Did you know that growing your email list is the #1 way you can convert your audience into paying customers?
Everyone loves a freebie, right?
Free nibbles around the grocery store. Samples of beauty products. A welcome cocktail when you check into a hotel.
But there’s obviously some reason you’re getting them, beyond the generosity of the business giving them away. They’re hoping to get something in return.
The department store hopes you’ll fall in love with one of the beauty samples and incorporate it into your beauty routine. The grocery store wants you to add a few more items to your cart. And the hotel is betting you’ll love their signature cocktail and order more during your stay.
That may seem obvious, but have you ever thought about how freebies could help your business? Digital freebies, that is. Otherwise known as lead magnets.
Why are lead magnets important?
Did you know that growing your email list is the #1 way you can convert your audience into paying customers? It’s also the best way to stay in touch with your fans on a regular basis and ultimately create a sustainable and profitable business.
But getting people to hand over their email addresses can be trickier than it seems. And that’s where lead magnets come in.
Think back to the department store…You weren’t planning to buy that beauty product, but suddenly it’s there in your home. You try it, you use it. You interact with the brand. They got your attention by giving you something for free.
Your goal with digital freebies is to do the same thing. You create something people want, so they’re willing to trade their name and email address for it. They get it, they like it, they stick around for more of it.
Then, in a perfect world, they start to like you and maybe even tell their friends or clients or network about you, or — even better — they hire you or sign up for your course or purchase your product. Amazing! All from one freebie!
So what is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is a freebie given away in exchange for contact details. You download my free homepage how-to guide, I get your email address. They also build authority, community, and — ideally — your client list and your bank account.
Lead magnets are win-win situations created by business owners who want to attract people who’d be interested in what they have to offer, also known as qualified leads.
The best freebies are easy reads that solve an immediate problem for your audience. It should be something they want now, giving them an incentive to click the Download button.
Create the perfect lead magnet
Your lead magnet can be anything you want, in any format you’d like. Great news, right? Well, just because it can be anything, doesn’t mean it should be just anything.
If you’re going to put in the work of creating a freebie, you want to make sure it’s as effective as possible. It’s worth taking some time to think it through. Don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it.
Target your audience
Make it relevant
Consider your long-term goals
Determine how much value to provide
Choose a format
Time the launch
Remember, the goal of your lead magnet is to get the right people to sign up for your email list. That means people who care about what you have to offer and the content of your email and marketing efforts.
It has to be worthy of them taking an extra moment, typing in their name and email address, then stopping their scroll to head over to their inbox and actually read it.
Put yourself in your audience’s shoes. What would be worth it for them? How can you engage them? Think about it from the perspective of what they might need, more than what you want to give them.
To get people to want to hear from you more regularly, your lead magnet has to be relevant to your services, offerings, or the subjects you regularly share content or post about.
The idea is to give them a sense of what else they can expect from you. Consider what you feel comfortable educating about, and what you want your audience to remember you for.
CASE IN POINT: Sara is a health coach but her first lead magnet was all about optimizing your Pinterest. Naturally, subscribers tended to be people who cared about Pinterest, not health. It was a recipe for the Great Unsubscribe. Now Sara has a freebie with healthy recipes, and gets much better results.
When deciding on a lead magnet, think about where your business is heading. Rather than trying to play catch-up in the future, why not use your freebie to get a jump on your long-term strategies now?
For example, if you’re planning to launch a course for wellness coaches, maybe it’s a good idea to let people preview the first class for free.
Or, if you’ve got a mentorship program for yoga teachers coming down the pipeline, maybe create a how-to guide for building an online library of classes. You get the point.
Your goal is to educate while showing off your expertise. Your goal is not to give away an entire encyclopedia’s worth of free knowledge.
You want to leave people coming back for more. In fact, the best lead magnets are sales tools that entice readers to become customers. That’s what’s known as converting.
On the flip side, it has to be valuable enough that people can actually get something out of it. As a rule of thumb, I generally think that lead magnets should be slightly more valuable than a blog post.
CASE IN POINT: Elissa’s lead magnet was a course on baby massage, an extremely valuable freebie! We advised her to instead create a download with 3-5 tips for relaxing a baby before bedtime, then use the email addresses she collected to sell the baby massage course as a paid product.
When picking a format, think about what your audience will enjoy and benefit from the most. And, of course, make sure it’s something you’re positive you can actually bring to life.
Some formats that make great freebies are checklists, cheat sheets, how-to guides, video tutorials, step-by-step outlines, a free class, pre-recorded webinars, introductory courses, short lessons, and design templates.
Be aware: people prefer simplicity. Don’t make your lead magnet too long thinking it’s not enough free value. I promise you, it probably is.
The time to release your freebie into the world is as soon as you’re ready to actually start email marketing.
If you want to put it out there right away, make sure you have two or three follow-up emails ready to go after the initial lead magnet contact, so they won’t forget who you are and unsubscribe.
Timing is everything, of course. And this is no different. Schedule your launch so that you can actually deliver on your promises.
The perfect lead magnet
There’s no one perfect lead magnet that will work for every business and every audience. That would be too easy! But by keeping in mind these general rules, you’ll be on your way to building your email list through compelling freebies in no time.
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And lastly, a few lead magnet examples to get you inspired…