A truly effective lead magnet is more than just a giveaway to build your list...

5 Simple Steps to a Lead Magnet That Pulls

Lead magnet. Free gift. Opt-in offer. Ethical bribe.

No matter what you call it, its purpose is clear:  to give something away of value in exchange for a prospect’s email address.

The problem is, this isn’t as easy as it used to be.

“You’ve Got Mail!”

Remember when getting an email was new and fun?

In the early days of list building, all you had to do was let people know you had an e-newsletter, and people would subscribe in droves.

Now… not so much.

Fast forward a few years and getting emails has gone from fun to annoying.

There’s a tremendous amount of list-building fatigue, and it’s getting harder and harder to get people to give up their email addresses. The offer of receiving yet another email in an already crowded inbox doesn’t seem as appealing as it used to.

A list of interested prospects and potential buyers is still one of the most important assets you can build for your business.

So, you need a lead magnet that will entice people to give you their email addresses. And for that, you need to up your game!

A truly effective lead magnet works to identify, select, and groom your ideal prospects.

An effective lead magnet is a trust-building tool that can be a positive first step in a productive client relationship.

And finally, an effective lead magnet is a great way to establish and demonstrate your expertise and credibility by providing a taste of what it’s like to work with you.

So, a winning lead magnet is more than just a giveaway used for list building. When done correctly, it can also be a powerful business-building tool.

Here are five simple steps to creating a lead magnet that pulls.

1. Focus on the prospect.

Like all good copywriting, an effective lead magnet is focused on the needs, wants, and pain points of your prospect, a.k.a. “What keeps them up at night?”

We’ve already discussed our goals for the lead magnet, but now is the time to focus on your prospect’s goals.

This is not about trying to impress your prospect by showing them everything you know.

This is all about helping them overcome a specific problem or roadblock in their business.

Remember, you also want your lead magnet to work as a client-selection tool, so make sure you’re targeting only your ideal prospects. Don’t worry about people who aren’t your ideal prospects. A sure recipe for failure is to try to be everything to everybody.

Two good questions to ask here are:  “Who am I helping?” and “What do they need?”

Identify the needs, wants, and pain points of your ideal prospect, and speak only to them.

2. Follow “The Power of One.”

The Power of One is one of the core fundamental concepts in AWAI training, and with good reason.

By focusing on one problem and one solution, you increase clarity and reduce overwhelm.

In Step 1, I mentioned solving a specific problem. So, you need to make that one specific problem.

If you teach web development, you could offer a checklist for picking the right hosting plan.

If you teach email marketing, how about a template for crafting an amazing guarantee.

After all, which of these would you be most excited about consuming:  a quick, seven-point subject line checklist or a 202-page report on writing great emails?

Which brings us to Step 3…

3. Create a lead magnet that’s quick and easy to consume.

Think of your lead magnet as a bridge to future clients and business.

You do not want someone to download your lead magnet, save it to their computer, and never look at it again. This happens. All. The. Time.

It’s a big challenge. One you can overcome by giving your prospect a quick win, an easy win, because ultimately, that’s what they want.

Ideally, you want them to consume your lead magnet right away. The longer they wait, the more likely your lead magnet will just gather electronic dust on their desktop. Or worse, the recycle bin.

A good question to ask here is, “What can I quickly help them with?”

By being clear, focusing on one thing, and being consumable, your lead magnet has a better chance of delivering big value.

Again, you’re just giving them a taste of what you can do.

It’s the same reason supermarket sampling tables don’t offer a full, eight-course meal… just a small taste of one item. Just enough to give you a taste, and hopefully you’ll want more.

4. Use proven copywriting principles.

As a writer, this should be the easy part.

An effective lead magnet needs the same copywriting attention you would give an email, landing page, or sales letter you’re writing for a client.

Don’t just assume your prospect will recognize the awesome value you’re offering. Again, this comes back to focusing on your prospect and their pains and problems.

For a simple approach, follow John Carlton’s four-step sales message formula:  “Tell them who you are, tell them what you got, tell them what it will do for them, and tell them what to do next.”

Most everyone does the first two steps. A few do the third, and fewer still do the fourth step, “Tell them what you want them to do next.”

Which brings us to our final step…

5. Make it part of your sales process.

I hope you recognize now that a lead magnet is so much more than a token giveaway piece you toss out hoping to get an email address.

In addition to list building, a good lead magnet is a great way to identify and select your ideal prospects, it’s a great opportunity to build trust, and it’s an effective method for positioning yourself as an authority.

So, make sure your lead magnet is a proper sales tool… that it leads your prospect to take the next step.

You’ve heard of passive income. Well, done correctly, a great lead magnet can be your “passive prospector.”

But, to do that effectively, it has to contain a little more than just a checklist or template.

I’ve downloaded many lead magnets over the years, and almost without exception, that’s what I got:  a report, a checklist, a template… and that’s it. No follow up, no invitation for future work, and, in many cases, not even any contact information.

Opportunity lost…

You’ve just given a prospect a piece of content that quickly solves a pressing problem they have.

This is likely not the only problem they have.

So, you’ve solved their hosting problem… now they might need a website.

You’ve provided them with an easy-to-use email subject line checklist… maybe they need someone to write their emails.

Why not add something to the end of your lead magnet that offers the possibility of more work? Maybe even an upgrade to a “done with you” or “done for you” service.

At the very least you should include an invitation to contact you… along with your contact information, of course.

And then, follow up with them.

Of all the balls that get dropped in marketing, there can’t be a bigger one than “follow-up.”

Whether you do it automatically by autoresponder, or by manually following up, you should plan to have a follow-up mechanism in place.

It doesn’t have to be elaborate. A simple email to see if they used the information, if it was helpful, or to ask how their business is going. Contact is key.

Build a Lead Magnet That Pulls… and Builds Your Business

In this era of email fatigue, it’s important to have a lead magnet that stands out.

A solid lead magnet is still the best way to build your email list… if you do it right!

Follow these five steps, and you’ll be well on your way to building a lead magnet that actually pulls in new prospects and starts them on the journey to becoming a client.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this article. If you have any questions or comments, please share them below.


Jim Wright

Jim is a writer, teacher, consultant, and an advocate for clarity in communication. He helps clients make sense of their online presence, and translates tech-speak into plain English.

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