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Bad Lead Magnets

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There's an ugly little habit I've seen floating around online… ugly, virtually unusable lead magnets.

Example #1: The ‘eBook’ that’s actually 5 pages about the author and 2 pages of “content” or workbook. 
Example #2: 62 ways to get visible – which includes things like participating on websites that no longer exist. 
Example #3: A list of places to pitch – but when you sign up for the follow-up webinar, you find out that you should *NOT* pitch those places… in fact, the owners of those platforms have actually written to the creator and asked to have themselves removed. 

The Problem with Bad Lead Magnets

The problem with all of these unusable lead magnets is that they waste time – both yours to create them, and your users to sign up for them. Plus, when a new subscriber excitedly opens up your lead magnet just to find that it’s a dud, they’re going to be looking for the Unsubscribe button. 

In that scenario, nobody’s getting the results they’re hoping for. (Not to mention the fact that those quick unsubscribes hurt your email deliverability AND your brand. The new subscriber’s definitely not going to share your lead magnet or your future posts if you didn’t wow them from the get-go!)

How to Build a Good Lead Magnet

So, how do you create a good lead magnet – one that helps you build and maintain a healthy list? 

Well, it’s all about actually giving usable value, even though it’s free. 
Your lead magnet isn’t where you sell how great YOU are. Instead, it needs to be the first step in solving your customers' problems. Solving their problems is what demonstrates how great you are – whether that’s the problem of what to cook for dinner or 5 fast ways to make more money. 

How to Validate Your Lead Magnet Idea

In some businesses, your best lead magnet is pretty easy to identify. In a restaurant, it's likely going to be a discount or free offer (like a free appetizer or dessert). If you run a shop (online or in-person), then it's probably free shipping or a discount.

But what about knowledge-based businesses – like cooking blogs or parenting or business coaches? Then how do you create the right lead magnet to attract and help your ideal customers?

  • Look at what your ideal customers are already paying for – like the Kindle Marketplace. If they are willing to give up their cold hard cash for something, then this helps you identify both the problem – and a solution that you can provide – you guessed it!- for free. You can even dig into the reviews to get more insights into why your customers like (or didn’t) like them. 
  • Asking your audience for feedback on your ideas before you create them. This is especially helpful to do with people who aren’t already on your email list using people like blog readers or social media followers. 
  • Look at what content on your site is already performing best – especially categories of content that you can create a single lead magnet for and start building your list from a whole collection of posts simultaneously. 

Creating Better Lead Magnet Content

Having the right idea is only one piece of the amazing lead magnet puzzle. Your lead magnet also has to have the right content to support and help your audience while demonstrating your expertise and building trust.

  • Be relevant. If you’re a cooking blog, don’t offer a lead magnet about skin care. If you’re a business coach, don’t offer a cook book. 
  • Be specific. Don’t just say “Sew Better” or “Improve Your Mindset”. Instead say “10 Techniques that will improve your sewing in just a week” Or 50 Journaling Prompts to Improve your Mindset”
  • Consider the visual appeal. Even spreadsheets can look nice – so consider the graphic design and visuals that you’re using inside your lead magnet as well as to prompt people to sign up for it. If you don’t have the chops to do this yourself, check out Fiverr for some good options. 

Reworking an Existing Lead Magnet

All these tips are fine and good if you're starting from scratch, but what do you do if you already have an exiting lead magnet? How can you tell if it's supporting your customer's needs (and your business goals?)

  • Look at the metrics. How many immediate unsubscribes are you getting after the lead magnet delivers? How does that number relate to your average unsubscribe rate? Don’t be surprised if it’s little high – lots of people sign up for lead magnets and then unsubscribe, even if it is good. They’re just collectors. But if it’s really high – double or triple your average, then your lead magnet may not be hitting the mark. 
  • Ask! As part of your welcome series (you do have one, right?), you can ask for feedback on the lead magnet. You can ask what their favorite part was or what questions they still had after reading/watching/listening to/ it. 
  • Test. If you’re still not sure, you can create an alternate lead magnet and test it on some of your new (or top performing content) and measure the results over a period of time (30-60 days should give you good data). Track opt-in rates and unsubscribes. 

Now that you know what makes up a good lead magnet (and how to determine if yours is working!), you can check out mine! Rather than picking just one lead magnet, I've created a full Resource Library with some of my favorite tools to help you master your marketing.

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