Marketing is an awful lot like dating. For example, let's say you've seen that 10/10 from across the bar and they've come over to you and conversation flows for a while. Then they hit you with a stinker.
"So, are we boyfriend and girlfriend now?"
Well, as painful as that sounds, this is exactly what it's like asking your web visitors to fill out your contact form or book a call the first time they've been to your website.
99 times out of 100, it's going too much of a commitment for them.
For this reason, the next step for our web visitors should be to get them to join our email list.
Why email, in particular?
Well, despite the cries of "email marketing is dead" (it isn't, by the way, bad email marketing is dead), email is still one of the strongest tools in our marketing arsenal to speak directly to our customers. And, yes, while social media is really starting to bloom for this too in the format of "groups" and messenger bots, email is a tool that we completely own.
What do I mean by own? As an example of a marketing channel we do not own, companies that have built strong followings on Facebook have suffered as their organic (unpaid) visibility has been quite rapidly decreasing over time. The reason? Facebook is a business and would rather you paid to be seen by your customers.
With our email list, we get to control what we do with it, and won't be affected by problems such as the above.
Ok, so now we know that we should be building our email list, how do we actually do it?
Through the power of "lead magnets", which are pieces of valuable content that are given in return for an email address.
Unsure how to make one that really works, though? Not to worry! This article gives you the 5 essentials to the perfect lead magnet!
1) Specific, specific, specific
To be effective, your lead magnet needs to be highly-targeted to your specific audience. This is foundational and, if it isn't adhered to, you'll find they simply won’t have enough of a desire to consume your content.
As well as being specific to their interest, lead magnets should also be specific in what problem they're trying to solve.
For instance, if you offer a service that helps people build mobile applications, releasing a guide to the “Top 100 iOS apps in the world” may sound like a good idea but, in reality, it doesn’t tackle a particular issue or need.
A much better lead magnet would be something like “The 6 steps to generating revenue from your freemium mobile app” or even more specific if you target a particular type of developer “The 6 steps to generating revenue from your freemium mobile game.”
These lead magnets address specific problems facing specific people, making them far more compelling than generic advice.
2) Not too long
The attention span of people reading online is typically much shorter than in other settings. You can thank the unique psychology of the online experience for this.
Because of this, while a detailed and substantial eBook might seem like a great thing to offer, a 50-page book in exchange for an email address isn't as effective as you might think - many people will simply feel they won't ever have the time or patience to read it.
Conversely, what users seem to respond well to isn’t long, detailed material but short, concise content that gets right to the heart of an issue and quickly solves a problem for them.
So, as an alternative to something like a large eBook or 20-part video series, look to offer content that's more accessible, such as checklists, one-page PDFs, videos, courses, and more.
Just make sure you've done your research of knowing what format of content will be most successful with your particular audience,
For example, if you’re targeting large companies, videos might be less appropriate than checklists as many enterprises now block websites such as YouTube, and Vimeo.
3) Fix an immediate problem
It’s one thing to make your lead magnet look good, it’s quite another to make sure it's actually helpful - you certainly want to avoid the attitude of the lead magnet as simply a way to acquire email addresses.
Sure, that's a big part of it but, if your lead magnet sucks, what does that say to them about what you'll offer them in the future?
Remember, this is your first big chance at a good impression and if your email subscriber feels you haven't provided them with any value they simply won't equate your company with quality in the future.
So how do you ensure you provide real value? By providing immediate gratification.
When someone agrees to trade their email address for content, they almost always want a solution to their problem right now. The last thing they want to do is to keep waiting for an answer – after all, that’s what they’ve been doing up until this point.
So, ask yourself, does it really help them solve a particular issue in the here and now? Is it something that can be picked up, read and applied to a problem? Is it too general or too complicated to be of any use?
A great example of a lead magnet that could be immediately beneficial to websites with poor SEO visibility would be something like, “Generate leads when you’re on page 100 of the Google search results.”
It’s a “silver bullet” solution to a particular problem many startup businesses face and provides them with an immediate solution.
4) Give your readers the next step
Remember, the point of our lead magnet is to provide a baby step for our audience when they aren't ready to spend money with us, yet. However, that doesn't mean we can't also offer them the opportunity to take the next big step now that they're reading it.
To achieve this, you'll want an action weaved into the content of your lead magnet to entice people to take the next step. It can be quite simple to do this.
For example, you could include buttons throughout the body of the content providing them option to “book in a call” or "purchase a product at 25% off"
Ensuring you have these actions set in place capitalises on any urges they may have while they’re consuming your content.
If you want to ensure you create a great impression, your lead magnet needs to be well-designed.
The trick here is to make the content look premium, even though your new email subscribers are getting it for free.
You can even include an indication of how much your lead magnet would be worth, had they tried to buy the same resources - something like "valued at £500” should do the trick.
But It’s not just a question of whether your content looks premium, the way that it's designed can also increase the rate at which it can be consumed.
You can achieve this by doings things such as organising your content into sections, including clear heading, contents pages, and quick links to relevant information.
If you can’t afford a professional designer to create lead magnet content that will wow your potential users, Canva provides an effective, cheap DIY alternative and allows drag-and-drop features to create professional-looking articles with easily-accessible graphics.
Though the quality of any design you create still ultimately depends on you, this tool provides practically every option somebody would need to produce high-quality documents and presentations for lead magnets, all correctly branded with your brand colours and fonts.
So what have we learned about lead magnets?
Firstly, we've learnt that your lead magnet needs to ensure that it provides an immediate solution to a specific problem for a specific audience.
Secondly, we need to ensure that the content we provide is high-quality in both terms of the way it looks and the content within it.
Finally, we need to remember that within our lead magnets we should offer the next step, such as booking a call or buying a product, to ensure that we capatalise on interest from our reader.
Any questions? Email me at email@example.com