Building a relationship of trust with potential customers takes time and careful positioning. You want to start instilling confidence in your brand from day one, but you don’t want to force your products on your customers, or push them to give up personal information without good reason. With their mailbox full of newsletters and noise about other products, they’ll simply head elsewhere. Enter your lead magnet.
Lead magnets are all about converting traffic into leads. In other words, turning anonymous visitors into contacts with a name, email, phone number or similar. Great SEO can bring you more website traffic and some direct sales, but most visitors aren’t ready to buy. Lead magnets therefore help businesses nurture visitors until they’re ready to make the jump.
Lead Magnets allow you to deliver genuine value to potential customers, whilst simultaneously growing your email list, building your customer data, generating leads, and paving the way for a long-term customer relationship. They’re particularly effective if you’re a young tech startup without much customer data that’s looking to build authority rapidly through value-additive content.
This diagram below shows how specifically positioned lead magnets can help in loading up the funnel at different stages, even though it is most commonly used in order to capture personal data of anonymous users in order to initiate personalized marketing campaigns:
It seems like everyone’s talking about lead magnets these days, but what actually are they and where did they come from?
What exactly is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is a piece of content or an offering that’s so valuable to a customer that they are willing to share their contact details (such as their email address, first name, last name or phone number) in exchange for access to it.
Did you know that 96% of first-time visitors to your site aren’t ready to make a purchase? That means the majority come to your site simply to browse, or research and most will then leave and forget all about your brand. With only 4% actually ready to purchase, you don’t want to push your service or product on customers and risk alienating them. So what can you do to keep them on board? You can ask them to give you their email address so you can keep in touch.
But with our email inboxes already bursting with communications we don’t want, customers already inundated with information thanks to the phenomenon of content shock, and increasing concern about sharing personal data (In 2017, the number of people who said they are always happy to share personal information halved from 6-3%), users simply aren’t prepared to give up their contact details easily. And who can blame them?
The answer: offer them something they actually want in return for that information. Think of a lead magnet as an exchange in which you can earn customers’ email address by giving them a piece of content that adds value or solves a problem for them. So everybody wins.
But what makes a great lead magnet?
Creating a superstar lead magnet can be a challenge. Your value proposition not only needs to stand out from the crowd, but it needs to be attractive enough that audiences will give up data for it. So here’s a rundown of things to bear in mind when creating your first lead magnet:
- Be specific. ‘The Guide to Social Media Marketing’ isn’t going to cut it. Think more along the lines of ‘15 Tips From Experts on Using Social Media Marketing to Double Traffic’. Your lead magnet should address a niche point, be clear about the results it can bring.
- Solve a unique pain point. Know your customer and make sure it answers a particular question or pain point they might have. Keep your audience at the heart of your lead magnet and tailor your content, tone, language and format accordingly.
- Show off your expertise. Your lead magnet is an opportunity to show off your knowledge and experience in your relevant feed – and grow brand authority at the top of your funnel. If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
- Deliver instantly. A crucial part of a lead magnet is instant gratification. Customers need to receive their offer as soon as they sign up (unless you’re doing a drip technique over a number of weeks in which case they’ll receive their first installment). So don’t them wait!
- Live up to expectation. Make sure your lead magnet does what it says on the tin. If you claim it will give them the key to improving their SEO, and it’s actually about something else, you’ll destroy your hopes of building trust and creating a long-term relationship.
- And most importantly, add value. It’s vital that your lead magnet adds value to your customers in a specific way. If not, they simply won’t be willing to hand over their details to you, and your lead magnet will fall at the first hurdle.
What are the different types of lead magnet you could you use?
Now that you know the components of a great lead magnet, it’s time to choose your format. Whichever type you select, be sure to choose one that matches your target audience, skills and resources, and any existing content you might have available to you that you could recycle. For example, if you’ve just carried out a report or survey, create an infographic lead magnet to present your results. If you’ve done a blog series on a particular theme and have great writers at your disposal, why not put it together into an email crash course? Or if you have an in-house video content team, make the most of that resource by creating a webinar series.
There are no hard and fast rules for which lead magnet format to choose, aside from making sure your offering is relevant and value-additive for your audience.
Reports, White Papers and eBooks
Reports are usually centered around a new finding or survey result, white papers tend to be industry thought pieces, and eBooks are guides to particular ideas or processes. However, all are long form, valuable pieces of content which audiences can download in a PDF and learn something new from. These forms of lead magnets are perfect opportunities to upcycle existing information and content into an extensive document which adds value. They each allow you to show off your knowledge and build authority through an industry thought piece, particularly for B2B businesses. Keep your subject niche, make sure your downloadable has more value than a regular blog post, and that it’s kept up to date.
Easily digestible and simple to make, checklists can make a great lead magnet. Walk your customers through a key process like: ‘A 30 Step Checklist to Creating Your First Lead Magnet’ or ‘A 20 Point Checklist to Developing a Content Marketing Strategy For Startups’. Make sure to present your checklist in an attractive and accessible design so audiences can scan it and exact crucial information. What’s more, they aren’t difficult to make and can be a great opportunity for up-selling too!
Quizzes allow you to tell your audiences something helpful about themselves. The key here is that you position the email capture form just before they receive their results, so audiences are already invested in the process. Some ideas for this might be ‘What’s Your Customer Type?’ ‘What Type of Manager Are You?’. Link them to your product, so if your product is a dog-walking service, a quiz like ‘Which Breed Of Dog Are You?’ will lead to more captures. The key is a conversational tone and an outcome which tells the customer something about themselves which allows them to improve.
One of the simplest forms of a lead magnet is a regular newsletter sign up. You deliver relevant and interesting content to your followers’ inboxes every week in return for them providing you with their email address. This type of lead magnet can be especially valuable because it enables your interaction with your customers to continue over a period of time, with the opportunity for upselling and longer-term relationships on the way.
Infographics provide your audience with an easily digestible, beautifully laid out and accurate set of information all in one place. It needs to include cutting-edge data, and be collected in a sufficiently useful way that visitors won’t simply go and look for it themselves. Infographics are perfect for promoting on social media due to their visual nature, so be sure to share links to give it the best chance of generating ongoing leads for your business or product.
Webinar or Video Tutorial Series
If you have the capacity to create video content, a webinar or video series about a specific learning or skill-set can be a high value offering you can make to audiences in return for signups. Note that, since they require a time commitment from your audiences to watch them, they’re more appropriate for the latter stages of your sales funnel. Be sure to present your webinars in a fun and accessible way that’s easy to understand whilst still providing them with a solution to a particular issue or pain point your audiences may have- and keep them short and sweet.
Everyone wants to know which resources and tools successful businesses are using – so a toolkit or resource library can be a very popular lead magnet for generating leads. You might also want to become an affiliate with the particular products or tools you’re promoting through your lead magnet which can create extra income streams. Make sure they’re specific: ‘Digital Marketing Tools’ won’t get you anywhere, but ‘25 Free Online Tools To Improve Your Blog’s SEO’ will attract audiences looking for that specific product.
Email Crash Course
Email crash courses are simple to make, can be comprised of recycled content, and enable your audiences to learn something crucial. They also allow you to nurture prospects into leads by maintaining communications over a week, or a month, or more. We recommend a using conversational direct style which makes your audiences feel they’re being guided through a new learning, using an attractive layout, and specifying a tangible result at the end of the course. For instance, a ‘5 Day WordPress Crash Course to Setting Up Your Own Blog’ means customers end up with a tangible result: their own site. This product at the end of the course makes their signup worthwhile and opens the way for a relationship of trust with your brand.
Okay – I’m sold! Which tools can I use to make my own lead magnet?
‘But I don’t have the skills or resource to make any of these!’ – we hear you say. Making an effective lead magnet is no small feat – but don’t worry! Here are a number of inexpensive and helpful digital marketing tools that can help you to quickly and easily create a lead magnet that will be invaluable to your customers:
Hubspot’s CTA Builder can help you make appealing and attention seeking call to actions for your lead magnet. These CTAs are smart, so they will display differently depending on whether it’s a customer’s first visit to your site, it’s their second visit of the day, or they’re a regular subscriber to your lead magnets. This can help your lead magnet offering seem more attractive and more tailored to customer needs – their A/B testing can also help you improve your CTA by finding out which messaging your audience responds to best.
Sumo can help you build smart, attractive popups for your site – without the need for complex coding. Create popups which correspond to previous behaviors of your customers – for instance those just clicking through to your site from a Facebook blog post will see a different message than those who visit regularly and might be ready to buy. Top tip: be sure to deactivate these for mobile users. A huge popup which dominates their device screens will risk alienating your customers – which isn’t the outcome you want from your lead magnet!
WordPress currently powers almost 30% of the world’s websites and its plugins can help you setup your lead magnet to gather maximum data. For example, WordPress’ Beacon plugin can help you design an ebook or checklist from existing content and generate a PDF format your customers can download straight away. This plugin can also help you make your lead magnet look professional, streamlined and dynamic – because if it isn’t presented in a satisfying and easy to read way, why would your visitors part with their details for it?
MailChimp now offers a free package and can help you to automate and streamline your communications to customers: that means you can take a more hands-off approach to lead magnets like newsletters and email crash courses. You can even set up follow up emails to be sent when customers carry out particular ‘trigger’ actions, such not opening your previous email, so you can remind them to read Part 2 of your crash course, before they receive Part 3. MailChimp can help you make your communications more personal and relevant without the time-commitment or upkeep!
So there you have it! Our rundown brings you all you need to know about creating a lead magnet for your business. When it comes to lead magnets, remember to follow the golden rule: always add value. If your lead magnet doesn’t solve a specific problem, deliver a key learning, or convey genuinely useful information, audiences simply won’t be willing to give up their personal information to access it. By building value into your lead magnet, you’ll see visitors turning into leads, and then into regular customers in no time.