You may have heard that the size of your email list is a strong indicator of the health and potential of your business. It can be confusing to know where to begin to build a list of targeted leads and prospective clients. In this post, I’m sharing a few key strategies to get you going in the right direction so you can create a great lead magnet (free offer) to attract the right people to join your email list.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet is simply a free downloadable file for your audience. The best way to grow your email list is to offer a ‘gotta have it’ free offer that people have to opt-in for with their email address.
Your lead magnet can be a simple PDF eGuide, cheat sheet, checklist, recipe guide or anything else related to your specialty. Think ‘short and sweet’ – content that can be quickly consumed by the reader. An irresistible lead magnet will be something that your particular audience wants to learn more about to solve a problem or make their life easier in some way. Pick the right topic and title, and your audience will be happy to give you their email address in exchange for your freebie.
Designing Your Lead Magnet
Once you have picked the topic for your lead magnet you can begin to develop the content. In order to achieve the best results, your lead magnet should meet the following 5 main criteria:
1. Timely – Make sure that your lead magnet is appropriate for the season. The topic “5 Healthy Christmas Cookie Swaps” probably won’t get many opt-ins in July. If you are going to address a seasonal topic, make sure you have the lead magnet ready between 6-8 weeks ahead of time, when people start researching that topic.
Another option, which is actually preferable, is to create an evergreen lead magnet. These topics are timeless, so they will be relevant year round. An example of this is “The 7 Most Effective Prenatal Exercises.” You will always have an audience for this type of lead magnet.
2. Solves a Problem – Think about what your audience struggles with the most. What are their biggest challenges? Not sure? Think about the the questions people ask you the most. Provide a solution to their problems, and they will be happy to opt-in to receive your lead magnet. Your free offer won’t solve the entire problem, but it will give people a place to start. If you aren’t sure what they struggle with, you can create a survey to find out using surveymonkey.com.
3. Brief, but high quality – Keep your content short and to the point. Most people are busy, and won’t take the time to read a long eBook. Ideally, your content should be able to be consumed quickly (in under 5 minutes). Include content that you know your audience will appreciate. Like I mentioned in #2 above, you are only presenting a partial solution, but it needs to make the reader feel grateful they opted in for it.
Have you ever opted in for something, and after you received it, you felt ripped off (even though it was free)? Chances are, when you heard from that person again, you unsubscribed from their email list. Whatever you put out into the world needs to be high quality and high value because it’s a reflection of you, your business and the level of service you provide.
4. Compelling title – You could have the greatest lead magnet in the world, but unless it has a title that appeals to your particular audience, no one is going to opt-in for it. If you followed step 2 above and you know your lead magnet solves a problem of some sort, think about a title that conveys the benefits as specifically as you can. For example, maybe you know your audience really struggles with cooking meals at home because they’re so busy. They eat out too often, which adds calories and expense. If you have a recipe guide, one possible title could be “The Busy Woman’s Recipe Guide: 25 Quick and Healthy Dinner Ideas Under 30 Minutes.”
If you need ideas for compelling titles, just browse magazine covers at the checkout stand. Magazines like Prevention, Shape and Self might give you some inspiration (or one your favorite health/fitness/wellness magazines).
Consider your target market, and what they are struggling with right now, and come up with a title that let’s people instantly know how it can benefit them.
5. Visually Appealing – Once you have your content written, you need to make it look professional. Ensure that the design matches your branding and colors. It should be easy to read, with images added if and where appropriate. You can get stock photos on free photo websites like pexels.com or pixabay.com or use a subscription stock photo site like bigstockphoto.com for starters.
If you don’t have the time or desire to do the design work, you can easily and inexpensively outsource this project. Popular resources for graphic design are http://www.fiverr.com and http://www.upwork.com. Be sure to check previous work samples of anyone you are considering hiring to ensure the quality of their work meets your standards. You will also want to be sure to clearly communicate your deadlines with the contractor and give them examples of what you want (including color scheme, fonts, etc.)
Delivering Your Lead Magnet
Once you have your awesome and irresistible free offer ready to go, you’ll need to have a way to send it out to your audience. You’ll need an email marketing system to automate this for you so you can generate leads 24/7.
When you set this up, you’ll want an email that delivers your freebie that includes a thank you and welcome message, then follow up with a series of 5-7 automated emails that are sent out 2-3 days apart. These follow-up emails will help people get to know a little bit about you as you offer extra tips to help them implement the topic you cover in your freebie. Your last 2 emails in the series can direct people to a special offer, or a way they can work with you.
Promoting Your Lead Magnet
Even though it’s free, you will still need to sell the benefits of your free offer. Why is it something your audience has to have? How will it help and benefit them? Communicate the benefits clearly, and help people envision how your lead magnet will improve their lives in some way.
Here are some ideas of how to promote your freebie:
- Post about your free offer on all of your social media platforms regularly (a few times each week)
- Include an opt-in with your blog posts (the blog post topic just needs to relate to the freebie somehow), then promote your blog post
- Use Facebook ads (for your freebie and/or blog posts that have a freebie
- Talk about your freebie during your live streams and direct people where to go to get it (and include the link in the post)
- Pin a freebie to the top of your Facebook group
- Include your opt-in on the home page of your website (above the fold) and side bar
- Include a link to your your free offer if you do any guest blog posts (just check with the host first).
- Use a pop-up opt-in (where an opt-in box appears after a certain time, or with exit-intent).
Facebook ads are a great option for reaching your followers and also tapping into entirely new audiences to expand your reach and turbocharge your list building. It takes a little time to learn the ins and out of running Facebook ads, but here is a good blog post I found on the topic to give you some ideas – CLICK HERE.
Once you have created your freebie, you will want to create a landing page, which is a short sales page where your clients can sign up. LeadPages is a simple and easy to use landing page builder, and they have a great selection of templates that make it easy to create a highly-converting opt-in page in minutes. Another option is to create a new page on your website for your free offer, and have people opt-in that way.
You will also need an email service provider to deliver your lead magnet. Popular email service providers include Aweber and GetResponse, and MalierLite. You can set up automated email campaigns that automatically send out a series of emails to all new subscribers. Automation is the name of the game!
For detailed information on your follow-up sequence, including scripting, CLICK HERE
Build Your Email List with Lead Magnets
Lead magnets are a key strategy in building your email list, and you can put it on autopilot so you can generate leads 2/47. They are a win-win for you and your potential clients. Your audience gets a solution to a problem, and you gain another potential customer to develop a relationship with. By utilizing a few simple, consistent tactics, you will be well on your way to building both your email list and your business.
No time to create your own lead magnet? No problem!