Many marketing campaigns primarily focus on boosting brand awareness and bringing in as many new visitors to a business’s website as possible. This approach makes a lot of sense, as once your target audience is in the right place, you then have tools like persuasive website copy and high-quality showcases of products and services at your disposal to help convert a lead into a customer.
But what’s the point of going to all that trouble in gathering leads and pointing them towards your website if you don’t put just as much effort into keeping them there afterwards?
The jump from a visitor becoming aware of your business to make a purchase can sometimes prove too large a hurdle to overcome in a single step, and trying to seal the deal too quickly can end up chasing customers away. Yet slowing down your approach to appeal to anyone sitting on the fence can mean that other leads might click away from your website before you can show them your brand is a good fit for them.
In order to appeal to both groups, you’ll need to keep that short and snappy brand messaging, while also offering your leads something to convince them your brand is the right one for the job – and that something is a lead magnet. In this guide, we’ll cover the definition of a lead magnet, why they’re important for every business, what attributes make up a good lead magnet, and a couple of examples of lead magnets you can use for every stage in the buying process.
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is something that is given away in exchange for the user’s contact information, most commonly an email address. The lead magnet itself can be a few different things, like a special offer for customers to use or an informative piece of content. To give an example, a lifestyle brand focused on improving the physical and mental health of its clients might use an ebook with a variety of healthy and easy-to-make dinner recipes, or a quiz that determines the skin type of the user and what products or treatments they should use on it. One thing all lead magnets have in common is that they serve to give the user additional knowledge on the brand’s industry while also encouraging them to engage with your other products or services.
At first glance though, the deal in exchanging a lead magnet for contact information seems to benefit the user much more than the business. After all, giving away an email address takes mere seconds to do and is of no financial consequence to the user. A good lead magnet on the other hand takes a lot of time and effort to make that would otherwise be compensated handsomely if you were to sell it instead. And is there really that much benefit to having a lead magnet if you’re already successful in bringing in visitors to your website?
Why are lead magnets important?
To properly demonstrate the importance of lead magnets, let’s again adhere to our lifestyle brand example. Imagine a potential customer spots an online banner advert for a one-to-one session with a trained life coach. They’re undecided on whether the session would be beneficial for them yet, but they’ve been considering it for a while, and their interest is piqued enough that they click on the advert and are redirected to the company website. Yet when they arrive, the visitor encounters a huge problem: booking even a single session is very expensive. It’s too much of a risk to take on an unknown business for something the visitor isn’t even sure that they need.
The tab is closed, and the lead is lost.
This situation is a lot more common than you think, as lost leads outweigh converted customers for even the most successful brands. Obviously, it doesn’t feel good to give away the lead magnet you worked so hard on for just an email address. Yet if every business owner could see and watch every time a potential customer clicked away from their website that might have been convinced to buy with a little extra incentive, that would feel a hundred times worse. Just because the loss of customers is invisible outside of analytic data doesn’t mean it’s any less costly in reality.
That being said, lead magnets can do so much more for a business than securing a single sale, as they open the doors to one of the most efficient marketing techniques. The importance of email marketing has been stated time and time again by business experts. It keeps your audience informed of all the latest developments within your business, boasts an incredible return on investment (ROI), and requires very little effort to upkeep compared to other marketing methods. The drawback of email marketing however, is that it needs a significant email list in place to take advantage of its strengths.
Thus, the contact information is what the lead magnet desires most of all. After your lead magnet establishes your business as both knowledgeable about its own industry and generous enough to give away high-quality content for free, you then secure an email address that allows you to send potentially infinite advertisements for your products/services to someone who already holds your brand in high regard. Lead magnets don’t make just any customers, but loyal customers, which makes them an excellent long-term investment.
So what’s the recipe for a successful lead magnet, you ask? The answer differs depending on the specifics of your business and the type of lead magnet, but here are a few key ingredients everyone should include.
What makes a good lead magnet?
It solves a specific and relevant problem
Having a tight focus for a lead magnet is important for a few reasons. Having a specific problem to solve means there will be less variation involved in crafting a solution than a broader, more complicated issue would have. This means your lead magnet is more efficient in solving your user’s problem, thus removing the risk of them getting confused or frustrated and giving up entirely. Additionally, the problem your lead magnet solves should be relevant to your target audience’s needs, otherwise they simply won’t be impressed with something that doesn’t concern them. Customer surveys, personas, and analytic data can help with finding a common problem your visitors will face if you’re stuck.
It’s quick to receive and doesn’t give away too much information
Your lead magnet should be something that can be obtained almost immediately by the user. If there’s any kind of delay, then they’ll have time to do some competitor research, and the chances of your lead finding someone else who can also solve their problem becomes dangerously high. Plus, making longer form content runs the risk of giving too much away. While your lead magnet still needs to be useful, it should provide one or two quick wins and nothing more. You still want your customers to buy from you at the end of the day, so keep your cards somewhat close to your chest.
It goes above and beyond existing free content
Although you’re giving away your lead magnet for only contact information, that doesn’t mean you can afford to be cheap – because you can guarantee your visitors will be just as cheap as you are. If they can get the information or services your lead magnet provides elsewhere completely free, then your brand no longer looks like the benevolent friend your audience can rely on in times of need. Instead, it’ll seem like you’re trying to scam them, and that’s not a good look for anyone.
It reflects your brand as a whole and emphasises its UVP (Unique Value Proposition)
A good lead magnet gives the user something they want, but a great lead magnet does this while showing off what makes your business unique. Solve the user’s problem using the professional expertise that all of your competitors lack, or offer them a free sample of the product that best represents your distinct design philosophy. Of course, the priority is still helping the user, but that doesn’t mean you can’t smuggle in a bit of tasteful self-advertisement too.
It’s updated consistently
While there may be some unique cases, the vast majority of lead magnets aren’t a simple one-and-done. As the first example of your standards as a business, your lead magnet will likely need to be updated a few times based on customer feedback and reviews so it can be improved for future users, and can adapt to solve more modern problems as they arise. Getting feedback should be easy too. Considering everyone who obtains your lead magnet has already given you their contact information, there’s no excuse not to send at least a gentle reminder for your leads to tell you what they think.
Lead magnet examples
The last thing to do is choose the right style of lead magnet to promote your business. The most important thing to consider is where your lead will be in the buying process when they come across your website because this will dictate what type of content will be most effective in converting the lead into a customer. This can depend on a lot of different variables, though there are two key factors you should consider:
1) The types of marketing campaigns you’re running and the platforms you’re using to run them – this will determine how early the lead comes into contact with your brand.
2) What industry you’re working in – this will determine whether the user has to do a lot of research into their problem to understand it (e.g. if you provide technical solutions for computers, most people aren’t going to have a lot of existing knowledge on the subject, and thus will be more likely to see your brand in the beginning stages of the buying process).
To make things easier, let’s go through the three stages of the buying process and examine a couple of lead magnet examples for each stage.
When in the awareness stage, the prospect has been made aware of a problem they’re experiencing but has yet to examine the finer details of it or come up with a solution, so they are typically looking for information above anything else. Because they’re still in the early stages, the prospect is less willing to invest a significant amount of time in one place. Therefore, a good lead magnet for this stage will focus less on converting the lead into a sale and more on informing the user on a topic, while generating some general interest in your brand.
Example 1: Checklists
A checklist is a great way to walk the user through a process with a series of short and precise instructions. To once again look at the example of the lifestyle brand earlier, the checklist might focus on the user’s lifestyle choices and tick off various necessities in their diet, sleep schedule and exercise routine. A checklist excels at breaking down a seemingly overwhelming task into shorter and more easily digestible steps and can be understood even if the user doesn’t have any background knowledge on the topic. Bonus points for if the checklist goes over something the user does regularly or needs to keep updating over time, as this will keep them referring back to your brand consistently until they’re ready to buy.
Example 2: Quizzes
A quiz is an ideal lead magnet for the consideration stage because it’s a fun and interactive way for the user to get some insight into what they need to do to solve their problem while helping them to establish their unique circumstances. Each question in a quiz asks the reader about a part of their situation that is important in identifying a solution, helping them to learn more about both their predicament and your industry in general, and should be specific enough so that you can narrow down the necessary steps the reader needs to take with no more than ten questions. The best part about quizzes is that they easily gather data on your visitors, which you can then use to tailor a specific response to convert them into leads.
Moving on to the consideration stage, the prospect has now clearly defined what their problem is and likely has a few options laid out that they plan to compare against each other. They might even be comparing different brands at this point. Because of this new attention to detail, long-form lead magnets are now a viable option, and exploring the ins and outs of specific products or services is a great approach to adopt.
Example 1: Case studies
With polite introductions out of the way, any of your business’s claims from this point on should be backed up with empirical evidence, and case studies are the perfect way to do this. Present research and data analytics in a visually impressive way for irrefutable proof that your business is better than the rest, or show glowing reviews from people who have experienced and admire your work. A good case study can use astonishing figures and memorable quotes to create an attention grabbing headline that’s impossible to ignore, and is great for giving your brand social proofing.
Example 2: Webinars
Webinars are typically split into two parts: a presentation to inform and persuade their audience, followed by a Q&A session to allow for any additional questions. This means webinars usually have a set focus and can condense all the best parts of structured content into one half, while also allowing for user queries that are more unique in the solution they require in the other half. Being able to present and answer questions in real time makes for a much more interactive experience than other lead magnets, adding a human touch to your business. Sessions can also be recorded and watched later for those unable to attend; keep in mind however, that a recorded webinar is not nearly as appealing as a live one, so consider whether the bulk of your audience will be able to attend the live session or not.
By the time the decision stage rolls around, the prospect is very close to making a purchase, and has probably decided on the type of solution they want – it’s just a case of where they’re going to get it. Huge emphasis is put on the user’s individual circumstances as they consider every element in terms of their own needs, resources and limitations, so specialisation here is key.
Example 1: Product trial/demonstration
If what you’re trying to sell requires a significant investment for the user to even dip their toes in the water, then a trial/demonstration is incredibly useful for easing any anxieties they have about making the wrong decision. While a demonstration will run through all the most important parts of your product, a trial will usually be time gated, and will offer just enough so that the user can get a feel for what they’re getting into, but still withhold the most important features for the paid version. Use a trial or demonstration if getting the user to experiment for themselves and see what your product is capable of is a big selling point for your brand.
Example 2: Free consultation
Mostly used for businesses that sell a service rather than a product, a free consultation serves to understand the user’s specific needs and create an outline for them covering a long term plan to bring them success (note that the typical process your business offers should be established before offering a consultation). While this is a lead magnet with a very high rate of success in converting the lead to a customer, it’s also very time consuming. It’s therefore a good idea to offer a consultation as the second part of your lead magnet package after something like a checklist of the relevant information users should have prepared before speaking with you. That way, you can be sure everyone who requests a call is ready to work with you.
A brief recap
Hopefully by now you should have a good idea of what a good lead magnet can do for your business, how to make one, and which will suit your business the best. Keep in mind that what worked for other brands won’t necessarily work for you. Every business has different strengths, and every audience has different needs. Finding out how to link those two things is what makes a successful lead magnet.
If you’ve decided to make a lead magnet, but are stuck somewhere in the creation process, you might find it helpful to read through our other blog, a comprehensive guide to content marketing.
Looking for some one-to-one guidance? Don’t wait around, book a call with Loved Brands today, and we’ll help you create a lead magnet you can be proud of.