magnet drawing people towards it

What is a lead magnet?

As I am starting my own mailing list from January, I thought I would give you all a basic introduction to the role of a ‘lead magnet’. A lead magnet is essentially something to entice people to buy from you, and is often associated with an ‘offering’ that you give in return for someone subscribing to your mailing list. It’s all about ‘attracting’ new leads. Hence ‘lead magnet’.

There are many different approaches and style of lead magnet, but below I have offered the pros and cons of 5 different options for you to consider for your own mailing list subscription.

An ebook or publication download

A very common lead magnet is some kind of downloadable written resource. Once the subscriber agrees and confirms they want to be on your mailing list, with all of the GDPR/Data Protection rules followed (do check these!), in return they receive a special e-book or other form of downloadable publication. The content of which should be useful and exclusive.

These can be time-consuming to create and you have to think carefully about something which will have broad appeal if you are offering the same thing to all subscribers.

Whilst the content within may be extremely valuable, I think we can all relate to receiving an ebook or short publication of some kind…and then never actually reading it! Furthermore, the offer of an ebook or guide, may not be much of an enticement to a potential subscriber. Therefore, you may have to work harder to illustrate the ‘worth’ of the ebook and ensure the messaging is strong and clear about the value of simply being on your mailing list in its own right.

Access to an exclusive tool

For many potential subscribers, gaining access to something they can ‘use’ may be more appealing. This could be something like a quiz or a short video which teaches them something – like a mini course. It may be a useful template, calendar or document which they can then adapt or use in their own business or personally.

A lead magnet which can be classed as useful will be very attractive. The problem again comes with ensuring that it is something that will have broad appeal across your target market and is truly a useful and adaptable tool depending on your clients/subscribers’ needs.

This type of lead magnet certainly works well for B2B.

Free product or service

This is a high value lead magnet, but you may consider it worthwhile – after all an email address is an important piece of personal information. Furthermore, you are being invited in to a potential client’s inbox – the ability to directly message them too – so it can be worth it.

The actual value of the product or service you offer is up to you, however, I would advise that if you do offer something for free make sure that you have priced up what you can afford to giveaway and have a clear strategy for how you are going to capitalise on every subscriber you gain. For example, you may offer a free product but ask for feedback in return. Ensuring this further follow up will give you a useful insight and open up further conversations with potential leads.

Special discount

This type of lead magnet is very common for retailers and product-based businesses. As a thank you for signing up to a mailing list, you can offer a small discount on your subscriber’s next purchase, via a discount code, for example.

If you have an e-commerce site, this can work incredibly well, but do ensure you have the functionality to ensure it is not abused (i.e. one time use and linked with a certain email). Furthermore, have clear terms and conditions, such as a minimum spend and not on sale items, for example.

As above, with offering something for free as a lead magnet, make sure you have clearly priced out offering these discounts and in what quantity, It may be something you can only afford to do short term, which is fine.

Competition entry

Finally, you can offer entry in to a competition as your lead magnet to subscribers. This allows you to offer a real ‘high ticket item’ – like one of your most expensive products or services, but decreases the risk, as you can choose exactly how many to giveaway. This works well for launching a mailing list or for a special seasonal promotion, as you will need to decide on a ‘deadline’ and then choose your winner. Make sure you also make the most of the launch and the ‘hype’ around the draw. Whoever is your winner, make the most of them too(!) especially if they are happy to share their win on social media, provide a testimonial or some other form of support.

Use a lead magnet that works hard for your mailing list

The last thing to remember is that any of the above can be used in combination, as well as using a different one at different times of year, depending on your campaign or marketing needs. If you are interested in creating an ebook, quiz, template or some other form of written lead magnet and would like my support, do get in touch and let’s discuss some ideas. Email:

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