Lead magnets - often called content offers - are something we've all seen. From free eBooks, to templates, to other gated content that's offered alongside blog articles, they've become a standard part of social media marketing. If a website visitor clicks and gives you their email address, they become a lead, and you have the opportunity to move to more personal email conversations.
The issue is, with the sea of content that's out there, there's also a sea of content offers. So how do you make yours stand out?
And if that problem weren't hard enough, you also need to do more than just get the click. You want that content offer to resonate, you want that lead to see your expertise, and the value you offer so that they'll want to come back for more - either more content, or for a conversation in email, or for a meeting.
Good lead magnets have to draw visitors in and get that click, entice them to download, then sell them on your value while helping them solve their problems. It's not easy.
In this post, we'll break down how we design lead magnets that win clicks and influence customers.
Barry Feldman recently wrote and article in which he covered some good fundamentals about lead magnets, and provided some great examples of lead magnets that compel action.
To summarize Barry's list, lead magnets should:
- Be specific - Be absolutely clear what people are going to get, and, to take it a step further, what problem the lead magnet helps solve.
- Provide results - Tell them how you're going to solve the problem and what result they will see.
- Provide instant gratification - When prospects consume the content, they should be able to use the information immediately to solve the problem.
- Build authority - The quality of what your offering and the information included should be valuable to your audience and, therefore, improve your brand's standing as a strong resource and thought leader.
- Provide value - By addressing issues and helping solve problems. As Barry stated, it should be something people would be willing to pay for. More on that later.
To drive more clicks and conversions, we focus a lot of time on the results and value pieces of the equation. That's what we're going to talk about in this post.
You Have to Know Your Buyer's Journey
To provide the best value, you have to have a detailed understanding of your prospects buyer's journey.
Content, as well as the lead magnets near the content, should be specific to each stage of your buyer's journey. For a better understanding of this, see this article by Rochana Rapkins on 6 Different Types of Buyer Journey Maps, and see our article How to Create the Right Content for each Stage of your Inbound Sales Funnel.
Content Near Lead Magnet Calls to Action Is Key
Lead magnets are included near, or are embedded in some form within, your content. They might be call-to-action buttons on your website.
They might be calls-to-action on your blog.
They might be links in an email message that's part of a longer, ongoing nurturing stream conversation a salesperson is having with a lead, trying to turn them into an opportunity.
The key point here is that the right content offers need to be associated with the right content.
If you're doing your inbound marketing job well, you've defined the stages of your buyer's journey and are creating content specific to each stage. Make sure that you're identifying which stage each of your lead magnets applies to as well so that marketers and salespeople can include the right offers with the right content (see this article from Hubspot on customizing content for each stage of the buyer's journey).
Winning Clicks and Influencing Customers
We know that lead magnets have two jobs - they have to compel visitors to click and download them, and then they have to provide real value to move leads down the funnel and keep them coming back. We also know that lead magnets should be customized for each stage of the buyer's journey.
Let's look at some examples of what lead magnets might look like during each stage of the buyer's journey:
- Awareness stage (top of the funnel) - Remember, at this stage, people are looking for answers and seeking education and insight. You should be educating them and positioning your brand as both a useful resource for content and as a thought leader. A retail product might provide a checklist - for example, a generator manufacturer might offer a listing of key features that generators should have for use with RVs, at worksites, and during power outages. This eBook is likely broadly promoted on websites, blogs, and through social media and search advertising.
- Consideration stage (middle of the funnel) - At this stage prospects understand their problems and opportunities, and they're researching solutions that will help them best solve those problems or realize those opportunities. You need to both showcase your products and services, and differentiate them - and make yourself stand above the competition. You also want to guide those prospects that are the best fit for your business further down your funnel. At this stage, the generator manufacturer might produce a whitepaper detailing the capabilities, and features of its generators showcasing how they're designed to be used in specific scenarios. This type of lead magnet may be included alongside content or might be sent in an email message to leads that have already opted into a previous offer.
- Decision stage (bottom of the funnel) - At this stage prospects are looking for the reason to buy, they need something, internal or external, that will compel that action. For this element, the generator manufacturer might offer a coupon, free add-ons, free setup, or some other offer to nudge prospective buyers into action. Again, this offer likely comes in an email to leads that are already considered to be at the middle or bottom of the funnel.
- Awareness stage - A software vendor that sells proposal creation software might produce an eBook which explains how the standard back and forth of writing proposals without using such a tool wastes time and may result in unnecessary churn for every proposal created, and delivery of rushed or unrefined proposals that may lose business.
- Consideration stage - The proposal software vendor may run webinars regularly that allow prospects to see the software in action, and that show how common issues in proposal creation and collaboration are addressed by the software. It's important to note the interactive nature of this activity. While the webinar is likely to be mostly a canned presentation and demonstration, the webinar format gives the software vendor a great opportunity to have salespeople interact in real time with prospective buyers, and follow up with those buyers after the fact to answer questions, provide clarifications and continue productive contact.
- Decision stage - To nudge leads into becoming buyers, the proposal software vendor may offer a free trial of their software, or, as some software vendors frequently do, offering a 'forever free' version of software with minimal functionality to warm users up to using a paid version.
- Awareness stage - An IT consultancy that provides security hardware, software, and consulting for intrusion protection and prevention may also use an eBook in the awareness stage. In the technology sector, one of our favorite types of eBooks is a 'Notes from the Field' eBook. This kind of eBook would showcase a variety of real examples of the types of threats that exist, the impact of network attacks, and the steps needed to secure networks from future issues.
- Consideration stage - The IT security consultancy might publish an Expert Guide on Detecting Network Intrusion. The guide showcases the company's knowledge and expertise and conveys the complexity of the services they provide. At this stage, leads are often doing intense research and looking for in-depth knowledge, which is what this lead magnet provides.
- Awareness stage - The IT security consultancy might offer a free evaluation of a prospective buyers network. It's important to note that, with this type of offer, you should clearly state what prospects will and will not get. In this case, the IT security consultancy might make it clear that a security engineer will spend two hours with the client and provide a range of options that may be a good fit, while a sales associate will provide estimated pricing.
Make Sure Lead Magnets Offer Real Value
As Barry Feldman notes in his post, lead magnets "should be valuable to the point where people would pay for it if asked."
I agree - I even like to take it a step further, since everyone wants to know time and numbers. For the majority of our clients, we believe a good lead magnet should be worth 1-2 weeks of paid consulting time, or $3,000 to $7,000. Obviously, there are a lot of variables in there, but we find most of our clients wind up in that range.
How do you justify this, especially if you need one lead magnet for each stage?
What's your average sale? What will you make if one client becomes a customer based on a lead magnet? What will you make if two clients become customers? When we run those numbers, we often see closed business generating two or three times the revenue versus the cost of producing three lead magnets (one for each stage).
For example, if that IT security consultancy creates three lead magnets for the cost of $21,000, and wins a year-long retainer from a single client at $5,000 a month, that's $60,000 in revenue of the client in the first year, or 300% return on investment. That's one client, and it doesn't account for continued revenue for the lifetime of that client relationship.
Great lead magnets help your products and services stand out. There's no secret sauce here - you have to put in the time and effort to understand what your target audience is looking for, their pain points, and what opportunities they're seeking, and how they progress through their buying journey. Once you understand this, you can then create lead magnets that compel them to click and convert them to customers.