Why lead magnets are a must-have in your business (and how to create one in 5 simple steps)

Great news! Your dream customer has just waltzed on to your website.

After passing the initial ‘does this business look legit’ test, they proceed to read through your website content and explore your offerings.

They really like what you sell, but after spending some time on your website, they decide they aren’t quite ready to contact or buy from you. After all, asking for the sale is the equivalent of getting down on one knee and asking them to marry you, and they've only just met you!

So, they close out of your website with the intention of weighing up their options, and never return.

Everyday, people who aren’t ready to buy yet come to your website looking for a solution to their problem. If these people never return, it’s a missed opportunity for you to help them solve their problem and generate revenue for your business.

Enter the lead magnet 

This is also known as an ‘opt-in’ ‘lead generator’ ‘freebie’ or ‘freemium’.

This is a piece of valuable content that is offered to your website visitors in exchange for an email address. It’s is the equivalent of asking your website visitor out on a date—way less commitment and much easier to say yes to!

The most common lead magnet is a PDF (checklist, guide, report, whitepaper), but it can also come in other formats—like training videos, audio recordings, mini courses, webinars or email challenges.

Once your website visitor has said yes to your lead magnet and provided you with a very valuable commodity (their email address) you then know they are pretty damn interested in what you’ve got to offer them. You can then stay in touch via email, build trust and credibility and support them in learning more about your area of expertise and offerings.

Businesses are built on relationships, and good relationships are built over time, not in an instant. Often, we’re inclined to focus only on the customers who are ready to buy, but, by using a lead magnet and email communications, we can also stay connected to future-buyers too.

So, now that you know how lead magnets can help you to turn more of your website visitors into potential customers, you might be wondering...

How do you create a lead magnet?

Creating a lead magnet requires you to step into your customer’s shoes and understand the types of challenges, fears or questions they might have. Here are 5 easy steps to walk you through this process—

Step 1: Decide who is buying and what are they buying

Make things simple by keeping one ideal customer and one offering (product or service) in mind when creating your lead magnet. If you serve multiple audiences or offer several products/services, you can repeat this process for each one.

For example, if I am a photographer, I might decide that my lead magnet is going to be geared towards selling my wedding package. My ideal customer for this package is Sam, who is 35 and newly engaged and earns $110 000 pa.

Step 2: Uncover their challenges

What sort of challenges/desires/fears does your ideal customer have that are related to your offering? Brainstorm everything you can think of. Consider not just the surface challenge, but also how this makes them feel.

Sam’s fears might be ending up with stiff or awkward looking photos, not booking a photographer far enough in advance, overpaying her photographer or completely blowing her wedding budget.

Step 3: Find the quick wins and helpful hints

Is there information you could offer that would help your ideal customer to better understand their challenge, evaluate the possible solutions or ease their mind? You might have lots of ideas, so brainstorm of all your ideas, then pick the best one. 

One of the big questions business owners seem to get stuck on is differentiating between a blog post and a lead magnet— which content should go a on a blog, and which should be a lead magnet?

There is no hard and fast rule in my opinion— but the content must be very valuable to be a lead magnet. Your customers should walk away thinking 'I can't believe that was free!'

To make it really valuable, we tend to make our lead magnets actionable— for example, exercises, processes, checklists or videos that show people how to do it for themselves. So, if you're stuck, make your lead magnet the action step that compliments your informational blog post, keeping it easy to understand, quick to consume and jam-packed with value.

For example, this photographer might decide to create a lead magnet sharing something related to planning a wedding as a whole, such as ‘The Ultimate Wedding To-Do List’ or 'Where to Splurge and Save on Your Big Day.' Alternatively, they might opt for something specific to wedding photography, for example ‘5 Mistakes Brides to Be Make When Hiring a Photographer’ or ‘10 Questions to Ask Your Photographer Before Hiring Them’.

Step 4: Build your resource & opt-in form

You next step is creating your lead magnet and opt-in form. 

Your lead magnet format will depend on—

  • You— In which space do you feel most comfortable presenting information? Do you shine on video, are you a natural speaker or an avid writer? What do you have the skills and equipment to easily produce?
  • Your content— What is the easiest way to share the information you have?
  • Your customers— Which types of content will they enjoy most?

Once you have your subject and format, it's time to create your lead magnet and opt-in form on your website (to collect names and emails). If you need, you could ask for help from a designer, videographer or sound engineer to help you create your lead magnet, and a web designer to setup your opt-in form, but, it’s entirely possible to DIY too.

Step 5: Store & Send

Once you have your lead magnet, upload it to a safe place where it can be accessed by anyone who has the direct link. Most of the time you can upload PDFs to your website’s media library or you can save them on a cloud based server such as Amazon S3, Dropbox or Google Drive.

Finally, setup your preferred email marketing software so that when someone fills out your opt-in form, they'll be sent an automated email response with the link to your lead magnet.

Lead magnets are a great way to build trust with your customers and establish yourself as the expert in your field. You only have to take a quick look around our website to realise we use them all the time in our business, and with good reason— they work!

I hope this article has been helpful! If there is someone you know who could benefit from creating a lead magnet in their business, we'd love it if you would share it with them.

What’s the biggest challenge for you in creating your own lead magnet? Share it with me in the comments!

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