It’s not quite as easy as it used to be to get consumers to turn over their email address in return for a free digital gift, or “lead magnet” to express the idea in email marketing parlance. Jaded by scams and overwhelmed by an overflowing inbox, the inducement you offer must rise above the marketing noise in order to draw attention. The good news is that a properly constructed and presented offer can still generate thousands of business leads per month in the form of new signups to one of your newsletters or email lists. But to get that email, you’ve got to create a killer inducement. Here’s how.

Demystifying the Lead Magnet

The lead offer or magnet has become one of the pillars of content marketing. Often it is an ebook, special report, or anything else that holds value to a potential subscriber. It sits atop the sales funnel as the lure that causes someone to sign up for a mailing list. Why is it so darn important to collect email addresses? If you’ve heard the phrase, the money is in the list, you can trust that it is true.

Age old marketing wisdom tells us that a buyer needs to see a sales message a certain number of times before their natural resistance is overcome and they make a purchase. It might be 7 times, or 8, or 10. The actual number isn’t as important as the idea that you need to be able to put your message in front of a person often in order to turn them into a customer.

Since the email serves as permission to make that contact, creating an effective lead magnet is perhaps the most important part of the whole sales process. You’ve got to get this right to even have a chance.

Who’s the Customer?

It stands to reason that you can’t offer an inducement to someone unless you know what makes them tick. Effective email marketing via newsletters begins with a list of questions regarding a stereotypical buyer of your service or product. Who are they? How much do they earn? What are their primary needs, wants, and desires? Keep in mind that people tend to spend more freely on things they want rather than need. This is a critical idea when it comes to crafting your inducement.

Take some time to really think about these questions and come up with serious answers. While it’s true that content marketing is something of a numbers game, you can go broke just trying to get anyone in the world to sign up for your list. What you want is targeted leads who have at least the potential to go on and eventually buy what you’re selling.

Get Specific

Now that you have a typical customer firmly in mind, it’s time to get specific with your freebie. Today’s internet is a game of niches. To craft too broad of an appeal is a one-way ticket to failure. Here’s what we’re talking about. Avoid the broad categories and drill down at least one or two levels into sub-categories. It’s counter-intuitive. A lead titled “Parenting Tips” will simply get lost in the noise. Instead, try something like “Parenting Tips for for the Autistic Child,” or “Parenting Tips for ADHD.” A broad category will be overlooked. It’s too general. And don’t worry that there won’t be enough traffic in these sub-niches to support your business. The internet is unimaginably huge and all but the most obscure topics have a sizable audience. By focusing on a specific parent, you stand a better chance of attracting someone who is actually interested in what you sell throughout your sales funnel.

Hot Selling Formats

When it comes to choosing a proven format for your lead product, why not stick with something that has been proven to work? Seems like a good idea to us. Check out these five content marketing choices:

  1. Cheat Sheet – The good thing about a cheat sheet is it can be short and filled with worksheets, tips, or lists that address a specific problem. Since it is so targeted, it acts as a great email marketing lead product for your sales funnel.
  2. Templates – People love templates because it means less work for them. The trick is to make it useful but not so useful that it replaces your product or service. It should be relatively easy to whip a few templates for things like ebook covers, Facebook ads, etc.
  3. Free Training – This works well if you already have a training program in place that you charge for. Create a smaller version that addresses a specific problem and give it away. A step-by-step format either written or in video format has proven to be a great way to build that email list.
  4. Swipe Files – A swipe file is simply a collection of good examples of something. For example, a headline swipe file might include 25 great headlines. This eternally popular format allows people to model their own work after proven winners.
  5. Tool Kit – Be careful not to let this one become more work than it’s worth. Try to use already available resources as a foundation and add to it your own flair. A “toolkit” could include a few ebooks, worksheets, and some videos. This one is an excellent inducement because of its higher perceived value.

The Bottom Line

If the idea of creating a lead product seems simple, that’s because it can be. Newsletters, content marketing, and sales funnels all start with a finely tuned inducement, and now you know how to craft one. The big idea is that it must provide value to a reader. Do that and you’re golden. Try to get away with providing no value and you’ll be rewarded with a minuscule, poor-performing email list. Good luck out there and let us know if we can help!

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