Lead magnets: the what, why and how


If you read this post last week you will have noted that if you’re nowhere near the first page of Google and thus struggling to draw traffic to your site, it’s not the end of the world.

In that post we mentioned the term ‘lead magnet’ and suggested it might be the antidote for your ‘lack-of-traffic’ woes. In today’s post, we’re going to break down how.

What is a lead magnet?

In a nutshell, it’s hugely useful piece of content that solves a very specific problem for your target market. Something so useful that people in your target market will willingly give up their email address in order to get hold of it.

For example:

  • Bernadette Jiwa offers a workbook called ’20 Questions to ask before launching your idea’
  • NEXT Marketing offers a choice of resources including one called ‘Top 10 tips for non-awkward networking’
  • We offer a short e-book called ‘5 Ways to Boost your Business NOW’

Why does your business need a lead magnet?

Lead magnets are generally used to build email lists.

Why do you need an email list? Well that’s because it’s the gold standard when it comes to marketing directly to your target audience. If someone signs up for your email list, they’re inviting you into their inbox. That’s a huge privilege when you consider most people in the world check their email every single day.

But there’s another good reason your business needs a (good) lead magnet. It’s because you can also use it to drive targeted traffic to your website:

  1. Via Facebook ads
  2. Via social media sharing
  3. Via writing blog posts for other people’s sites.

So how do you create a highly effective lead magnet for your website?

Well, it’s a process – but one worth doing properly. If your lead magnet doesn’t address a genuine pain point for the people you’re trying to reach, it just won’t work for you. So here’s the process:

  1. Understand exactly who you are trying to attract (who your target market is). It’s ok to have several different lead magnets if you have a few different customer avatars. That’s much better than trying to create a single lead magnet that appeals to very different groups of people.
  2. Understand exactly what their biggest problems are – make a list!
  3. Determine which of their problems you have the specific expertise to address.
  4. Now brainstorm lead magnet ideas (5 ways to do x, 3 things you need to know about x that will help you x, The definitive guide to x).
  5. Choose the best one (and remember, the headline is everything – if you can’t communicate the lead magnet’s value in your headline, then no one will exchange their email for it).
  6. Follow this simple process for creating the content.
  7. Make the resource look nice.
  8. Create a page on your website so you have somewhere to send people to that clearly states the value in the lead magnet and gives them the opportunity to sign up for it.
  9. Use techniques like Facebook ads, sharing on social media and guest posting on blogs to drive traffic to that page.

And then …

Now that you have an email list with leads on it – it’s time to actually email those people regularly and deliver value to them. Next week’s post will share more about that.


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