Admit it. How many times did you leave a website because of a screaming pop-up, offering something for free?
Yes, I’m talking about lead magnets. They can be really annoying.
However, if done right, they can be a huge win-win for both, site owners and visitors.
Let’s find out what’s the catch.
Lead magnets proved themselves throughout the years to be rather effective in building trust, funnelling the right target audience and most importantly, filling up your database with the contacts of your potential customers and transforming prospects into customers.
What exactly are lead magnets? The most common definition circling around says that lead magnet is „an irresistible and ethical bribe offering a specific chunk of value to a prospect in exchange for their contact information“.
That definition may seem kinda informal but it actually hits all the important points. Your lead magnet should be something that is very hard to say no to (after all, you’re giving it away for free), that solves a specific problem your target audience may have and brings enough value for a potential prospect to exchange his contact information for it.
To simplify this guide, I divided the lead magnet creation process into several questions. Every answer will cover one important step of that process. Answers will be backed up with an example from one of my own lead magnet creation experiences where appropriate.
How to decide on a topic?
First thing on your list should be deciding what area will your lead magnet cover. To successfully pass this obstacle you should first try to answer the questions bellow.
Whatever subject you decide to proceed with, always have in mind that your lead magnet needs to bring some value to your potential customers. Focus on covering a specific area by giving a solution for a specific problem.
In my case, picking out a topic wasn’t really that hard. First, I decided there were 2 requirements that my lead magnet topic should fulfil. Since we recently went trough a rebranding, the topic should revolve around one of the services we offer. Second requirement was that this it had to be something that I have some experience working with.
I came up with a few subjects that satisfied those requirements and after some brainstorming, we decided on a topic called: „10 Guest Post Pitch Templates That Are Proven To Work“.
How to name a lead magnet?
You may question if this topic deserves its own section but let’s try to remove your doubts. Think about how many times you decided on buying something just because of its packaging. You had no way to check the quality of the product inside so your decision was greatly affected by the looks of that product.
Same thing applies here. The title, along with the design that surrounds it, is the main point on which the prospect will base his decision on. Follow these tips:
- Head-on and descriptive
The Expert Guide to Content Marketing
The Complete Guide to Creating Your Lead Magnets
- Mention the desired end result
More Productivity By Working Less
How to Win Friends and Influence People
- Minimalistic approach to entice curiosity
The 4-Hour Workweek
You Were Right the Whole Time – The Number of Likes Really Isn’t Everything
- Mention a shocking number or statement
How I Gained 20 Lbs of Muscle in 20 Weeks – With This Shocking Superfood
How to Make $200k A Year Playing Computer Games
How to choose the right lead magnet type?
There are tons of different lead magnet types out there. Here is the list of the more common ones since you will most likely end up using one of them (similar types are grouped together).
Software download/Free trial
The crucial role in choosing the right lead magnet type plays the subject you decide to cover. Let the content push the design. Choose the type that makes the most sense. If you read the description of the above-selected types you should already have a general idea where your chosen subject fits best.
Don’t forget that your lead magnet is something that the potential client should be able to use right away.
The one exemption from that rule are webinars and video courses where you deliver a solution in bits over several weeks. Every part of that series should bring something new and useful to the table, otherwise, you are risking losing some prospects along the way. Be sure to plan out your schedule in advance since they require more effort to make than almost any other lead magnet type.
The lead magnet I’ll use in this post as a sample includes templates with tips and warnings on how to write a great guest post pitch along with some useful general info. If I had to put a label on it I’d probably call it a guide. It juts goes to show you that you don’t necessarily need to follow set types.
Which tools to use to create content for a lead magnet?
As you may have guessed already, this is highly dependent on the chosen lead magnet type.
If you are making any written content, MS Word or any other advanced text editor is your best weapon of choice. It will allow you great text formatting, you can include some pictures and screenshots and you can convert it to pdf when you’re done. If you want to create something a little more visually appealing you can also go with MS Powerpoint that has all the same benefits.
If you have more time on your hands and some experience with graphic design, you may want to go with tools like Photoshop or Illustrator. They will allow you to create great looking content. Just don’t forget that the quality of that content is still on point and doesn’t suffer because of any design related limitations.
Since graphic design is one of my passions I ended up using Illustrator. When doing something like this, I always like to have a theme to go about (in the case of the sample lead magnet, it was a chalkboard). It gives a different flare to your work and helps to visually uplift the content that would otherwise be a wall of bland text.
It could have easily been done in some text editor, though. If you decide to go this route, just be sure your content is nicely formatted, clean and readable. It doesn’t have to look spectacular but it has to be useful and easy to use.
Where to get all the necessary information?
This is potentially the easiest step to do. You are most likely creating a lead magnet that covers a problem in your niche. That should mean you have some experience with solving that problem. If you aren’t new at your job, I’d guess you already have enough knowledge to construct a decent lead magnet content with almost no research required.
If that isn’t the case, well, as always, Google is your friend. Doing some research beforehand is a great way to check up on different views and approaches for handling a specific problem. When you know very little about a subject, be sure that your sources are reliable. Not everything you find on the internet is true. 🙂
One of the best tips I can give you based on my experience with lead magnet creation is to value the input of your colleagues. Especially when they have more experience than you. Make a draft. Pass it around the office. Receive constructive criticism. Improve upon initial work. Repeat one or more times. End up with a high-quality lead magnet. It’s that simple. Or maybe I just have great coworkers. I’m not sure. Test it. Let me know.
How should the content of a lead magnet look like?
The answer to this question also depends on the type of the lead magnet you chose to develop. As a general advice, the content you offer in your lead magnets should be easy to follow and put into practice.
Format your documents properly. Main page, introduction, content, conclusion. Include header and footer when appropriate. If it is over, let’s say 10 pages, throw in a table of contents. This kind of outline leaves a sense of professionalism and actually makes things easier when you’re creating the content in the first place.
Besides some general advice, it’s hard to be more specific here since lead magnets cover such a wide variety of types.
As a sidenote, I like to throw a logo and/or URL in the header or the footer of the document. It serves as a little reminder on who created that awesome content.
In the picture bellow, you can see the example of proper document formatting. Every „slide“ ended up as one pdf page.
Is there anything else that needs to be done before activating/sharing a lead magnet?
Like I would ask this question if there isn’t anything left to discuss here. So far I covered how to create the content for your lead magnet and we need to see how to follow it up with an appropriate design. This step is equally important as the quality of everything you did up to this point.
Before you start offering your lead magnet all over the place, think about the presentation of that offer. Your lead magnet may contain the most groundbreaking solutions ever made but if you offer it in a FB post with a wall of text it’s not going to catch the desired attention.
The reason is kinda obvious. The first contact is all about the visual attraction. Remember the definition – „an irresistible bribe…“. To improve the presentation of your offer you have so-called lead generation options at your disposal. The most common ones are landing pages, slide-in boxes,pop-ups, call to action (CTA) banners and maybe some graphics to accompany your offer if you end up sharing it on social networks.
How to create a visually outstanding offer?
Let’s focus on landing pages a bit. When creating your landing page there is a lot of small things that can make a difference but I’ll try to concentrate only on the most important ones.
Your best bet is to follow the principle of the minimalistic design. You don’t want anything on the page that will divert the attention from your offer.
Find a good background image or texture, followed by a graphic that will catch attention (like the book cover in the picture below). The visual impression of your lead magnet can make or break its success. Remember that the prospects will base their decision solely on this visual representation of your work.
Avoid creating the website navigation you usually have on your site but don’t forget to include a link that leads back to your homepage.
From there, you need to put all your efforts into constructing a message that will encourage people to try out your offer. Be sure that your text is in good contrast with the background so it isn’t hard to read. Play with fonts and colors until you get something you’re satisfied with.
If you’re struggling with your design then this list of resources could make a big difference in your designing efforts.
Always include a reason why they shouldn’t miss your offer. The fear of missing a good opportunity is almost always a stronger motivator than the benefits people can get if they take the opportunity. Use a few short points to describe the value that your content brings to the table or place some testimonials from satisfied users.
Make sure your landing page is responsive and fast. Mobile traffic is starting to surpass desktop traffic and you don’t want to lose your prospects because you didn’t optimize your page.
Last but not least, make sure your CTA button stands out.
Everything I mentioned here related to the landing page design translates to designing pop-ups. The main difference is that you should get rid of some elements and text because the pop-up is a lot smaller in size than a landing page. For example, see the picture below.
What are some of the best ways to promote a lead magnet?
If you created just mentioned pop-ups and a landing page then half of your job is done. Pop-ups are a great way to present your lead magnet offer to someone browsing trough your page and a landing page plays a crucial part in most of your other promotion efforts (for example, when you drive traffic with paid ads).
The only thing left is to bring your offer in front of the right eyes.
How to actually target a specific audience is a subject that can be an article for itself so I’m going to focus here only on places most suitable for sharing your lead magnets.
Facebook can be a great tool for promoting your lead magnets. One thing you can do it is to share it in groups that are related to the content of your lead magnet.
Although direct promotion of your lead magnets through Facebook Groups might not be the best idea (it’s considered as advertising), some of the groups on Facebook have dedicated days when sharing free promotional content is allowed (for example freebie Friday) and this can be a great way to present your offer without looking too pushy. Just throw them a link to your landing page.
Another great idea related to Facebook Groups would be monitoring conversations and leaving a helpful comment with a link to your landing page when appropriate.
If you run a blog on your site, it is a great way to offer your lead magnet whenever you cover some related subjects. If you were reading carefully so far then you have already seen an example. J
Other decent ways to promote your lead magnet is to use it as an answer material on different forums. Find relevant forums from your niche and look for questions that can benefit from the material you covered in your lead magnet. And again, throw them a link to your landing page.
You can do the same thing with Quora. Find a right question and offer your solution. Here you probably want to give a short version of your answer first and let them expand their knowledge by going to your landing page and downloading your lead magnet.
In both of those cases make sure you’re only reacting to relevant questions. Nobody likes spammers!
While doing research for this post, I came across one more interesting way to push your lead magnet with and it’s trough LinkedIn Pulse post. We didn’t try this approach yet but if you find it interesting you should probably first check out this guide from HubSpot on How to Publish on LinkedIn Pulse: A Beginner’s Guide.
Don’t forget on your existing e-mail list. The primary function of a lead magnet can be only to expand your contact list but your end goal should be to convert a prospect into a client. Maybe your lead magnet brings back some old customers. Cheesy line warning: you will never know unless you try.
How to test and analyze if the content is generating any leads?
Your lead magnet is (a)live and ticking. Unfortunately, your work doesn’t stop here. To get the most out of all the work you put in so far there is one more thing to pay attention to and that’s analytics.
If you aren’t getting the response you hoped for, make some changes to your lead generation options. Consider changing your CTA button message, your text offer overall and maybe tweak your design.
For creating landing pages we used Landingi. It’s pretty neat tool because it allows you to simultaneously work on a design for all screen sizes which makes creating a responsive design that much simpler. It also provides you with all the metrics you need to follow your progress while doing A/B testing (see the picture below).
The best course of action is to create 2 or 3 different designs right away (for landing pages, pop-ups etc.) with differently stated offers. When you’re done with that you should rotate your templates and see which one is the most successful. This is also called A/B testing.
You should tests it for a month or two, depending on the number of visitors your site has. After that, you leave the one that proved itself to be the best.
To follow the metrics for our lead magnets we’re using several tools. Landingi covers all the metrics related to the landing pages while Thriveleads follows data on pop-ups and slide-ins used on our website.
This should set you on the right course if you decide to go on a lead magnet creation journey. Always have in mind that the success of your lead magnet depends on both the quality of your content and on its visual representation.
A great looking offer will determine your short-term success counted in a number of contacts generated but a high-quality content is what will turn that contact into a long-term customer.
And this is it for this post.
I tried to cover this subject from many angles but there are a lot of things that could be expanded upon, especially on the design of the lead generation options. More details in that department in some of our future posts so stay tuned.
Thanks for sticking with me till the end and I hope you picked up some useful info along the way.
Latest posts by Dario Supan (see all)
- How To Write A Perfect Guest Post Pitch (We Asked 84 Editors) - January 9, 2019
- How To Increase Subscriber Engagement With Interactive Emails - September 12, 2018
- How To Successfully Outsource Link Building Projects - July 31, 2018