Email marketing is an essential tool in almost any small business’s arsenal. I know, I know, we’re biased – being email experts and all – but it’s an indisputable fact.
But if your mailing list is non-existent – or you haven’t seen much growth in your mailing list lately – it can be tough to find the motivation to persevere.
That’s why lead magnets are such an important part of email marketing (not to mention one of my favourite tools for growing mailing lists).
What is a lead magnet?
A lead magnet is a piece of content (think an eBook, cheat sheet, or quiz) you offer in exchange for an email address from a prospective lead.
It’s kinda a “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” arrangement. Except their itch is receiving helpful information for free and yours is adding a potential new customer to your mailing list.
Once they’ve shared their email address with you, they’ll be sent their free promised goodie to their inbox. From there, you can start building a relationship via email marketing, so they get to know you and your brand, nurturing them towards becoming a paying customer and eventually a brand advocate.
Should you use a lead magnet?
While you don’t need a lead magnet to have a successful business (or a successful email marketing strategy), they are incredibly handy for attracting new leads to your business.
Think about when you’ve chosen to share your email address online. Do you give precious inbox access to just anyone because they asked? I’d be willing to bet it’s highly unlikely. Unless you’re presented with an incentive to do so.
A lead magnet acts as that incentive, intriguing your prospects and promising just enough valuable goodness to tempt them into handing over their contact deets.
So, while you don’t HAVE to have a lead magnet, if you’re wanting to grow your mailing list and see more leads trickle in, it’s a good place to start.
Small side note, though.
A lead magnet isn’t worth much if you aren’t then acting on it. If you’re going to take the time to create a good lead magnet, you absolutely need to pair it with a healthy email marketing strategy.
So, if you’re only touching base with your mailing list every couple of months, I wouldn’t recommend creating a lead magnet.
Unless you’re ready to level up your email marketing game and consistently communicate with your list – particularly, with a welcome sequence.
Your lead magnet should be one step in your email marketing (and broader content) strategy, not a full stop.
What makes a good lead magnet?
1. Identify and research your target customer
Before you can create a piece of content, you need to know who that content is for and what problem it’s solving. It’s time to conduct some customer research.
Who are you targeting? It doesn’t have to be your whole audience, it could just be a specific segment. Think about what type of content would indicate to you (the business owner) that your services are right for someone.
For example, let’s say you’re a gardener. You could create a lead magnet sharing five quick and easy tips for a better-looking lawn. But guess what? The people who download this lead magnet could just be budding lawn enthusiasts with no interest in paying a professional to help them.
Instead, why not create a quiz on when to hire a professional gardener. From this, you’ll get a much clearer picture of who to invest your time and energy into winning over as a customer.
2. Solve a problem (but not the whole puzzle)
Your lead magnet should answer questions your audience has but be careful not to overpromise. Sure you might get a lot of downloads, but trust in you and your business will suffer.
Equally, remember your goal is to solve a problem, not solve the whole puzzle. The goal is to share good information that makes your lead realise they need your products/services. So don’t give away ALL of your expertise for free.
No one is expecting your lead magnet to be novel-length. Keep it digestible and to the point.
3. Demonstrate your expertise
Prove you’re an expert in your field by showcasing your knowledge and demonstrating your authority. Let your experience and confidence do the talking.
Hint: Use an active voice instead of a passive voice to demonstrate a self-assured tone. Avoid beating around the bush with phrases that could be interpreted as uncertain. For instance, steer clear of saying: “in my opinion” and “I think”.