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Business owners just dipping their toes into the streams of digital marketing will have come across the term ‘Lead Magnet’. It turns up in just about every “How to…” guide Google throws at you. If you’re looking to market your business online, whether it’s a website, blog, or retail outlet you need to set up a lead magnet. 

To be fair, it’s good advice. An effective lead magnet is hard to beat, and it can help you expand your customer base and advance your brand so you can reach a larger section of the market. Of course if you don’t know what a lead magnet is, and if you’ve never set one up before, the whole thing can sound more than a little bit daunting. 

But there’s no reason to be wary of lead magnets. Once you know what they are, and how they work, they’re really a fairly simple marketing technique. So, let’s take a quick look at lead magnets, what they are, and how to effectively put them to work for your business.

What Exactly is a Lead Magnet? 

The term ‘lead magnet’ sounds fairly smart and modern, but it’s actually an idea that’s been around for a long time. At its most basic, a lead magnet is a freebie that you use to get the public’s attention and, ultimately, their contact information and future business. 

Call them loss leaders, premiums, give-a-ways or incentives. In the final analysis it’s the same thing. A lead magnet is really nothing more than the free turkeys they give away at supermarket openings to entice customers into the shop where, hopefully, they will become loyal patrons. The only real difference is today’s lead magnet is a digital artifact and the supermarket is your website.

What Makes Lead Magnets So Valuable? 

The main purpose of a lead magnet is to generate a database of e-mail contacts that can be used in the future to open a dialog with potential customers so you can promote your products and services. You offer something of value to your website’s visitors, and in exchange they provide you with their personal contact information. 

In the world of digital marketing, this is absolute gold. E-mail consistently out performs other forms of digital marketing, and it’s been shown to be 40% more effective at converting new customers than social media. Moreover, every $1 spent on e-mail marketing delivers an ROI of between $38 and $44. Those are statistics that are, frankly, hard to ignore. 

In a way, a lead magnet might be considered a kind of simple social contract. You have given your patrons something of value, and they now have a personal interest in you, your website, and your products. That interest can be turned into brand recognition, customer loyalty, and a steady uptick in conversion rates

When used properly, a lead magnet will help you generate warm leads that can then be turned into hot sales. 

What are Some Examples of Lead Magnets? 

Sprout Funding logoOne of the most attractive aspects of setting up a lead magnet is that it typically doesn’t take too much of a financial investment upfront. Your ‘freebie’ doesn’t necessarily have to cost a lot to give you the results you’re after. It does, however, need to be something that your potential customers will find valuable. 

Some common examples of lead magnet premiums would include: 

  • E-Books – A simple self help guide or DIY article delivered free to someone’s inbox gives clear value to the patron, and establishes a connection between your website and a potential paying customer.
  • Guides and Cheat Sheets – Something as simple a free PDF containing tips and life hacks on a suitable topic can be a great incentive for visitors to your website.
  • Coupons – If you’re trying to drive sales on an ecommerce site, coupons are a great way to engage with new customers. In exchange for their contact info they receive a coupon to be used on their first purchase. The customer may not use it right away, but when they need a product that you offer your brand will be uppermost in their mind when they decide to commit to a purchase.
  • Free Shipping – This is another good choice for ecommerce sites. Offering free shipping (typically with a grace period to encourage more immediate sales) gives the website’s visitor something of value that they can use right away. It also gives you a chance to win over new customers with your stellar service.
  • Contests – Quizzes and contests are a good fit for bloggers. They help you to engage with potential followers while collecting contact information on the game’s participants.
  • Webinars – If you are an expert in your field, offering a free webinar (either live or as a download) can help you build your e-mail database and engage with potential new clients. An impressive webinar also helps you to build brand awareness and trust within your industry, two factors that will help you grow your business and reach more customers.
  • Podcasts – Like webinars, podcasts are a good way to establish and promote your expertise in a given field. Offering a free sample podcast can help you build interest in your core website while encouraging new subscribers and ultimately making your productions more valuable to outside advertisers.

Value is the key when choosing the focus of your lead magnet. Whether you’re offering a PDF guide to the restaurants of Venice or a sample podcast on the latest in tax reform the product you offer must give value to the recipient. 

When choosing a freebie for your lead magnet ask your self these important questions: 

  • Is this something my target audience will care about?
  • Does my offer provide obvious value to the customer?
  • Does it solve a problem or answer an important question?
  • Does it provide something the customer needs or that they will enjoy?

Remember, no one is going to part with their coveted personal information in exchange for something that they perceive as being cheap or valueless. Your lead magnet must offer something that your target audience will find enticing and rewarding.

Lead Magnets Should be a Key Component in Your Digital Marketing Strategy 

If your goal is to do more than simply increase traffic to your website you need to think about creative ways to engage with your site’s visitors and keep them coming back for more. Whether you’re promoting original content or selling exclusive merchandise, the key to success is repeat visitors to your site who are primed and ready to enter and complete the sales funnel. 

Lead magnets are one of the best, and most cost efficient, ways to do just that. While they can take some time to develop, lead magnets are surprisingly easy to create and implement. Properly utilized lead magnets can help you connect with your core customer base, generate new and more valuable leads, and turn those fresh leads into the loyal patrons your enterprise needs to succeed.

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