Lead Magnets That Deliver: A Quick Guide To Growing Your Email List With Content


Email marketing is an undeniably powerful marketing tool. Studies show that “email is the third most influential source of information for B2B audiences, behind only colleague recommendations and industry-specific thought leaders,” according to Wordstream.com. In the B2C world, ”Consumers who purchase products through email spend 138% more than those that don’t receive email offers.” Wordstream reports that 77% of people prefer to get permission-based promotional messages via email (versus direct mail, text, phone, or social media). Connecting with your audience through email is preferable and effective. You cannot deny it.

The reason it is so effective is because people have given you permission to market to them, which is unheard of in any other marketing channel. Most marketing comes to you in the form of advertising; online, television, print or outdoor advertising, and you have no control over when or where the ads are served. The media channels choose that.

Email marketing is different because people have signed up to hear from you. They have entrusted you with their email address which is one of the highest forms of trust today. Sharing an email address says, “I trust you to give me information I need, and that you won’t pester me by contacting me too often or with news I don’t care about.”

The best thing about email marketing (or permission-based marketing) is that the customer is in control of the relationship. The customer can decide when to stop receiving your emails - they can break up with you if you don’t serve them well. They are in the driver’s seat, but they are also qualified, highly interested in what you are doing and very likely to listen to what you are saying. Think about how your business would dramatically change if you had 5,000 or more subscribers attentively listening to your every word. You’d be unstoppable.

But what if you don’t have a large email list or what if your list is not chock-full of engaged, ready-to-buy subscribers? How do you get people to sign up?

You ask people to “trade.” The item you trade for an email address is a bit of content called a lead magnet or an opt-in magnet, which can take many forms. It’s usually a digital file; it can be an ebook, checklist, guide, report, resource list, or even access to a quick video training course.

When a prospect clicks to download the lead magnet, they have to enter in an email address in exchange. It's a reciprocal agreement; they're getting something of value and you're getting something of value. So this even trade kicks off a relationship based on mutual trust.

One of the most common forms of lead magnets is an ebook. Ebooks are inexpensive to create because there is no physical production involved. All it takes is some time, energy and a bit of brain power to pull one together.

Ebooks don't have to be a monumental project. They could be a mini-ebook, a two or three-page pamphlet. As long as it is valuable to your viewers and visitors, it will make a great lead magnet.

If your ebook is not based on current news or events it will have a longer shelf life so it is best to focus on content that is “evergreen”. You can offer a single ebook for an extended period or create variety by rotating through multiple ebooks as you continue to develop more. Before you know it, you will have a valuable library of evergreen email list-growing content.

You don't necessarily have to produce original content specifically for your opt-in magnet. Think about how you can repurpose other content of yours and deliver it in a way that is helpful for your potential customers. If you have videos or podcasts piling up, transcribe them into written form and offer that as an opt-in magnet (rev.com is a terrific transcription service, as are descript.com and temi.com. YouTube offers a free transcription service for videos on its site). Even if the viewer has seen the video or heard the podcast you’ve transcribed, offering it up in a different form may be of true value to them.

If you write blog posts or articles you can offer those in a different format, expand on them, or bundle them together as an ebook for your lead magnet. Prospects may not have come across your writing where you originally posted it, so offering it in another format will expose them to that information and provide value that they wouldn't have otherwise received.

You can also include additional promotional information about your products or services in your lead magnets. An incentive to buy sooner, offering add-on services, or free shipping offers can be very effective in a lead magnet.

Key Elements of a Lead Magnet

Title Tells All

The title must be really enticing, motivating viewers to have to know more. Spend some time researching which titles tend to be successful in your industry and try to create something that will draw people's attention.

Present Your Best

After you’ve piqued their curiosity, you have to deliver the goods. Make sure that you're not disappointing your readers. Remember, they are giving you their email address, so you want to make sure you're delivering top-notch information to them.

To ensure you are delivering the best, make sure that your piece has:

●       A design that reflects your brand

●       High technical quality

●       High factual quality

●       Good structure, flow and is well-written, in your brand voice

●       A call-to-action, it can be subtle, but it should be in there

Hire a copywriter to help you write or refine your piece, or if you can’t afford that, enlist an editor to make sure your work is free of grammatical and spelling errors. At a minimum, run it through free grammar and spelling checking software like Grammarly or Hemmingway.

Be A Trusted Resource

Deliver value early in the piece and you will get the attention you deserve. Starting with a strong assertion makes people take notice. Don't spend 5 or 10 pages leading up to the “big idea.” Give them value early.

Promoting your Lead Magnet

One of the best ways to promote your lead magnet is on social media. Include links and teasers in your Twitter and Facebook and Instagram posts. Use Bitly or TinyURL to create a nondescript link to your downloadable content. It’s a great idea to put links in your email signature and rotate the magnet you’re offering, so virtually every person that you send an email to gets access to a piece of valuable content.

You can also promote your lead magnet through a pop-up on your website. Everyone hates pop-ups, (I hate pop-ups too) but they work really, really well. About 75% of my email sign-ups come through the pop-up on my website. You really can’t argue with that kind of efficacy.  

Lastly, ask people to help you promote your opt-in. Ask people to share the link to your content - you’ll find that people want to help and if they do, you should do the same for them. Use this opportunity to create a great network of content-sharing professionals.

Once you get started with leveraging lead magnets, you‘ll see how easy it is to attract qualified, interested leads to your email list. You’ll be delivering great value to your audience, which is a solid start to the relationship. As long as you respect their time and attention, you are fostering a mutually beneficial partnership that will build your business and cultivate a tribe of brand devotees.