You can build a relationship and trust with your subscribers by sending a lot of value to your subscribers via your email newsletters and your email list can easily turn into your best-converting channel.
But if you fail to get new subscribers the success your email list can bring you is very limited. As one of the first steps on your success journey, you have to implement a lead capturing system on your website. And offering lead magnets will help you to tremendously increase the signup rate.
What is a lead magnet
A lead magnet is something you offer to your website visitors for free in exchange for their email address. The more value your website visitors see in the lead magnet the more of them are willing to give you their email address. And the better targeted your lead magnet is at your optimal customer, the better targeted will your email subscribers be – and the easier it will be for you to turn them into customers.
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Lead magnets have a very important role in the online marketing sales funnel as they stand at the entry point of the funnel.
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In addition to filling your email list, an ideal lead magnet assures that you attract the right people to your email list. That means your lead magnet has to be of specific value to your target audience. A good lead magnet also offers you the opportunity to build trust with your subscribers and show how valuable you can be to them. A lead magnet is your chance to give your subscribers proof of your expertise and ability to help them.
Lead magnet vs. Free resource
Some people are annoyed by lead magnets and the places where they are offered as interstitials, popups and page takeovers. I have heard some complaining about hiding the (free) content behind annoying gateways. But the truth is, when the website owner cannot make money with the website, he simply cannot afford to offer all that value for free. So the website owner will always try to figure out what types of offers bring them the most value and how to get more people to sign up for these lead magnets.
Simply offering everything for free without collecting email addresses means losing money for the website owner. The simple reason is that he will have to work hard to get the visitor back to the website where a subscription provides a much bigger chance of building a closer relationship.
To avoid anger, you have to make sure that you stay true to your word and that your lead magnet includes what you promised. Don’t promise something in the signup form or landing page that you are not going to deliver.
I don’t mind subscribing to a website that offers a ton of value – but I have been really annoyed because I signed up and then the promised piece of content simply did not deliver the promised value. That is not the best way to start a relationship with potential customers.
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Finding the best lead magnet
This question is one that comes up over and over again. Somehow people not from the marketing and online business niche seem to get stuck when they try to come up with ideas for lead magnets for their audience.
And the truth is that the question is a little more complicated because it includes knowing the target audience and their pain points. The more information you have about your target audience, the better will you be able to come up with a targeted and valuable lead magnet.
But it does help to see what lead magnets can look like – and then take a look at your competitors and see what they offer on their website.
Here are 8 types of lead magnets that you should know about – and that have the power to skyrocket your signups for your email list
1. A simple signup for the newsletter
This is where we all started. It is the easiest form of a lead magnet – but it is also the one that will in today’s online marketing world probably not yield the best results.
If you don’t have a better lead magnet (yet) you should at least offer a signup form on your website.
Being famous will help here. Here is an example of a simple signup form from the Convince & Convert Blog
If you already have a considerable number of subscribers mentioning this fact on the signup form will add social proof and get you better results.
2. Offering exclusive tips and content only for subscribers
You can get more signups with this simple signup form if you add some insight on what people will get with your newsletter. For instance, if your newsletter will include one ultimate tip each week that they cannot get anywhere else on your website, that would be a reason for people to signup.
That will not only work in the marketing space: a fitness blogger could send one workout per week or one nutrition tip or recipe.
3. Content Upgrades
Content upgrades offer additional information that fits into the topic of the website. For instance, a blog post about lead magnets could offer you a checklist to help you create the perfect lead magnet.
However, it means that you have to think about a lead magnet for almost any topic you write about. Plus you need a technical solution that allows you to offer different content upgrades for every topic. Or you go for a broader scope that will most of the time not give the best results – and then content upgrades are not worth the effort.
4. Worksheets, Printables and Checklists
These come in the form of a PDF that you can download and print out if you want. They don’t necessarily include a ton of information but can still be very helpful by helping to organize certain tasks.
The main benefit of these worksheets is that they help you organize tasks that can otherwis be very overwhelming.
Here is an example of a Checklist Lead Magnet from Teachable:
I admit that I never found any of these helpful enough to signup for anything to get them – at least not in the marketing space. However, I could easily signup for a food blog if they offer a printable shopping list and printout for a complicated recipe… (just to give you an idea why these can be of huge value)
5. Cheat Sheets, Workbooks, and whitepapers (PDF)
A cheat sheet is something that is far more than a simple blog post but not yet an ebook. It will give you a step-by-step plan to get something done. Since it is more than a simple blog post you would need some time to collect and put together all the information to an actionable plan if you want to get the information without a signup.
A Cheatsheet often directly solves a problem and thus presents a ton of value.
A cheat sheet should be rather easy to create for an expert in that particular field.
For example, we have a Twitter marketing cheat sheet in our resource library. The cheat sheet was created as a quick how-to guide for a client to get their Twitter account on the path to success. And the Twitter cheat sheet has been one of our best converting lead magnets for our Twitter traffic.
Here is an example landing page for our Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet:
The difference between a cheat sheet and an ebook may be slightly blurred. I would say an ebook is a little bit longer – and often you will have to put more design work into the ebook than into a cheat sheet.
Don’t get overawed by the word „book“. An ebook does not necessarily have to be a book of several hundred pages. We are not talking about a novel here.
For instance, Social Triggers offers an ebook on getting more subscribers as a lead magnet:
Content and value-wise a cheat sheet and an ebook go into the same direction –although an ebook can also be a collection of tools, tips or a case study.
7. Email course – or even video course
An email course is a series of tips on one topic that you send out via email over a couple of days. The advantage of an email course is that not much editing and designing has to go into them. Often a text based email will do the trick.
A video course is another matter – videos always take more effort to create. The similarity between the two is that both types of courses can be sent out via email over a couple of days.
We have used an introductory social media marketing email course as a lead magnet in the past – and seen some great results from it.
Webinars can be used at multiple steps of the sales process. But you can also use a webinar to get leads into your email list. As a lead magnet, a webinar often does not give you the highest number of subscribers for the simple reason that a webinar asks for a lot of commitment from the new subscriber in form of at least 60 minutes of their time.
That is why webinars often are better used at a later stage of your sales funnel to convert leads into customers.
However, if you have some business contacts that would be interested in co-hosting a webinar, you could be able to attract a ton of new subscribers from the audience of your cohost – this way webinars can be a valuable tool to boost your subscribers.
9. Toolkit or resource library
If you already created a couple of lead magnets, you can offer them in one resource library. This way you can offer a ton of value for one signup.
Many bloggers use a resource library – Melyssa Griffin is an example:
A resource library often shows high conversion rates – but it takes some time to put together. When you are starting out, it often will get you started with a lead magnet much faster if you go for ONE lead magnet first – and then a second and third. You can put the feedback and results you get with the first lead magnet into the next you create.
Going for singular lead magnets also allows you to learn more about the real pain points of your audience as you get direct feedback for ONE piece of content.
However, if you already have a couple of freebies you created in the past, a resource library can easily be the lead magnet that will skyrocket your subscriber numbers as you can offer a ton of value in one place.
And if a resource library seems to be a bit too much to start with, you can easily consider putting together a tool kit. Which basically is an assembly of a couple of helpful resources on one topic. But you will not need so much content as you would for a resource library
The downside of a resource library is that you need a little more tech skill than setting up a landing page.
Final words on lead magnets
When you choose your lead magnet you have to keep something else in mind: As valuable as your information might be, you have to consider how much time and effort your potential new subscriber is willing to invest in you. When they get to your website for the very first time they are much more likely to be interested in a pdf they can download and easily consume than to subscribe to a webinar or video course where they have to invest at least 90 minutes to consume your content.
Scott Oldford, therefore, describes a very helpful system of sorting all your website visitors into three groups depending on how aware they are of their problem and how desperate their need for a solution is:
- the sidewalk
- the slow lane
- the fast lane
Following his theory, you will have to offer one lead magnet for each of the three groups and set up the landing page for the lead magnet accordingly to see optimal results.
While I believe this concept is ultimately valuable to better understand your leads and you should treat them – I also think when you are starting out, start with one lead magnet and learn from there. And if you are still not sure what would make a great lead magnet and what a lead magnet needs to help you generate many new subscribers, check out this post.
Getting to know your audience and your target group always starts with getting into a conversation. Lead capturing and then nurturing these leads with your emails and getting them to give you feedback is the most valuable source of information about your target group that you will ever get!
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