How large is your email list? Are you using a lead magnet to help it grow?

Your email list is one of the most powerful resources you can have as a small business owner. More powerful than social media, more powerful than any other digital marketing effort! I tell my clients over and over again, you should always be growing your list in the background!

You might be thinking well, that is easier said than done. How do I ensure that my email list is growing every single day? With a fantastic lead magnet! You know that free download that you share on your website to grab people’s email address? That freebie that you should be sharing everywhere? That’s how! 

Imagine this: You’re looking for a digital marketer (a pretty big stretch, huh?) You do a Google search, hop over to their website, but all you find is a bunch of information or paid products. There is no real way to see the quality of the content that this digital marketer creates. You don’t have a real way of seeing if their work will really benefit your business. So what does that mean? It means that most people will simply click off and look for someone else that grabs their attention and has some type of free, useful content that they would have paid good money for! 

Why are Lead Magnets So Important?

No matter what industry you’re in, you should have a free core lead magnet available (and if you can, several lead magnets) that draw people into all of your products or services. Lead magnets serve several purposes, including providing people with valuable content and giving a taste of your services. But their real value is in helping you build your email list! Honestly, this is one of the best ways to grow your online business. I use my lead magnets to grow my list on a daily basis! I talk about this more in one of my previous podcast episodes, you can check that out! 

Of course, you can’t just offer them any old thing as a lead magnet. It needs to be super high-quality content that will genuinely provide something of value. Let me put it this way: your lead magnet should be really good, so good that you could sell it as a product on your site. If it doesn’t reach that level of quality, then it isn’t going to convert at the level you need. So, where do you start? 

Align Your Lead Magnet With Your Core Offer

When you create a core lead magnet, it should be with the type of person (client avatar) who would buy your core offer in mind. Your lead magnet should attract your ideal customers and offer a natural progression into your core offer. Your free lead magnet will let people see what you can do and help you build up an email list of your ideal customers at the same time.

Think of a lead magnet as one of those free sample carts at Costco. Everyone loves them because they get something tasty for free. And I mean everyone loves them! My husband who is the most impatient person in the world (waiting in line kills him!) will hover around the Costco cart waiting for a smidgen of a corndog! Seriously! Have you ever been to Costco and seen the gathering of people waiting for a tiny morsel of carrot cake? You will hear a lot of ooo’s and yum’s. The next logical step? They think, I need this! And they pop a carrot cake into their cart! That’s what a lead magnet is: a free sample cart for your website!

What Type of Lead Magnet Should I Choose? 

I hear from my clients all of the time? What type of lead magnet should I create? There are a lot of options which might feel a bit overwhelming. Everything from checklists, workbooks, swipe files, templates, the list goes on and on. 

As an example, let’s take a look at my lead magnets. I offer dozens of expert-level services, and so I have several free lead magnets that are tailor-made for different kinds of clients. If you are looking to build a new website, I have a workbook to audit your current one. If you’ve been aiming to grow your social media, I have 15 free graphics to get you started. And if you’ve always wanted to host a webinar, I have a workbook that will make a great starting place. All of these lead magnets are free, but offer a TON of great content to give someone that small win they are looking for. It’s helped me establish myself as an expert in my field, and to grow my email list to truly spectacular numbers!

How Do I Choose a Webinar Topic? 

If you want to create a core lead magnet that converts, you must figure out precisely what your customers want when they are on your website. I always tell my clients to think of that one question that you get asked over and over again. That most likely is your core lead magnet! And believe it or not, you have a “cheat sheet” already built-in. If you’ve been posting a blog post every week for a while, you can access a ton of valuable data as to what your most popular topics are, this can help you narrow down your core lead magnet. 

For example, if you have two blog posts, one about dogs and one about cats, but the dog one has 10x more views, then you should probably create a lead magnet focusing on dogs, right?

Of course, this kind of data analysis can require an experienced eye to spot trends and make sure that you’re focusing on the right things with your lead magnet, so if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out! 

The Key is to Keep It Concise

If your lead magnet is a densely packed 5,000-word document, chances are your audience might find it a bit overwhelming or you could be giving away too much great content for free. 

A lead magnet shouldn’t be a massive, in-depth document that offers your users a deep dive into a topic (keep all of that good stuff, for your paid offer). Instead, it should offer them a quick win! People download lead magnets for two reasons: 1) they want to see the quality of your content, and 2) they have an immediate need that your lead magnet can instantly fill.

This is why checklists, workbooks, swipe files, templates, and video training do so well as lead magnets. They give the user a quick hit of content, no more, no less. They enable your potential client to take action and see the benefits of your content quickly. Once they absorb everything offered in the lead magnet, they will likely want more, which will lead them to your paid product/service offerings.

Types of Lead Magnets

As I said above, different lead magnets work for different people and businesses. Your lead magnet should be a great match with your personality, products, services, and brand. 

Quality matters here. Your lead magnets need to be amazing and appeal to a wide variety of needs. You want people to be so excited about getting your freebie that they’ll contact you right after finishing it!

Examples of the Most Popular Types of Lead Magnets:

  • Workbook – A workbook is a core staple of lead magnets. They’re an excellent way to share a lot of information into a concise package. When creating one, you want to think about giving your clients a quick win! For example, my core lead magnet takes my audience through the steps of hiring a virtual team who can grow your business and get your life back. Yes, it advertises my core services, but it also provides the reader with solutions to their problems and walks them through step-by-step the best ways to work with a virtual team to grow their business. It can also act as an overview of what a virtual assistant is and how they can help. And, of course, it’s entirely free for download! 
  • Cheat Sheet – Sometimes, all clients want is something they can quickly refer to that will spur them into action! For that, I recommend creating a Cheat Sheet. The best thing about offering a cheat sheet as a lead magnet is that it’s basically a simplified version of a workbook or checklist. This makes them super easy to create, so long as you have some graphic design skills. I created a super success checklist showing my audience how to Pivot their business completely online

Quizzes, Mini-Courses & Series, Oh My!

  • Quiz – The neat thing about offering a quiz as your opt-in is that you can use them to get more feedback from your ideal clients! There is also a lower bar of entry. Some people feel nervous about downloading anything to their computer. With an online quiz, they do everything in their browser. I created a quiz for one of my favorite clients, Laurie Palau of Simply B Organized. It walks the user through defining what their dirty little clutter secret is? And when they finish the quiz, they receive customized tips to master their clutter! To see what I’m talking about, give it a try! 
  • Mini-Course – Online courses are becoming more and more popular every year. If you offer an online course as one of your products, a great way to get people in is to offer a free mini-course as a gateway. I developed mini-courses and full online courses for many clients over the years. If you want to see a great example of a mini-course, check out one of my favorite clients here!
  • Video Series – If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed that I’m really getting into online video. It’s a fantastic way to reach out to clients in your own voice. As a lead magnet, you can go one step further and create an entire video series dedicated to a single subject. A while back, I worked with one of my fantastic clients to create a video series exploring a variety of online tools for health coaches and wellness entrepreneurs. It was a huge hit! 

There are So Many Options

These examples are only scratching the surface when it comes to lead magnets. Other examples could include a whitepaper (exploring a subject in depth), an eBook (possibly promoting a full-length book), or a webinar (oh, don’t get me started on webinars, that is definitely a favorite topic for another day!)

Put Your Lead Magnet Front and Center

For a lead magnet to be effective, you need to consider what represents you and your business. For example, if you love being on video, then a video series might be the best match for your personality. If you have an online course that you want to sell, offer a free mini-course to get people started.

No matter what format it’s in, if you want people to download it, they will need to know it’s there. That’s why I highly suggest placing a call-to-action for your lead magnet front and center on your homepage. If it’s one of the first things that a visitor sees, it’s going to attract their attention. Making a compelling enough pitch could be the first step towards landing them as a client (not to mention getting their email address).

But you don’t only want to put it on your homepage. Blast it everywhere! Write social media posts about it, include it in your email signature, and send people to it at the end of a webinar or podcast. In fact, you shouldn’t feel shy about creating a stand-alone webpage for your lead magnet that will tell people everything they need to know to get started (and, of course, send you their email address for your list!)

It’s Time to Create a Lead Magnet!

If your website currently lacks a lead magnet and you still feel a bit stumped, I can help you create one! We can draw from your already-existing content or work together to create something brand-new that will pull in potential clients! And if you already have one, great! Are you checking through your analytics to see which ones are working? You should be focusing on creating more lead magnets like that, and retire the ones that just aren’t speaking to your audience. As with everything digital marketing, analyzing and tweaking should definitely be part of your regular routine. 

I hope you found all of this information valuable! You may already know quite a bit of it, but sometimes walking through it is helpful (especially with examples!) And if you’d like to see more lead magnets that are converting really well in my business, jump over to jennielyon.com/freebies

If you’re ready to get started building your email list, I invite you to contact me today for a free consultation. Together, we can make sure that your lead magnets will “lead” your visitors all the way to your core offerings! 

If you’d rather listen to this blog, you can check out episode 6 on my podcast Digital Marketing Made Simple. Don’t forget to join my Digital Marketing Made Simple Podcast Community on Facebook to share your thoughts about lead magnets and the episode. 

Links For This Episode:

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About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie. www.JennieLyon.com

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