What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is essentially a freebie you give away in exchange for someone’s email address. In other words, it’s an incentive to for people to make it okay to give you their email address and let you into their inbox.
We want lead magnets that not only are people going to opt in for, but move them forward in the buyer’s journey toward our desired outcome (which will be different for every business out there).
With this, we can discuss both B2B type lead magnet consumption, and B2C type lead magnet consumption, but at the 30,000 foot goal of the lead magnet is to move people along the buyer’s journey. The faster we can get them to do that the better.
What Makes for A Good Lead Magnet
There is no such thing as one perfect lead magnet for all businesses. What resonates with one audience may completely turn another off. It also depends on the goal of your lead magnet as well.
Wit that said, there are some universal best practices that should be followed regardless of what kind of lead magnet you create. If you want to have a high-converting lead magnet, you should meet the following criteria:
1. It’s action driven
Lead magnets need to provide a tool, a skillset, and/or useful information that your audience can apply right away.
2. It’s incredibly specific
The more specific you are about the benefit of your lead magnet, the more (and higher quality) leads it will convert.
3. It creates noticeable improvement
People continue to buy products and services if they work, and work well. Your lead magnets will be successful if they are as valuable as your paid products and services.
4. It’s free
To generate interested leads, you need to give away free stuff. Just make sure it doesn’t look like it’s free.
5. It’s high value
Be sure to put as much (if not more) effort into building out your lead magnet as you do with your paid products and services. More likely than not, this will be your audience’s first exposure to your brand. Be sure to make it count.
6. It’s relevant.
If you did your homework about your prospects, you should have no problem coming up with a lead magnet that solves your prospects’ problems.
7. It’s instant
They should receive your lead magnet the instant they enter their information and hit the “send” button.
8. It Demonstrates your expertise
Whether you have a miniature checklist or a longer-form report (as we’ll get into in a second), your lead magnet should demonstrate your expertise and/or your unique skillset. This will get your leads to trust you more and help turn those leads into customers later down the road.
Lead Magnet Consumption Strategies
So what can we do to move them through the buyer’s journey fast, and what types of lead magnets are going to move them slower through the journey? There are benefits to lead magnets that are consumed slower, but they’re not entirely based around immediate conversions. It comes down to the end goal of what you’re trying to establish with that lead magnet.
As Stephen Covey once wrote in “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” begin with the end in mind. So what will you be trying to get people to do when they consume your lead magnet? What’s the best method to go about getting them to do that desired action?
1. Establish Authority with Long eBooks, white papers, case studies, and mini-courses
This strategy can convert into a sale, but it will take time to do it. The purpose with this strategy would be to build yourself up as a thought leader in your industry.
You want to show that you’re an expert in your field. You want to become a thought leader in your field. You can do a number of things with this end goal, whether it be to sell books, get speaking engagements on stage, get higher-end clients who want to purchase your services and retain you for their needs.
This is where ebooks, and “ultimate guides” come into play. When you create an “ultimate guide” (and it deserves the moniker) you become known for thought leadership. You will want to be careful with the terminology of what you call your ebook based on your industry because certain people won’t opt in based on certain types of offers because of how you word it (this comes down to split testing).
Now, that won’t necessarily equate to an immediate conversion, but what you’re trying to do is to establish yourself in the marketplace as kind of an expert in your field.
This way, when people think of purchasing something in that particular industry that you’re serving, they’ll think of you and maybe buy from you. But more importantly it’s like you become a sphere of influence, and people might follow your social media posts and subscribe to your email list because they see you as an expert and get value from your messages. This is the beginning of a longer nurture process.
With a long ebook or long authoritative blog post, it’s not likely to immediately transition into a sale because it takes a long time to consume that content, even with a great email follow-up sequence dedicated to it. The person looking for that ultimate guide are frequently trying to arm themselves with knowledge and they might be doing it on their own, but even when they try to arm themselves with knowledge and they become overwhelmed after you armed them with that knowledge, they’ll be like “okay, it turns out that these guys know what they’re talking about and I tried to do this on my own (or my team tried to handle it), but it was too much, so I’ll reach out to this person/these people and see if they can do it for us.”
The same overall strategy works when you use things like white papers, mini-courses, case studies, and so on.
A white paper is essentially a huge industry report on, for example, “The State of Marketing in 2018” or “Advertising Trends over the Last 6 Months” or anything along those lines.
studies are essentially long, authoritative posts about successful businesses and what they are doing to succeed, preferably with your products and services.
These can be 5 or 10 short video series that you made for a mini-course.
The longer your lead magnet takes to consume, the more you get into thought leadership, education, and working to establish your influence.
2. Quick Consumption Items – Videos, Cheatsheets & Checklists
These items are meant to be consumed quickly, so people can move much faster into the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
One example of this can be a video.
They opt in to watch a video. That video can be very short (around 3-5 minutes) or as long as 15 minutes. The shorter the video, and the more effective it is at getting the point across, the faster you can move people to the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
As a rule, the more specific your message is to a specific target audience, the better. You want to stay away from generalities.
You can have a video that’s outlines one key takeaway, that if they do this one thing it could transform their business.
An example of this would be: one key marketing strategy carpet cleaners can use to increase average customer value in their local market. It’s the one key strategy that if they do this they’ll increase their carpet cleaning business.
And at the end of the video there’s an invitation for them to get a free consultation, or to purchase this amazing, low-price low-commitment “tripwire” offer, which is a small initial sale to qualify leads as paying customers.
An example of this tripwire would be a carpet cleaning company clean one room of carpet for a reduced price. But once you clean that carpet, especially if the carpet’s connected to other rooms or the hallway, the other carpets look dirty by comparison, so they might as well pay to get the rest of the carpets cleaned. This is what tripwires do; they get you in the door so you can eventually upsell them on higher-value offers.
This higher-value offer could be to offer tile and grout cleaning. If they had the equipment to clean this tile and grout for kitchens, bathrooms, etc., they could charge a premium and get much higher order value per customer.
So the process goes like this:
- The prospect opts in for a video that explains one key thing (or 3 things that solve 1 key problem)
- At the end of the video the prospect is invited to the next step, which could be a more comprehensive approach, or a free consultation on how to properly market these services and increase awareness of these services, or to schedule a call, to buy a package with all the necessary marketing materials inside, etc.
Cheat Sheets & Checklists
With cheat sheets and checklists, you can give prospects quick wins. They can consume these items in less than 5-10 minutes.
For instance, if you have a guide that’s pretty comprehensive on how to improve your running. “How to Run a 5K in 30 Days” and you’re looking to sell supplements, running shoes, etc.
All of this can be B2C, but more frequently it will be B2B.
3. Instant Gratification – Coupons & Discounts
Basically, people opt in to your lead magnet, and they instantly consume it, they immediately get what they ask for.
There are at least 2 popular competing theories when it comes to lead magnets and their effectiveness:
One is that a lead magnet approach nurtures the prospect into the next phase of the buying process and moves the prospect further along the buyer’s journey.
Another is that it’s a better idea to have people opt into the offer, and believes a lead magnet serves as a distraction, pushing people further away from a sale instead of towards it.
Neither approach is either right or wrong; it all depends on what your business is, who you’re marketing to, and what your goals are. Every brand is going to be different. There is no one-size-fits-all for anything, especially in online marketing.
Other Lead Magnet Ideas
Guides and Reports
This is the most common type of lead magnet. You can go as concise or as in-depth as you want to with this lead magnet. However, you want to understand what your overall goal is with this lead magnet.
Again, if you’re looking to solidify your ground as a thought leader, then a longer report is what you will want to use.
However, if you’re looking to move your leads through the buyer’s journey faster, then you want to use a shorter guide that gives more concise, upfront value.
Toolkits & Resource Kits
A toolkit or resource list makes for a fantastic lead magnet for the right market. You can offer this as a starter kit, a template, or a glossary of things they should know.
You can offer a variety of tools, ranging from a time management toolkit, to project templates, to a guest blogging index.
Software Download and Free Trial
SaaS (Software as a Service) companies normally offer a free trial to their software as a lead magnet.
Quiz or Survey
Online quizzes and surveys can be great ways to generate new leads in a very engaging way. Generally, t get the results of a survey or quiz participants must first give their email address. The results would then be delivered to that email address.
Your quiz could be about anything, from “Which decade does your home belong in?” to “What is Your Landing Page Score?
Assessment or Test
An assessment or a test, especially if it’s delivered online to increase the speed of consumption and gratification, can make a great lead magnet. You can have test s ranging from SEO auditing to child behavior.
Sometimes, the lead magnet that your target market wants most is pricing and descriptions of your products or services.
Now you know the best practices to building out your lead magnet. Take these ideas and tweak it to fit your business and your audience.
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