You’ve probably heard this before—but it’s worth repeating: an Email list is the single most crucial part of any business or brand. And a lead magnet is arguably the best way to build your list.
I can’t tell you the number of small business owners and independent professionals I’ve heard (or spoken with personally) who mentioned how much they wish they had begun building their list way sooner than they did (I’m one of them).
Fortunately, it’s never too late begin, and one of the best ways to do so is to create what many refer to as a “lead magnet.”
What Is a ‘Lead Magnet?’
In brief, it’s something short (but of real, tangible value) that you offer to visitors of your site in exchange for an Email address.
This isn’t a “bait and switch,” mind you. The goal is never to gather Email addresses to “spam” people later, instead to open the door to a long and lasting relationship of delivering upon your brand’s promise over and again. In other words: creating a lasting impact on your target customers.
The topic of what to do with the subscribers you already have, however, is worthy of an article all on its own. In this article, I’ll focus on tactical ways (and examples) to capture Email addresses along with some useful tools for how to accomplish the same.
Examples of Effective Lead Magnets
As I touched on previously, the lead magnet concept is widespread for one pretty simple reason: it works. The practice also happens to be an excellent way to quickly provide value to those who fit within your niche or market.
Here’s a little collection of lead magnets that have proven effective results:
Notable Themes: Free Toolbox PDF
Likely the most common and practical lead magnets is a free PDF that includes a checklist, tools, resources, quotes, or other useful information to which a visitor may wish to refer back to regularly.
Michael Hyatt: Recipe for a Productive Day PDF
This simple, clean, and well-designed PDF helps users accomplish a specific goal—quickly.
Jeff Walker: The Secrets of the World’s Most Successful Internet Marketers PDF
Jeff Walker’s free PDF includes a roundup of ideas from successful internet marketers around the globe.
Ray Edwards: The Wisdom Enterprise Course
A PDF isn’t a requirement when it comes to creating a useful lead magnet. Ray Edwards, for example, offers an entire course for those visiting his site.
Grant Baldwin: Free Training for Speakers
Similar to Ray Edwards, Grant Baldwin offers training for speakers on his site The Speaker Lab.
Platform University: Weekly Updates
Depending upon the type of content you create, an actual “lead magnet” isn’t necessary at all. Merely providing a place where readers can sign-up to get your latest posts, podcasts, videos, or content is an excellent incentive in itself.
VideoFruit: Learn How Gain Email Subscribers
What better medium could one use to teach growing an Email list than . . . Email? That’s precisely what Bryan Harris over at VideoFruit does to show how he’s built his Email list.
Notable Themes: Find Your Theme (Free Tool)
It’s not always necessary to offer an actual “thing” in exchange for an Email address. Sometimes, providing a free tool or resource to help a visitor accomplish a specific task can be even more effective. For example, this simple but effective tool help walk visitors through the process of finding the perfect WordPress theme for their particular market.
Ideas for What to Offer as a Lead Magnet
The previous section offers you some pretty good ideas for what to offer as a lead magnet, but I’ll go ahead a create a simple list here.
Keep in mind: it’s not necessary that you only have one lead magnet on your site. In many cases, it’s helpful to have numerous types of offers throughout your site in strategic locations. If you don’t have one yet, however, one is a good place to start. 🙂
- PDF: Compile a collection of Emails, blog posts, articles, and other “starter” material to help your audience get up and running quickly.
- Video: This is not only an excellent method for teaching your core material, but it also allows your visitors to see (and hear) you. When it comes to trustworthiness and authenticity, this is a great medium for establishing both.
- Course: While this may take a pretty significant amount of time and resources to produce, this medium works great for teaching services and philosophies that are not easily conveyed in shorter mediums.
- Ebook: For those ideas that are best communicated in written form—Ebooks are a great fit. Better yet, offer them in Epub and other Ebook formats to make it even easier for readers to consume. That’s exactly what I did for my free Ebook, Book Covers That Sell which is available on this page.
- Tool: Offering a free tool, trial, or sample of a larger product you offer is yet another great way to get someone in the door to the larger house of useful resources you offer.
- Emails: Sending out a series of automated “drip” Emails—each packed with useful information is an excellent way to warm your new subscribers to your message. Just ensure your Emails are super-valuable however, otherwise, you’re likely to have them tossed out as soon as someone subscribes. Tip: ConvertKit makes the creation of “drip” Email campaigns ridiculously simple.
Useful Tools for Creating Your Lead Magnets
This is where the rubber meets the road. It used to be, if you wanted to create a fantastic lead magnet, you needed to be an expert developer. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case.
Here are a few handy tools you can start using today to begin boosting your list-building efforts:
Exit Offer: Display Your Lead Magnet to Users About to Leave Your Site
For most sites, users visit one page and then exit nearly immediately. This is what we like to call a “bounce.” Not attempting to capture these users’ Email address (without annoying them) is a wasted opportunity.
Exit Offer helps you do precisely this (along with a whole host of other list-building things) in a beautifully-designed, easy-to-setup manner.
ConvertKit: Create Powerful Email Automations while Tagging and Managing Your Subscribers
I’ve tested a pretty wide assortment of Email marketing services and have to say: ConvertKit is the best I’ve ever found.
The best thing I could recommend is to try it out for yourself. You can get a free 30-day trial, here.
When it comes to building an Email list, the best advice I could give is this: it’s never too late to start. Even if you don’t have a lead magnet or incentive on your site—the best time to start is now.
Question: What tools and techniques have you found to boost your list-building efforts? Have you come across any creative examples not mentioned in this article? Feel free to share them in the comments—we would love to hear from you!