There’s no doubt about it: picking the right lead magnet is tricky work. But when you get it right, the results will make your efforts worthwhile. We’ll help you better understand the basics of creating lead magnets, who should be using them, and what kinds of lead magnets you should try.
The Basics: What Is a Lead Magnet?
One of the best definitions we’ve seen for what a lead magnet is comes from OptInMonster, “A lead magnet is an incentive that marketers offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address, or other contact information.”
For example, let’s say you run a blog focused on real estate and have a dozen new blog posts coming out about buying homes, finding real estate agents, and getting ready for closing. Each of these is geared towards a specific audience and will gain readers. Where lead magnets come in is by providing a bonus resource alongside the blog post in exchange for a reader’s contact information. It could be:
- an ebook that helps to prepare first time home buyers
- an email course about preparing your finances for a mortgage
Or something similar that would broadly appeal to readers of your posts but which goes beyond what should (or could) be covered in another one-off blog post.
Getting a person’s email address is essential for following up with potential customers, since it’s very unlikely that first-time visitors to your site will make a purchase on that first visit.That’s the main differentiator between a blog post and a lead magnet: both have quality, but the lead magnet goes deeper. Click To Tweet
Who Should Create Lead Magnets?
The short answer: anyone with a blog who is looking to convert visitors into names, emails, faces, and eventually, customers.
The long answer: Marketers and Bloggers
If you work in digital marketing, content marketing, or a similar field, then you’re used to the demand for more leads, better leads, qualified leads, and a better flow of potential (and realized) customers. One of the most straightforward ways to provide these customers is to convert site readers and visitors into email addresses.
Unfortunately, most people aren’t going to just give you their email address out of the kindness of their heart. Instead, you need to incentivize them to share their contact information by giving them something in return. More often than not, that’s a lead magnet.
If you run a blog, there’s a ~95% chance that you’ll need a lead magnet at some point. The big exception to that is people who run their blogs with no long-term goal and more as a public diary. Yet, even in that group, there are reasons you’ll want to create a lead magnet.
It all comes down to owning the methods you use to communicate with your audience. Sure, you can rely on people to Like your page on Facebook or to Follow you on Twitter, but there are some risks to relying entirely on Twitter and Facebook to communicate with your audience. First, it’s been well documented that you’ll need to pay money to get people to see your posts. Second, there’s no guarantee that your readers will always use those networks. Finally, not all of your readers are going to be on those sites, meaning that you’ll only ever reach a fraction of that audience.
In contrast, email is a great way to communicate with your audience. It’s owned by them, there’s very little chance the email will get blocked on the way to their inbox, and it’s free. But, to get those email addresses you’ll need a lead magnet, since that’s the key proven method to getting someone to share their email address with a faceless website.
Types of Lead Magnets
We’ll be honest: there are a lot of lead magnets out there. There are lead magnets that are downloadable video courses, lead magnets that take the form of exclusive podcasts, and lead magnets that end up with physical pamphlets being mailed to someone’s address. We’re not going to say those aren’t important, but we are going to say that they aren’t broadly useful.
For the vast majority of you, there are three lead magnets that you need to know about. Let’s get into them.
Lead Magnet #1: eBooks
You may think of eBooks as something that comes from Amazon and ends up on your Kindle, but that’s just scratching the surface. When we say eBooks, we’re talking about any downloadable PDF that teaches a subject to your subscribers. These must have great visuals, be enticing to read, and go far deeper than a blog post in explaining a concept to a reader. The length can change depending on the person, but generally speaking, you’ll want to go for at least 5,000 words.
When to Use Them
eBooks work for most industries and blogs, but if you’re worried there’s a simple test you can use to figure out if eBooks are for you. Ask yourself: is the subject of my lead magnet something that people will take the time to download, sit back, and read without distraction? If yes, it will work as an eBook.
Lead Magnet #2: Checklists
Checklists may seem too small to compel people to share their email addresses with you, but you should never underestimate the desire of people to increase their productivity without having to think about it. That’s what a checklist promises: the ability to take a project, common task, or new challenge, and turn it into something that’s easy to understand in a step-by-step format.
When to Use Them
The key to using checklists is having a unique skillset or experience that is valuable to your readers. Are you a whiz at setting up an event? Create a checklist for day-of event management. Are you skilled at creating budgets? Create a checklist that helps people get a handle on their finances. Make it actionable, unique, and detailed. It’s a guaranteed, three-part recipe that will lead to email addresses being freely shared.
Lead Magnet #3: Resource Guides
Another name for Resource Guides is Collections, in that you’re collecting a list of things (products, tools, tips, techniques, etc.) and sharing them with subscribers. These are some of the most popular lead magnets, since they can save people from hours of research. If you were looking for a new plugin for your blog and came across a list of competing plugins with pros and cons for each, you’d likely want a copy of that list. That’s the pull behind Resource Guides.
When to Use Them
As mentioned above, Resource Guides are a great replacement for research. If you’ve already done the research on a subject that’s interesting to your readers, there’s very little stopping you from pulling it together, making sure there aren’t any grammatical mistakes, and then publishing it as a lead magnet.
Bonus: How to Create a Great Title for Your Lead Magnet
Once you’ve created a lead magnet you’re going to want a great title for it. Let’s say you’ve created a 20-page eBook for newcomers to your industry. No one will read it if you don’t come up with the perfect title.
In our experience, the more straightforward titles do better. Some great examples include:
- The Essential Guide to Nurturing Customers Using Email
- Everything You Need to Know to Start Recruiting at Your Company
- The Complete Workbook for Revamping Your Brand’s Value Proposition
Telling people that your lead magnet is “comprehensive,” “everything you need to know,” or “essential” may sound over the top for something you haven’t even published yet, but it helps set expectations when they’re deciding whether or not to get a copy of your lead magnet.