Lead Magnets: The What, Why and How

You might have heard the term lead magnet before, but what is it? Why would you need one? And how would you even start creating one?

The reality is that a lead magnet is an essential aspect of any business’s digital marketing strategy, so if you haven’t got one already read on and find out why and how to get magnetic as we share everything you need to know to start filling your sales funnel.

What is a Lead Magnet?

It’s an accepted fact in the sales world, that you need to have between seven and fifteen interactions with a potential client before they will even consider buying a product or service from you. As a friend once said, “You wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date and sales should be treated the same”.

A lead magnet can be your springboard to starting a flourishing relationship with your next customer. With a strong lead magnet, you can have your ideal clients find you!

So, what is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is a piece of valuable content that you make available to your potential clients. Given either for free or for a nominal charge in exchange for their data, usually their email address.

Why would you need their email address? you ask.

In this digital world, a person’s email address is valuable. We don’t mean you can sell it! What we mean is that it gives you access to appear right in front of your potential client on a regular basis.

A lead magnet is just one part of an intricate marketing system. Your lead magnet is the doorway to dating your client. When someone takes your lead magnet, It’s like being handed a phone number in a bar and being told to give them a call.

Why Do You Need a Lead Magnet?

The lead magnet attracts clients into your sales funnel. A sales funnel is the path that you lead potential clients down, warming them up as you go. The more positive interactions you have with your potential clients, the more they will know, like and trust you. And the more likely they will be to say yes when you finally pop the big question! No, not ‘Will you marry me?’ but… ‘Will you buy from me?’

Lead magnets should address a need or pain point that your ideal client has. It is important to spend time really thinking about who your ideal customer is. If you sell to everyone, you sell to no one. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What would you need right now that would help you?

The lead magnet should only be a sticking plaster and will not be the whole solution to your client’s problems. For example, if you’re a social media manager, your client might struggle to find the time to post regularly or think up content. So you could provide a set of pre-made post templates. Although this will help for a limited time, it’s not the entire solution. And they will still ultimately have the same issue, which is a lack of time to post.

But, by providing top-quality post templates you have shown off your skill. And if they liked the templates they’re more likely to come to you for long-term social media support. They have also shown you that they have a problem that your core offer can solve and that they need your help.

Like the start of a relationship on Tinder, you’ve both swiped right and matched their needs with your solution.

What Type of Lead Magnet Should I Create?

Now you know why you need a lead magnet, what should you create?

When creating your lead magnet it’s really important to provide something that links to your business. You can provide the greatest cooking tips ever, but if you sell candles then you aren’t going to be drawing in your ideal clients. Just like a dating profile, if you highlight an image of you surfing you will draw other surfers. But if you actually don’t like surfing, the relationship is doomed before you start.

The type of lead magnet that you create will be entirely dependent upon the ideal client that you’re trying to attract. Lead magnets come in many forms. Here are a few ideas:

– A written how-to guide
– A checklist or audit
– Cheatsheet
– An audio file
– Calculator / Spreadsheet
– Recipe
– Quiz
– Swipe file
– App
– Report
– Infographic
– Webinar
– Ready-created social media content
– Calendar
– Plan or planner
– Free product / Shipping / Giveaway
– Vault or library
– Tutorial
– An E-book – for example, here’s our free ultimate guide to starting an ethical business.
– Templates
– Examples & Case Studies
– Scripts
– Podcast episode or interview
– A mini-course
– Toolkit

When thinking about creating your lead magnet here are a few more things to consider.

It should be simple and easy to use. A long or complicated document will probably end up unread. And if you have to provide a manual on how to use your lead magnet it’s definitely not the right thing to make into a lead magnet. Instead, this may be better as a training session or course.

Think about how you’re solving your client’s pain point. Is it immediately actionable and does it give a quick win? Does it actually help, rather than just being a sales document?

Make it available immediately. If someone is searching for a solution they don’t want to have to wait for it to be posted to them or until you next check your inbox. You can set up an email marketing system that allows it to be sent automatically to your potential client with a single click, even while you sleep.

Try to make it as specific to your potential client’s needs as you can. The more specific the better, general advice can usually be found on the internet with a Google search. So make it worth giving that email address over.

Showcase your skill and demonstrate to your client that you are knowledgeable about what you do and give them more than they expect. Make sure that you show just how much value you could give to your client in the long term.

How Can I Create a Lead Magnet?

So, now you’ve got your ideal client in mind and you have the idea for that amazing lead magnet that will draw them in, how can you create it?

If it is a simple document, such as a pdf, you might want to create it in Word or Canva. If it’s an audio file, then free open-source software such as Audacity might do the trick.

There’s an abundance of free software on the internet. And YouTube can be a great place to search for tutorials when you want to do something new or learn a new skill.

Alternatively, you can hire a freelancer. For example, a Virtual Assistant can help you create the lead magnet and automated delivery system. And a designer can make sure the lead magnet looks polished and professional.

Once you have your lead magnet ready you can set up your automated delivery system. Websites such as MailChimp, Mailerlite or Convertkit are a good place to start because the data being collected can be stored safely within them. You can create a landing page where the customer inputs their details. Then you attach the file to be sent to them automatically in an email. In return, the new client details are added to your database.

Assuming they’ve given permission to be contacted in the future you can then start to build your relationship further through a series of emails or newsletters. What do you mean ‘assuming they have given permission?’, I hear you say! ‘Surely if they want the lead magnet they have to give me their email address and I can send them other information then?’ Well, actually no!

Making Sure You’re GDPR Compliant

In the EU the General Data Protection Regulation outlines the way in which personal data can be used. By choosing to hold data on someone be aware that you become a data controller and Mailchimp would be the data processor.

When deciding what data to ask for in return for providing the Lead magnet only request what you absolutely need. If you’re going to use the data to send a newsletter each month, do you really need a date of birth and telephone number?

Here are some other key things to think about when holding data:

– If you’re signing up someone to a list you need to be absolutely clear that is what you’re doing and what they’ll receive from you in the future.

– Only take the data that you need and only keep it for as long as you need it.

– Data should only be used for the purpose that was agreed upon at the time that you took the data. So, if someone only signed up to receive a newsletter they should not then get sales emails.

– Make sure that the tick box for subscribing to future communication is unticked by default and you must not make them tick to get the lead magnet. This often shocks many people but to remain GDPR compliant, these are the rules. You CANNOT force people to give permission to use their data in return for providing the lead magnet. If you’re using a site such as Mailchimp this will still collect their email address as it is needed to send the lead magnet, but you must not send any further communication.

– If you’re holding or using customer data you need to make sure that you are registered with the Information Commissioner’s Office. If you’re not sure if you need to register with the ICO here is a link to the self-assessment so that you can check:


What Are You Waiting For?

Over time you might choose to create differing lead magnets to draw in different clients or customers. If you introduce a new product or service then this can be a great opportunity to attract new people into your funnel.

So, what are you waiting for? Now that you know what a lead magnet is, why you need one and how to go about creating one, get started!

It could be the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

This article was written by our brilliant friend Sam Roblett from Chaos Into Calm.

Chaos Into Calm provides a professional Virtual Assistant service to sole traders, solopreneurs and small businesses, specialising in Vegan, Plant-based and Ethical Businesses.

February 1, 2021

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