Learn what it takes to create a strong lead magnet that works for your audience, helps you garner leads and showcases your brand and expertise.
To stay in business, you need prospects!
Smart entrepreneurs know that leads take time to nurture and warm up and getting them onto your email list is a fabulous way to do that. Maybe you put your heart and soul into creating an awesome digital tool and yet you are wondering why aren’t the sign-ups pouring in.
How can you create lead magnets and opt-ins, digital tools that invite and entice your prospects to connect, share, try, subscribe and ultimately, buy from you?
The best kind of lead generation tools are of 2 kinds (or a combo of both) – they solve a problem or they add value and help customers in specific ways.
If you are looking to create and promote effective digital products, here are 35 best practices for lead magnets that convert. If you prefer, you can also grab all these pointers below as a handy checklist for convenience.
The three key ingredients of great lead magnets are the – the Make-up (or the content that goes in creating it), how well you Market it and how you Measure your success!
I. Making lead magnets that are winners!
Start with great Content, polish its Appearance and ensure that it is Error free.
Creating winning content
1.Divide and rule
Break up your content into 2 categories – lead magnets and opt-ins. While they are often used interchangeably, the latter is usually an upsell or cross-sell for an existing products. Lead magnets, on the other hand, can be offered to any visitor.
E.g. you can offer a free idea list of 100 content ideas (lead magnet), with an opt-in for a paid blogging course. Or a cross-sell a different product with a list of websites for stock photos.
Separating content types helps you create a better sales funnel and more conversions, because it offers your consumer more products and clear choices. Importantly, you can build a base of trust and engagement before selling products of higher value.
If you create content, esp. long form like an eBook or Report, you should either have credentials or experience in that area and your website should reflect that. Otherwise, the offer might not seem credible.
3.Make it easy to understand
Most times, the consumers of lead magnets are those who need the info, but don’t necessarily know much about the topic. Use visual depictions, images and even flowcharts to illustrate points.
4.Balance jargon and simplicity
While it’s tempting to demonstrate expertise using industry terms, it can be very off-putting to hear a sentence like leverage social media synergies for compounded and accelerated outcomes. Instead, something like overlap your presence on different social media for greater reach is more on point.
5.Include actionable takeaways
Treat your lead magnet like a niche to-do list. A majority of the people subscribe because they have an immediate need or problem to solve.
6.Incorporate usable tools
Again, suggesting good, usable tools, whether yours or external, can be helpful because they are within the context of the problem the reader is trying to solve.
E.g. If you offer an SEO cheat sheet, include links to Google Analytics or Bing My Places.
7.Be versatile in formats
If you can, create your lead content in more than one format – say, an Infographic for quick action, and a Guide with details. Maybe Videos and Webinar for visual learners. This distributes your content in more directions. Which format you choose, depends on the kind of content your audience responds to the most. As an example, PDFs are 34% more probable to convert than video.
8.Ensure clear & comprehensible
Include a TOC and Summary if your tool is longer than 4-5 pages. This makes it more easily navigable. Including a table of contents is always useful. Or even a summary, if there is a lot of text and data, but don’t give away the good stuff upfront.
9.Add clickable outlines
In PDF documents, you can create page jumps, which means that I can head straight to Page 7 from the outline.
10.Provide examples and links
Similarly, adding clickable links makes it easy for your reader to reference a source. Or even click on your other lead magnet to subscribe.
Are you building the funnel by being meaningful to your business and to your target audience? While a useful lead magnet is one that grows your prospect list, you really want to produce one that’s most connected to your business, so that the leads can actually convert.
12.Build brand or product visibility
Similarly, your product can also showcase your brand and sell other products, but not become an advertisement for it. Overly promotional content takes away trust.
13.Focus on evergreen content (or at least longer shelf life)
Make the ROI (return on investment) worth the effort – strong lead magnets need time to create, so pick topics that are likely to be of value over time too.
14.Regularly Update and be current
Add current data and newer features to existing content. Most Apps and Social media channels are constantly adding new features, so incorporating them in your content is important. Plus, nothing is worse than a Cheat Sheet which has examples from 2016, or images from an older layout of Facebook Pages.
15.Make it attractive and cohesive
As rich as your content might be, how it looks also influences your customers’ perceptions.
16.Include your personality and brand elements
Let your logo, colors and content talk for your brand. Placing your logo in the footer or using the color scheme of your brand adds a subtle yet effective boost to your brand. Using proprietary elements like the logo or website name also helps your protect your content a little better.
Error proof rigorously!
A no-brainer, but details are overlooked all the time. The longer the content, the more diligent you need to be.
Similarly, make sure that the links you have included work and remove tracking codes.
Send a few trial emails to ensure that the entire process works.
Prefer to grab all the pointers in this blog as a handy checklist instead? Grab this freebie!
II. Without Marketing, even the best content won’t go far!
Write persuasive Messaging, ensure your offers are Visible and invite Customer Action.
Make your Message rock!
20.Write clever headlines with specific outcomes
You don’t have to deliver the moon. A small but clear benefit will do the trick.
Which one of the 2 headlines are you more likely to act upon?
Organize your email vs Organize your entire inbox in an hour or less!
Tell your user clearly what’s in it for them immediately or they’ll be left wondering. Specific titles will give your audience a direct outcome that they can expect – whether it is to improve something or take away a pain point. Choose your topic carefully – the more hyper focused the better!
21.Include basic Information
A few details like format (e.g. Worksheet, Webinar or White Paper), user type and other attributes can help your products stand out and attract the right buy-ins. If it’s free, make that prominent.
22.Share preview images
For banners you can choose a solid background with only text. Or you can add images so customers can get a sneak peek. In this eBook, there is actually a preview of the inside page too.
Do an A/B testing to determine which type of opt-in form gets the most clicks from your users.
23.Add a compelling (or fun) CTA
Sign me up or Send it to me works, but a well chosen call to action will make it an offer they absolutely can’t refuse. Pick one that goes best with your brand’s personality.
24.Be honest – don’t overpromise
While slick Marketing works, if the product doesn’t follow through on its premise, you will lose the prospect. And a bad review or mention on social media (yes, it happens all the time) can be detrimental.
Visibility is a key success trigger!
25.Share extensively and smartly
Where your offers are placed matters. Make your digital tools available throughout your website and accessible through other media. Include one wherever you have a conversation around that topic to amp up the chance of conversion.
E.g if you talk about the issue of overusing social media, a guide on time-chunking or tools to manage phone usage will find strong favor by your readers.
Be sure to include it both as a banner or pop up and have a landing page too.
26.Add on Home Page
Start hustling right away – nicely, of course! You can offer your best tools or at least include an invite for newsletter subscription as soon as someone lands on your website. You will get more eyeballs on this page which impacts conversion, but your selling still needs to be persuasive.
In the images below, Eden Fried, added not 1 but 3 offers on her home page. However, 2 lead to the same resource – her eBook.
27.Insert in Blog Posts
Blog posts are the best place to garner leads since the reader is engaged with your content. If it’s a long post, you can insert the same offer (but maybe a different visual) in the body and in the end. If not, share it 2 different products. Again, go for relevance.
Offers in a blog posts are typically considered as content upgrades. Your post provides the reference and the opt-in gives them the next level of expertise. It is both logical and effective.
E.g. a blog article on learning new skills includes a guide to monetizing your skills like the one in this image.
28.Include in Sidebars
Content on Sidebars can be a great attention grabber too. To optimize, place a square image, with text and enable subscribe right there. If you can’t do that, then link the image to your landing page.
29.Create Landing Pages
A dedicated landing page makes sharing the offers outside your website much easier.
Here’s an easy way to break it down the anatomy of a landing page: Start with a bold attention grabbing headline. Your list of teaser bullets. A call to action and the sign up box. Add a solid testimonial or as-seen-on logos to increase credibility.
Why create another page? Aren’t the banners and pop-ups good enough?
Having a landing page is particularly important if you promote your freebies on social media or on digital product platforms like Maroon Oak. The advantages are numerous – easy marketability, traffic to and time spent on your website.
Take a look at this landing page for an eBook on Design.
In addition, you can further increase conversions on your landing pages by adding Cross sells – similar, related or complementary products that your subscribers might find useful. Go a step further and include cross sells within the actual opt-in content. Preface it with a ‘If you liked this checklist, …’
On Maroon Oak – when someone subscribes to an eBook on Design above, they get an offer to opt for an eBook on Websites that Convert.
Ideally, create a page that includes every one of your digital offers!
30.Share via Email
Share new opt-ins via Email with existing subscribers. You may get more buy-ins if users believe that your previous ones offered them strong value.
31.Post on Social Media
Promote your lead generating content on social channels – your own as well as via Fb groups and Pinterest Communities. Add a brief and enticing headline, link to your landing page and wait and watch.
Actionability motivates speed!
Both your copy and content in the offer, should be such to inspire the ‘get it now!’ feeling.
33.Induce immediate conversion
Similarly, the reader must get access to the tool right away. So use an email service that lets you do just that. Most have free plans that work until you reach a large enough base.
34.Offer pricing benefit
For freemium products, offering a promotional price works wonders and adds to the sense of urgency.
35.Make it shareable
Everyone knows someone else who can use a good business tool. Offer email and/ or social share options on the email as well the actual product too.
III. Measuring the Business benefit
If you’ve taken into account all the above pointers, great! Now, it’s time to measure.
36.Track your best (or all) tools and marketing initiatives!
Some of the quick metrics to track on your email service is open and click rates. Most will also tell you which link your subscriber clicked on (though is usually a premium service). So if you included an upsell offer in your email, you will know if it’s getting interest. Make sure your future sells are designed such that they are actually moving your customer on the purchase cycle.
Pooja Krishna is an Entrepreneur, Business Mentor and Mom. She has worked both in large corporates and managed startups over the last 20+ years.
She’s a co-founder at Maroon Oak, and is founded Win Thinks, where she writes, speaks and teaches about Digital Media, Brand Building and Future Ready Businesses. A day trader for over a decade, Pooja launched Trading Paces to educate amateur and pro stock traders. As a classroom mentor, Pooja loves teaching students across the U.S. about job skills and entrepreneurship. Read about her on Huffington Post and Forbes.
A trivia buff and yoga & hula hoop enthusiast, she’s discovering the pleasure of drawing Zentangle patterns for ‘creative mindfulness.’