Sales are the fuel that drives your business.
The best way to make more of them is by collecting leads: names and contact details of potential customers. That’s because leads enable you to…
- Deliver the 8 to 13+ marketing messages an average user needs to make a purchase.
- Get in touch with individuals for free, i.e. without the use of paid ads and third parties
- Keep users engaged, as well as re-engage users after long periods of inactivity.
- Drive traffic to your promotional activities, e.g. contests, giveaways, etc.
The question is, how do you get quality leads effectively?
In the past, it was enough to have a landing page or box on your website. When Seth Godin and Gary Vee built their lead lists in the 90s and early 00s, there was little variety on the web, and people signed up just to get more quality content.
Today, things are different. Each month sees over 2 million blog posts, and “serious” publications are making massive amounts of content too. (The Washington Post alone publishes 1,200+ articles each day).
This means that you need a way to cut through the noise; to focus users’ attention on your landing page; to motivate people to become your leads as soon as they see your landing page.
The best way to do that is with an ethical bribe. In marketing, we call these lead magnets because of how effective they are at attracting and capturing leads. Whether you know it or not, you’ve seen a lot of them on the web, for example:
The problem with lead magnets is, they’re tricky to produce. There’s a fine line between making a weak, useless “bribe” and one that’s so good it eliminates the need for your product. If you want to toe that line, it’s important you have a specific, replicable process for making lead magnets.
Fortunately for you, that’s exactly what you’re about to get in this article.
The first step is…
1. Identifying a Need, Problem or Desire
In a perfect world, you want your lead magnet to be irresistible. You want as many people from your target audience to feel that it’s going to help them immediately. That’s how you max out conversions and set yourself up for future sales.
To do that, you’ve got to figure out what’s bothering your audience – or what they want but don’t yet have.
You can do this by…
- Seeing what’s selling on sites like Amazon.com, ebay, etc.
- Going to specialist internet forums and subreddits
- Checking out competitors’ websites to see what their lead magnets are
Whatever people are buying and downloading in terms of content, services and goods is what they want.
Another powerful way to see what people want is by Googling keywords related to your business. Doing so will show you what people are interested in – for example…
From just this one search, you can tell that people are interested in knowing what to wear on the mountain (see “People Also Ask”). You can also tell that people want specific tips, because both the paid link and the content-image combo feature those.
Once you figure out what your audience wants, it’s time to…
2. Figure Out How Your Lead Magnet Will Drive Sales
Okay, so you know what your audience wants (more or less). You might think that you are now ready to make a lead magnet… But doing so at this point would be sub-optimal.
What your users want is only half of the equation. Knowing what you want, and how your lead magnet will help you get it, is the other half.
This means that you should figure out what you want, and how your lead magnet will help you get it, as early as possible.
For example – is your lead magnet there to raise brand awareness and recognition? Establish authority? Drive sales?
Depending on your answer, your lead magnet may be educational; salesey; entertaining. Most importantly, your lead magnet should naturally guide users towards seeing your product(s) as the natural solution to their problems.
Here’s what that would mean with the skiing example. Let’s say your target audience wants tips, tricks and lessons – but your ultimate goal is to sell them ski equipment.
In this case, a clever lead magnet idea would be to give them 25 free tips in PDF form… While subtly highlighting that with your gear, learning to ski would be significantly faster and easier.
(Of course, if your goal were to build authority instead, you could just make an instructional video series that positions you as a knowledgeable teacher.)
Once you’ve figured out what you want and what your audience wants, it’s time to…
3. Plan Your Lead Magnet
A lead magnet doesn’t have to be perfect. It’s a freebie, so the expectation is that it will have some value – but not too much.This is important for you to
This is important for you to remember, because the last thing you want to do is release a lead magnet that overwhelms readers or makes your core product obsolete.Instead, you want to think Tease & Release – like the popular fishing style.
Instead, you want to think Tease & Release – like the popular fishing style.Your goal is to give folks enough information that they start to see you as an authority and want to learn more about your offer. That’s it. You want to stimulate interest and entertain rather than educate.
Your goal is to give folks enough information that they start to see you as an authority and want to learn more about your offer. That’s it. You want to stimulate interest and entertain rather than educate.The same applies to
The same applies to presentation. You want your lead magnet to be clean and easy to view, sure… But it’s a freebie, so there’s no need to invest in a fancy design.Case in point: check out Jon Morrow’s “Headline Hacks” freebie which has been downloaded tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of times:
Case in point: check out Jon Morrow’s “Headline Hacks” freebie which has been downloaded tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of times:
Nothing you can’t replicate with Google Docs and a few minutes of time, right?
Once you’ve gotten through this stage and planned what’s going to be in your lead magnet, move on to…
4. Picking a Lead Magnet Format
This step is very straightforward. Once you’ve decided on what’s going to be in the magnet, choose from the following:
- -Downloadable survey/report
- Video series
- Premium podcast
- Premium video
- Analytical tool
- Free + shipping offers
Because this is a freebie, go with whatever’s easiest for you to produce unless you have a budget to delegate lead magnet creation.
The point is to get the resource out there so it can help you collect leads – not to do a perfect job!
Once you’ve picked the format, planned the content and done preliminary research, it’s time to…
5. Create the Lead Magnet
A lot of people are intimidated by the idea of creating a lead magnet – but there’s no need to be.
First, you can simply create the lead magnet out of bits and pieces of your premium content. Heck, Frank Kern gives his old programs out as freebies for new customers, and those are worth hundreds and thousands of dollars. Why not share some of your product, too?
A second way to make lead magnets easily is by making them short but valuable. Remember: it’s tease and release, not educate thoroughly. So long as you can demonstrate that you are an authority that can help solve a pain, problem or fear, that’s enough.
Of course, you can also make an extensive lead magnet from scratch – but honestly, we don’t recommend it. It’s rarely worth the time because the results from a short magnet are often better.
Once you’ve made your lead magnet, it’s time to…
6. Name it
David Ogilvy famously said that for every 10 people who read a headline, only 2 make it all the way through your content.
We’re not sure if that still holds true – but it’s common knowledge amongst marketers that the name and headline of your lead magnet are perhaps the most important factor in whether it gets downloaded or not.
Here are some pointers:
- Make a big promise to fulfill a pain, need or desire. It doesn’t matter whether you do this in the title of the lead magnet or the headline. For an example, check out how Chris Guillebeau pinpoints a common pain point and promises a solution:
- Be specific. Let people know exactly what you’re giving them. “Make your first $100 online in 30 days” beats “How to make money on the internet quickly”.
- Don’t be afraid of colorful adjectives. “The best”, “the ultimate” and “the world’s first” may all seem cheesy, but they work to attract leads on a visceral level.
- See what other people in your industry are doing name-wise and learn from it.
And that’s about it, really!
If you follow all the steps in the article, what you’ll get at the end is a rockin’, lead-driving, well-informed lead magnet.
Let’s just recap what the steps are in case you need a quick reminder;
- Identify a Need, Problem or Desire
- Figure Out Your Goal For Your Lead Magnet
- Plan Your Lead Magnet
- Pick a Format/Type of Lead Magnet
- Create the Lead Magnet
- Pick a Name and On-Page Headline
Once you’ve gone through all these steps, you’re 100% ready to take your landing page live and start collecting leads!
The only thing you might want is some inspiration in the form of specific lead magnet ideas that go beyond “survey” or “free e-book”.