ll help you get started.
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