“Lead magnet” is a marketing term thrown around by a lot of non-marketing people. So before you click out of this page ask yourself, how much do you know about the power of lead magnets for small/mid-size businesses? Without further ado, let’s jump in:
What is a lead magnet?
Often called “gated content,” a lead magnet is a piece of valuable content created with the express intent of being accessed in exchange for a lead’s contact information.
Lead magnets occupy a specific niche for your buyers’ journey. They exist to:
- Provide value to prospects (most important)
- Collect basic contact information to enable follow-up and nurturing
- Establish your expertise in your industry
- Create an easy, risk-free first step for a prospect to engage with your business
Most consumers nowadays are overwhelmed with marketing messages coming from all directions. A lead magnet helps you cut through the noise by providing real value to a specific audience. Offering people thoughtful solutions (instead of vague advice) around particular problems in exchange for an email address is a win-win for you and your prospects.
Lead magnets can come in almost any form:
- Blog posts
- eBooks, etc.
The format doesn’t matter as much as what the lead magnet offers your prospects. If you provide high-quality information or an experience in a digestible format, you’ve got a good lead magnet.
You can decide your lead magnet’s topic by walking things back from your offering: what questions do you get right before a sale is closed? What obstacles do prospects encounter at particular stages of the buyer’s journey? What misconceptions do leads often have that you could dispel in exchange for an email address or phone number?
How is a lead magnet different from other marketing content?
You might be thinking “Shouldn’t all marketing content end up with collecting contact information?” The short answer is no.
While all of your content should provide some kind of value to your audiences, lead magnets are targeted to specific subsets of your audience and offer them more value than your typical content. A lead magnet isn’t the place to share all of your trade secrets or offer up your services for free, but a good lead magnet requires some level of deeper detail. Most of your prospective customers won’t give you their contact information for solutions they can easily find ungated elsewhere.
Here’s an example of how lead magnets differ:
The blog post you’re reading now is filled with helpful information about lead magnets. However, the information in this ungated blog could theoretically be found via other sources. This blog is also untethered to a specific audience, so many different people could get value from it.
Lead magnets should have an air of your ‘secret ingredient’ to them. They also often promise some kind of solution to your audience, and that solution is inherently tied to specific characteristics of the audience.
We’ve aggregated our knowledge and research around lead magnets into this blog post. If we were to create a lead magnet around, well, lead magnets, it would likely be called something like “5 Must-Haves to Get More Contact Info from Your Small Business Lead Magnet.” This piece of content identifies a specific audience and promises to help solve a specific problem. It also has an air of proprietary knowledge thanks to the words “must-have” demarcating our experience creating lead magnets.
How to begin creating your lead magnet
The first step in creating a lead magnet is deciding your target audience. Who has bought from you most in the past? What audiences currently use or could use your product, but who you haven’t reached out to yet? What problems do you solve for your customers, and what expert guidance could you provide to beginners? Lead magnets need a specific target in order to work.
Once your audience is set, you need to decide on a topic that adds value to their lives and the best medium to share your message. Revisit the past few sections of this blog post for inspiration since we’ve already covered these topics.
Once your lead magnet is created, you should set a realistic goal with a deadline. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Even saying “our goal is to get 50 leads from this lead magnet over the next 3 months” is fine. You just need some kind of marker to help guide your promotion plan and measure success.
Getting your lead magnet in front of the right people
Now it’s time to promote your lead magnet! The paid route is usually a good option as long as you know where to find your audiences. These tactics can include promoted posts on social media sites, ads (digital/YouTube/podcast/etc.), or content syndication/placement with online publications. You can also create or purchase contact lists to email your content to (just be sure whether you purchase or create a contact list, that the list follows email privacy regulations).
It’s also possible, and advised, to promote your lead magnet using free and low-cost methods. Post it to your website on any page that’s appropriate like your homepage, contact page, and services/product pages related to the magnet’s topic. You can also post it organically on your social media feed and find interest groups on social media. Finding the right interest group page can be like finding a gold mine of the people you want to reach.
If you have partner organizations, work with them to cross-promote each other’s content. Partnerships are a great low-cost way to get your lead magnet in front of new prospects. You can also try posting for free in places outside of your website like Medium and Reddit. Wherever your audience is, there your lead magnet should be also.
Lead magnets take time, effort, and good ideas to do right, but they can be game-changers. If anything, we hope you’ve learned why lead magnets are more of an art than a science. So much depends on how well you understand your audience and how well you can think outside the box.
If you have questions or would like help building a lead magnet for your business, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is ready to help!