Ask the majority of businesses what they struggle with most and you’ll likely get the same answer – finding new prospects and generating quality leads. In response, the default fix is to pour more money into advertising to try and overcome the problem – but the gains rarely (if ever) justify the costs.
However, there is a simpler, less expensive way to find new clients that most businesses fail to recognize. Surprisingly, it’s usually easier and more productive than anything that they’ve tried before
The solution? High-quality Lead Magnets.
YOUR AUDIENCE IS HUNGRY FOR ANSWERS
We’ll dive into lead magnets shortly, but for now, let’s recap how traditional marketing works. In most instances, businesses target buyers who are in the final stage of their decision-making process. Like car dealerships continually bombarding you with crazy commercials, or home builders pushing sales or incentives to get you to move-in.
In both cases, the seller assumes the buyer has a strong desire to purchase something and is ready to take action. Makes sense, right?
Well, yes and no.
While it’s true that a handful of people ARE constantly looking to buy cars and purchase homes, it’s kind of like entering a mosh pit at a rock concert and trying to dance. You’re fighting against every other competitor out there trying to prove that you’re special.
In these situations, it’s nearly impossible to differentiate yourself and capture your buyer’s attention…and that’s the exact opposite of where you need to be.
While the suggested numbers somewhat vary, many sources show that (on average) only about 1% of website visitors are actually ready to buy or make a decision. That means for every 1000 people that browse your site, your best outcome would be landing 10 new customers.
Even the odds in Vegas are friendlier than that.
“So what about the other 99%?” – you might ask. Well, they’re still in research mode. Meaning, they’re not ready to buy anything or make a major decision, but they are at least mildly interested and want to know what’s out there.
Clearly, these are huge numbers and represent a major chunk of overall website traffic. Ignoring them simply doesn’t make sense (and leaves an immense amount of value on the table).
As you can imagine, focusing on this vastly underserved crowd presents a unique opportunity to connect with a hungry audience and make an impression.
PROVIDE VALUE AND THE RESULTS WILL FOLLOW
So what do we do with this information and how can we use it to our advantage? Simple. We create content and marketing materials that answer our buyer’s questions before they even know what to ask. This revolutionary concept is nicely explained by the folks over at HubSpot, but here’s the gist:
You provide valuable information to assist your buyer through every stage of their journey. In return, you earn their trust, respect, and loyalty.
Your number one goal is to answer any questions and offer advice in the most honest and sincere way possible – all with the buyer’s best interest in mind. In doing so, you position yourself as a trusted advisor (rather than a pushy salesperson) and that’s when the magic happens.
Although you can provide value in many ways, our focus here is on lead magnets. In their purest form, lead magnets are highly valuable pieces of free content that you offer to your audience in exchange for their contact information (usually names and email addresses).
While it may seem as though the visitor gets the better end of the deal, it’s actually a win-win for both sides. Your audience walks away with a ton of valuable information and you quickly and easily grow your pool of potential customers.
Lead magnets are most often distributed as small PDF downloads, but this certainly isn’t the only method that can be used. There are countless other ways to offer value depending on the information being given and how it will be used. For example:
- Video Files – that can be viewed or listened to instead of having to be read
- Podcasts – great for travelers or those on the go
- Checklists – to summarize key concepts or ideas
- EBooks – for more complex topics or in-depth reference guides
- How-To Guides – offering step-by-step instructions for completing a task
- Case Studies – to highlight what you’ve done (and continue to do) for your clients
To give you a taste of what’s possible, let’s refer back to our car dealership example. For their business model, a few good ideas might be:
- An eBook describing the “5 Biggest Mistakes New Car Shoppers Make”
- A video series explaining what to look for when selecting a new car
- A “survival guide”/checklist for “Dealing with Used Car Salespersons”
Notice what’s happening here? We’re shifting the emphasis from selling to serving. By helping the prospect make informed decisions about their purchases, we’re slowly earning their trust and increasing the likelihood they’ll eventually buy from us.
Keep in mind that lead magnets aren’t designed to make an immediate sale. But instead, help to get your foot in the door and allow for the natural growth and nurturing of relationships until the person is ready to buy.
Think of it as dating…instead of asking the customer to marry you after five minutes.
COMPONENTS OF AN EFFECTIVE LEAD MAGNET
At this point, you’re probably thinking that a lead magnet sounds great but you just don’t have the time or energy to put it all together. Thankfully, the process isn’t all that complicated, and you can provide a ton of value for your audience in just a few short pages.
In case you hadn’t heard, your typical prospect doesn’t want to read a novel – they simply need their questions answered and advice on where to go next. Help them accomplish this goal in the most honest, direct way possible and you’ll be miles ahead of the competition.
Now that you know bigger isn’t necessarily better, let’s take a look at what comprises an effective lead magnet.
Emphasizes a Significant Problem – Your content should speak directly to a major pain point in your customers’ lives. A problem that worries them or keeps them up at night. Touching on sensitive subjects causes the information to truly resonate with your audience.
Answers Common Questions – As your business grows, you’ll likely hear the same questions time and time again from clients. These questions are a great starting point for generating your content. Answer them comprehensively and your lead magnets will practically write themselves.
By addressing these client concerns during the research phase of the buying process, you build trust and rapport long before the sale ever takes place. It’s worth mentioning that (at this point) you’re NOT trying to sell your services – but simply offering to help by providing value.
Is Easily Implemented and Produces Results – The answers or solutions provided in your lead magnets should be straightforward and relatively easy to implement. Most importantly, the prospect should be able to quickly see the results. In other words, they provide for an “easy win.”
Keep in mind that you’re not going for a home run on the first pitch. Lead magnets are designed to share information so that prospects can make informed decisions over time. The side benefit to the seller, however, is in building trust and keeping themselves top-of-mind when the time to purchase comes around.
Strong Headlines and Bold Calls to Action (CTAs) – Arguably, the two most critical components of your lead magnet. Without a strong headline, your lead magnet will never be read. And failing to include a Call to Action leaves interested prospects with nowhere to turn.
You should take some time to analyze what kind of headline works best for your audience. Your title should be intriguing, thought-provoking and encourage prospects to want to learn more.
Lead magnets can be repurposed for multiple uses (downloads, social media ads, opt-ins, etc.). Since these words will be the first (and possibly only) thing your prospects see, having a strong headline is a must. Otherwise, people won’t be bothered to waste their time.
Tying it all together means creating irresistible content that your audience will WANT to download and PROVIDES REAL VALUE for doing so. If you’re not going to put forth some effort into the project – or if you’re just looking to make a quick sale – then don’t bother. No one is going to be interested.
EDITING AND FORMATTING
We mentioned creating lead magnets isn’t that difficult of a process, but the work shouldn’t be rushed or taken lightly either. Make sure your content has the following characteristics:
- Thoroughly-researched – your information should be accurate, up-to-date and relevant to your audience.
- Effectively-written – does the tone and style of the work match that of your prospects? Are your points clearly-articulated and easily-understood? Is there value to the reader?
- Edited and Proofread – a quick way to lose your audience’s attention is poor grammar, misspelled words or other easily correctable mistakes.
- Formatting and Graphics Added – would charts or infographics help to reinforce your points? Are the text and graphics aligned and spaced correctly?
First impressions make a difference. If the work is sloppy or badly constructed prospects will likely ignore it. Thus making for wasted effort and a lost opportunity.
Another point to consider is the time and skillset of the creator. While most anyone can handle all of these tasks on their own, it often makes sense to hire out some parts of the project to others (copywriters, designers, etc.). While you should maintain oversight for the overall quality of the work, don’t be afraid to delegate the task if it can be done less expensively or better by others.
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION
Lead magnets present an excellent opportunity to expand your reach and initiate a conversation. But keep in mind that they should be used to supplement your current marketing efforts – not replace them.
The main idea is to capture the reader’s attention and slowly build the relationship from there. You accomplish this goal by continuing to add value and help your prospects throughout each stage of their journey. Become a friend and advocate to connect with buyers and earn their trust.
To complement your content marketing strategy, consider using a good email marketing program as well. These “autoresponders” allow you to continue the lead nurturing process by serving up time or event-specific information based on customer actions.
For example: if a user signs up for your newsletter or email list, you can send them a free download or personalized “thank you” message. Or, if you’re running a limited-time offer, you can send additional information to those who’ve not yet purchased (in the hopes of quelling any last-minute doubts).
The possibilities are endless. And the best part? Being able to craft your messages once and then use them over and over again. Better results with less effort – that’s the definition of scalability.
The topic of email marketing is comprehensive enough to warrant its own discussion. Just know for now that autoresponders are yet another tool to connect with your audience and assist them in their buying journey. All of which help to position you as an authority figure and keep your business top-of-mind when the time to buy rolls around.
As a final thought, don’t get hung up on creating the perfect lead magnet right from the start. Instead, simply focus on interacting with prospects at the earliest possible stage of the buying experience. Answer their questions, provide solid, helpful advice and do so with no expectations in return.
Always keep your customers’ best interest in mind. Be quick to offer valuable, actionable advice and make their decision an easier one. Remember, your prospects are already searching for information long before you ever know about it.
Be the first to give it to them, and you won’t have to worry about standing out from the crowd. Because you already will…
Want to learn more about authentic content marketing or web copywriting that gets results? Book a FREE CONSULTATION and let’s get the conversation started.