Lead magnet for getting subscribers. (© Andrey Popov - Fotolia.com)
Lead magnet for getting subscribers. (© Andrey Popov - Fotolia.com)

If you plan on building a mailing list or a list of contacts, then you need a lead magnet. A lead magnet is an incentive, or something that will bring people to your website or your brand and get them to provide you with their contact details. This is how you get those visitors to go from being strangers, people who stumbled upon your site, to warm leads or even qualified leads. Here’s how you do it.

A lead magnet is a tool that a webmaster or a business owner can use in order to encourage people to sign up to their mailing lists or to otherwise hand over their details. This is a crucial step because not only will it ensure that those visitors become subscribers who you can contact in future, it will also turn those cold leads into warm leads and eventually paying customers.

The mistake that so many businesses will make when someone lands on their site is to try and sell to them right away. But this is a cold lead and as such, they likely have no interest in buying from you. Would you buy from a stranger in the street?

Normally, if someone is bombarded by ads the moment they land on a website, they will be turned off of the site and will likely leave not to come back.

Conversely, if you offer something for free, then they will feel

  • rewarded
  • and they may even feel obligated to return the favor.
  • What’s more, is they will likely subscribe in order to get that free item.

This free item is the lead magnet.

Why Leads and Lead Magnets Are Important

Most people who run a website don't seem to realize just how valuable their traffic is. Don't believe me? Then just look at all the people using Google AdWords and similar PPC adverts on their pages. These ads will fill up their pages and literally direct traffic away from their site, but all they'll get in return is usually a few cents. It doesn't take a genius to realize that if those advertisers are willing to pay that much for your visitors, they must be worth more than that. If you are doing this, then you are at the bottom of the food chain. You are giving away your most valuable asset: your leads.

While PPC might be a good way to make some easy cash from your visitors then, it's far from the most effective way to generate profit from traffic in the long-term.

A much better thing to do with your traffic would be to

  • get them to sign up to a mailing list
  • which will then enable you to bring them back to your site again and again,
  • and to promote any products or services you have to them directly.

But how do you get them to sign up? You already know the answer.

Give Something Away

One sure fire way to make people more open to the idea of giving away their details is to give them something in return. The easiest option here is to offer an e-book which works well because

  • it's free to copy
  • and doesn't require any mailing costs.

If you aren't a prolific writer then don't worry, you can easily create an e-book by compiling a few of the articles on your website (it's free after all) or by commissioning someone from a freelancing site like UpWork to do it for you.. 

To benefit even more from this you should make sure to include your web address in the e-book. This way if your visitors decide to give the book away and share it with others, it will still act as a good promotion for your site and products. Of course, you can also subtly pitch your various offerings throughout the content - again it's okay as you're not charging anything for it. 

Note though that you should make it clear that your visitors are signing up to your mailing list and not just giving you their e-mail address so that you can send them the book. If you don't first get permission to send them marketing material, you will find that they are psychologically much less open to your messages and so will be far more likely to just delete them. 

One of the best things about using a lead magnet and collecting details this way is that you are also getting permission to contact them.

More Ways to Get More Sign Ups

Another tip is to design your site around your mailing list and your incentive. Your average site with AdSense ads on it will place these incredibly prominently and regularly in order to get the maximum number of clicks on them. Getting people to sign up to a mailing list is no different, so if you want to maximise the number of leads your site generates you should make sure

  • that you have your sign-up page somewhere prominent
  • and that you push it at every available opportunity.

If your site is built to sell a product or service and you value lead tracking and generation then you should turn the whole site into a track that leads to your mailing list and your freebie.

There are more strategies you can use to collect more details too. For instance, make sure you are consistently asking for those details. If you write a blog post then mention that

  • you have a fantastic mailing list that they can sign up to.
  • Talk about the members of your mailing list as being ‘VIPs’ or ‘members’ and make it sound desirable to be in that elite club.

Likewise, make sure that

  • your sign up form looks great
  • and that it is in a place where people will see it.
  • A good tip is to keep a form in your sidebar, so that it will be present on every page of your website.

The Best Types of Lead Magnet

So now you are familiar with the concept of the lead magnet, how do you go about creating one? What is the best kind to use?

We already discussed the idea of using an ebook as a lead magnet. This is just one option of many however.

The benefit of an ebook is that it is a digital product. A digital product is any product that

  • doesn’t have a physical form
  • and is only available for download on a smart device or computer.
  • An ebook is such an example because it doesn’t need printing or delivery.
OpenPR tip: The benefit of a product like this, is that it doesn’t need to be manufactured, stored or delivered and thus there is no overhead. If someone buys an ebook, that is 100% profit. And likewise, if you give away an ebook, you aren’t losing any profit.

But the issue with an ebook is that it is very large and this actually has its downsides.

The first issue is that people might sign up for your mailing list simply in order to get the ebook. This is such an appealing freebie, that they give their details even if they have no interest in your brand. This is a negative thing because it means you can end up with a list that is filled with untargeted individuals and unengaged users: people who don’t care about your brand or product and probably won’t read future correspondence with you.

Another issue with an ebook is that it may be too similar to what you eventually intend to sell. Many creators with squeeze pages and mailing lists will want to sell an ebook and if you’re already giving one away for free, this might encourage people not to buy the real thing. This is especially true if your ebook ends up sitting on their computer and not getting read (as it very often will). If they’ve not gotten around to reading your last tome, they won’t be keen to buy the next chapter in the series!

Some of the following lead magnets can help you to avoid this issue.

One is to use a free report instead. A report is similar to an ebook, but it

  • tends to be much shorter.
  • This will usually discuss a particular topic, provide some useful free tips or otherwise provide value in a short form.
  • It may be one or three pages and will usually be in PDF format.
OpenPR tip: Another way to think about it, is to turn your mailing list itself into the incentive and the magnet. In other words, creating a mailing list that is so interesting, entertaining and compelling, that people can’t help but want to sign up for it. If you can do this, then you have the ideal scenario because they are compelled to sign up and they are much more likely to actually read your messages!

Similarly, you could

  • provide special offers,
  • freebies
  • and competitions in your mailing lists. Competitions are great because they give a real incentive to keep checking the list.

Deals and special offers are also great, because they prepare the subscribers for the fact that you are going to be selling to them. They are now expecting you to promote your products and will in fact be looking out for it!

Similar but even better, is to get people to sign up on the promise that you will be informing them of a specific product. Imagine something sounding so great, that people want to sign up to your list just so they can be the first to hear about it. This is a brilliant way to bring in more leads and to ensure they are targeted, warm leads.

As you can see then, a lead magnet is an incredibly useful tool for brining in

  • new subscribers
  • and creating new leads.

But while this is true, it’s also very important that you consider the different types of lead and which might be best for your particular product and brand. The aim is not to build a massive list of cold leads but to ensure those leads are eager to hear from you and hanging off your every word.

A lead magnet used correctly will help you to do just that.



         



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