Most of the time, people won’t get into your email list just like that.
They need a strong reason. A bribe, if you will.
One of the best ways to get them to opt-in is to use a lead magnet – something valuable that you offer your visitors in exchange for their e-mail address.
In this post, we’ll cover the steps for creating and using lead magnets to grow your email list.
Here’s how to do it:
Understand what people want to learn
If you create a lead magnet on a topic your target audience deeply wants to learn about, you’ll have a much higher chance of converting them.
To do that, you simply need to reach out to them and ask them things like:
- What are you biggest challenges/pain points right now?
- What are your current goals? What do you want to achieve?
- What is it that you’d like to learn?
Additionally, you can use analytic tools to dig deeper into their online behavior, etc.
Here is a list of tools and techniques you can use to get your answers:
Surveys – these are great because they allow you to easily summarize and analyze answers from your audience. At the same time, it’s easier to convince someone to fill out a survey than to jump on a call with you.
Of course, it’s good to give them some kind of incentive for filling out the survey. This will further motivate your audience to give you their answers. For example, you could offer a free webinar in which you can teach them how to overcome their current obstacles and reach their goals.
To create your surveys, you can simply use SurveyMonkey.
Additionally, you can use Qualaroo to run on-site surveys, as well as Interact to generate leads with your surveys.
Interviews – this method will allow you to dig deeper into answers from your audience and identify the secret reasons behind each answer. It’s harder to get people on a call, but it’s totally worth it.
Offer them bigger incentives if they decide to do so – free consultation, training etc. Try to target whatever they will find valuable.
Be sure to record your interviews so you can listen to them afterwards. To do that, you can simply use SnagIt if you’re calling via Skype.
When using your phone, be sure to inform your audience in advance that you’re going to record the call as it is unethical and illegal in most countries to do so without prior notice.
Sales/support calls – these calls are very similar to interviews; the main difference is that the customer was the one who contacted you because he had a problem or question.
Use these opportunities to gather data, and then use it to improve your content marketing and offer better lead magnets.
To do that, simply:
- Record your calls and chat messages
- Analyze and summarize the most common questions/requests
- Forward them to your content marketing team
Analytic tools – these tools allow you to dig deeper into the way people interact with your website. With tools like Google Analytics and KISSmetrics, you can figure out what content on your site is most frequently browsed.
Keyword research – detailed keyword research is essential to understand what people want to find and learn.
Beyond simply using Google Keyword Planner’s keyword tool, you can expand on this with other tools such as UberSuggest and SEMrush.
Don’t forget to also check out Google’s search console data (ex. Webmasters tools) and see which keywords you’re already ranking for and getting traffic from.
Best ideas for highly convertible lead magnets
So, you have an idea of what people would like to learn. Great! But, now, you need to pick the right format or way to deliver your lead magnet.
Here are the best possible formats out there for lead magnets:
Guide/report – usually in a PDF format, this is a guide that teaches your audience how to deal with a specific problem or reach a certain outcome.
The more specific, the better.
“How to get 25,000 visitors per month” is a really specific outcome.
You can also create a free report based on industry research.
A great example would be HubSpot’s State of Inbound marketing.
This is an annual report where they analyze the latest trends in inbound marketing among businesses and industry professionals.
Cheat sheet – these are actionable steps that allow you to reach a specific outcome. They are really short and to-the-point, which makes them easy for your audience to consume.
Usually, cheat sheets are offered as a content upgrade to your blog posts. But you can also give them away with your YouTube videos, webinars, etc.
Toolkit/resource list – this lead magnet is a bit different because you are not offering free content; rather, it is an actual tool people can use to solve their problem.
You can offer any kind of free tool to your audience in exchange for contact information.
This is what HubSpot is doing with their Marketing Grader.
Video training – you can offer a short training video to your audience in exchange for their email address.
Be aware that it’s usually not a good idea to offer a 7-day free course, because you’re asking for a really big commitment from your visitors, and this offer is not easily consumable.
However, a 30-minute video that teaches them exactly how to do something will do the trick.
Free coaching – what could be better than a free 30-minute interactive session where you can teach and answer all of your target customer’s questions?
Do this if you can, but make sure to remember that it is really time-consuming.
Elements of highly convertible lead magnets:
Certain elements help you create lead magnets that simply convert better:
Easily consumable – longer and bigger lead magnets don’t always convert better. Actually, studies show the opposite.
According to GetResponse, a lead magnet that you work on over six months won’t do any better than one that only takes you two days.
That’s why it’s not a good idea to offer a 7-week course or a 200-page ebook for free.
They take up too much of your audience’s time, and they will not be able to implement that knowledge right away.
Instead, you want to offer something that will be of immediate value to your audience. Something they can read, watch or use to reach their outcome right away – in other words, something they can use to learn how to deal with a problem or reach their goal.
Relevant – each lead magnet that you offer should be relevant to the current content your audience is viewing.
The more relevant something is, the higher your conversion rate will be, according to WiderFunnel.
If people are reading a blog post about how to grow their email list and you offer them a guide on how to get their first 2,000 subscribers – that’s highly relevant.
But if you instead have a book on “How to get your 25,000 visitors per month to your site” – even if it looks interesting, they might not want to learn that.
Highly specific – each lead magnet should be super specific in order to maximize conversions. It should help you get specific outcome or solve a specific problem.
Don’t promise generic things like “How to make money online.” But if you offer to teach people “How to make $1,000 in your first month as a copywriter,” people will be highly interested to learn how to do that.
Positioning – don’t create lead magnets for everybody. If you do, people won’t think that you created this ebook, free course, etc. especially for them.
Instead, pick a specific audience and create your lead magnet for them. The more specific your audience, the better.
Ask yourself this: who are you really targeting? Entrepreneurs, dentists, marketers, writers? What are their current problems? Why they need to learn this?
Valuable – the information that you provide in your lead magnet must be viewed as highly valuable by people – for one reason or another.
If you have done your research in advance, you should know what people want to learn and why.
To create something really valuable, learn what they want to achieve and take it one step further.
If they want to learn how to get 10,000 visitors/month to their website, teach them how to get 20,000 visitors/month.
How to create your lead magnet:
To create a highly convertible lead magnet, follow these steps:
Write a killer title – the title of your lead magnet is the main reason why someone would decide to opt-in and download it.
David Ogilvy said that 80% of people only read the headlines, and this is where the majority of your attention and budget should be focused.
To write a killer title for your lead magnet, you need to make it specific, tangible and value-oriented.
- Value here means what your customer finds valuable, not you.
You might think it will be valuable to teach your audience about “marketing automation,” but they might actually want to learn how to “close more sales with less effort.”
- Specific means that each lead magnet should teach one specific thing.
It can be a checklist of steps to achieve one specific things, or a quick guide on “how to start your career as a freelancer.”
- Tangible means that you’re showing the exact amount or the result that your audience is going to get by reading your lead magnet.
This means “How to get your first 10,000 visitors to your website,” not “How to increase your website traffic.”
Since this is the most important part of creating your lead magnet, we recommend doing it toward the end of the process of creating your lead magnet.
In the beginning of the process, you can start with a working title, and then polish it at the end.
Outline your content – in order to create great content, you first need a good structure.
In order to do so, you should outline all the main points of your lead magnet with subpoints to complement them.
I always follow this process with all the content that I develop, and I can tell you that it’s much easier and faster to write it afterwards.
Create your content – you can decide to write it yourself or simply hire a content marketing agency or a freelancer to do the job for you.
If you decide to outsource it, be sure to set your expectations in advance and do a good job of explaining your desired outcome. It’s harder to work with other people if you don’t know what you want in advance.
If you decide to write it yourself, be sure to at least send it to an editor to improve your style and fix your grammatical mistakes. This makes a huge difference in the quality of your content.
Hire a designer – your content should also look nice. So, hire a designer to make a nice cover for your e-book, or outline your checklist in a visually-pleasing way.
How to maximize conversions for your lead magnet:
To get the best results from your lead magnet, you should also consider the following elements:
Placement – where you place your opt-in offer for your lead magnet makes a huge difference when it comes to conversions.
The most obvious place is the sidebar. This is where most people have ebooks for downloads or webinars.
Check out what GetResponse is doing with their sidebar:
You can also add it to the top bar itself, which is a good move, because it will be always visible to your visitors.
Another place to include it is within the blog post itself surrounded by a yellow box. This approach works extremely well for bloggers like Backlinko.
A great way to convert more people with your lead magnet is to offer it within a slidebar that appears when people have already read some part of your blog post.
This is great, because they have already invested some time and engaged with your content, with makes them more likely to convert.
Your last resort for conversion is to use exit-intent popups to offer your lead magnet just before people are about to leave your site.
You can also build a special resource page where you offer free ebooks for downloads. This is what companies like HubSpot are doing.
Value proposition and CTA – in order to make the decision to convert, people need some solid reasons to opt-in. So, be sure to craft a strong value proposition and call-to-action.
Make it easily accessible and reduce friction – make it as easy as you can for people to access your lead magnet. If you ask for too much information, such as their phone number, address, zip code, etc. people will be less likely to convert.
Instead, only ask for their email address. That’s the only thing you need to deliver the lead magnet.
Creating highly convertible lead magnets is not easy. Often, you won’t be able to create a highly valuable lead magnet the first time around.
That’s why you need to create several lead magnets and then test them out in the field. After a while, you’ll start to get a feeling of what your audience responds well to, and you’ll get amazing results from your lead gen efforts.
Do you currently use lead magnets to grow your email list? Which ones are your favorites? Which ones would you use for your business? Let us know in the comments below.