Lead generation is tough. We ask prospects to provide us with their personal data for free, in exchange for some unclear benefits. If you find it a bit unequal, we’re on the same page. Why should we give away private information?
Today's online customers can mute almost anything advertising-related. For example, AdBlock extension counts over 200 million downloads both on Chrome and Safari. People rely on several other services that block all sorts of unwanted messages.
There’s no engagement if all you do is ask a user to type in their email to become a subscriber. Standard web-forms are very common, but how often do forms like this actually persuade you to subscribe?
It is no surprise that lead generation is a challenge. Probably the smartest way to overcome this is to offer something valuable in exchange for your customers’ effort: a free guide, service or discount.
Enter the lead magnet.
What Is A Lead Magnet?
Lead magnets are the smart approach to lead generation.
Also known as a bribe-to-subscribe offer, a lead magnet is a way to get your visitors’ information in exchange for something valuable.
From free trials to innovative online audit services, you are free to offer anything that can be received immediately via email. If it hits the target, visitors will subscribe and you’ll earn your leads without annoying them.
Lead magnets compensate user’s efforts with an obvious advantage. One simple way is a type of discount:
We’ll discuss different types of exchange-based lead magnets, their benefits and the ways of adapting them to lead generation process.
Why Should You Try Lead Magnets (If You Haven’t Yet)?
Lead magnets are engaging. There are magnets with the capacity of generating literally thousands of leads in a relatively short period of time (like these 35,000 emails received in 60 days).
Lead magnets generate quality leads. According to IDG research, 61% of marketers found generating high quality leads to be problematic for their business (via Marketo). While lead magnet leads are already interested in some of your offers, they want to learn more.
Lead magnets provide good brand experience. If your “bait” is smart and relevant it shows a customer what the brand experience is all about. Wouldn't you opt for such an opportunity if it was given for free?
Lead magnets are shareable. It's easy to share the link to your research, or to embed your video in a blogpost.
They promote your brand as an expert, as well. Lead magnets such as case studies, manuals or research will do their job in this case.
Why Are Lead Magnets Engaging?
Lead magnets “know” your customer’s problems and can offer an immediate solution – that’s why they can be so irresistible.
Depending on your prospects’ problem, lead magnets differ.
8 Types Of Lead Magnets
You can offer information, entertainment or bargains – it’s up to you. The best part is that you can invent your own types of custom lead magnets, with benefits only your business can provide.
Now – let's get on to the fun part!
1. Сontent “Bait”
Content bait or carrot content is any piece of content that provides clear and immediate value to your audience. For example:
Text content. How-to guides, reports, white papers, cheat sheets, case studies, checklists.
Video content. Video guide, video course.
First, you offer a piece of content that can somehow improve your customer’s life.
After they click the button and enter their information, they receive an email with your content attached. This offer can be integrated onto your page or can appear in popups.
Here's how Conversionxl offered their content — after some time on their page, you encountered a popup window that offers you not just content, but also extra access to some restricted area.
This piece is remarkable also because of that ribbon above, which names how popular the content was. Later we'll mention this among ways to improve click-through rate.
Content bait is suitable for any type of business – you can send recipes, free lookbooks or any guides to your customers. Steve Chou, the founder of My Wife Quit Her Job, generates over $350,000 a year from his free drip campaign (via Holler):
Widgets are built-in tools that integrate with your website or landing pages. It provides your customers with a unique brand experience by offering them a very custom service.
Widgets are awesome because they provide you with valid emails and often – with additional personal data about your prospects. Widgets are suitable both for B2B and B2C segments.
Here’s how a sunglass company adapted the idea with a “try-on frames virtually” widget. This tool allows you to test how their glasses fit your face and have some fun at the same time!
The important point here is that they never drive any customer away from a product page.
B2B widgets offer a service, a report or some important information that is hard to get for free. For example, here’s the SEMrush Lead generation tool. You can add the code for the widget onto your page and this sign-up form will appear:
After signing up, a customer gets a free white-label report through email while you get both their email and the additional data – their domains. This tool gives your customer a free page audit and gets you not only their email address but also provides you with extra information for lead analysis.
The tool itself is customizable to your webpage – you can change the buttons’ names, calls to action and experiment with colors.
Tease your prospects, entertain them with a short and simple quiz and send the results via email – this is a tried and true way of generating leads. Here’s an example of a simple quiz:
Here’s an example of a more extensive survey with about 50 questions. Econsultancy offers the opportunity to take a part in a survey in exchange of being first to get a free copy of the results.
This survey takes more time to complete than just a simple quiz, however, it hooks you up. You will very likely remain their subscriber for longer time and will welcome their emails.
4. Live (Online) Demos
Live demos are useful if your product is complicated enough, as there always are users (both real and potential) who will skip over the “read the manual” step. How often do you read your manuals before you buy a product?
Engaging your customers in a question and answer session can connect them “live” with your customer care. Let them to pick a preferable date and time, connect with them via any convenient messenger of your choice, and voila – your prospect is speaking with you willingly!
You can show them “in-person” exactly how your product can resolve their problems. Your message will match their needs, and you can further learn about your customer‘s challenges. Such a level of targeting is priceless – add the possibility of sharing your screen with them and you can show any hidden function of your service.
This is also very convenient when your business is worldwide – you can show your product online to a user from Ottawa while drinking your spiced coffee in Norway.
Webinars are sometimes just a more tricky way of leading live demos, as they often show your product in use. However, there is really more to it.
First, the experts: You can engage industry experts to be a part of your webinar. The more interesting the topic and the more well-known the expert – the more people that can be engaged.
Secondly, your company’s expert reputation: Provide customers with useful tips while showing them the benefits of your offer and share your industry expertise with them. You'll be building your brand image as someone who assists and grows specialists.
Here’s a lead magnet which helps build lead lists both from organizations and self-employed individuals:
At SEMrush, we love to share our knowledge via webinars. We do believe that active, seasoned web-marketers will enjoy our product and will find huge benefits in it.
6. Free Trials
Free trials let your product sell itself, eliminating such obstacles as marketing, advertising or pushy messages. When your customers understand that they need your product after trying it for some time, you have provided them with a great experience.
If your product is sophisticated, complicated or just needs some time to understand its benefits – don’t be greedy – give away a 15-day or 1-month free trial. The longer your customer uses your service, the better your chances are for converting them.
7. Contests And Lotteries
An opportunity to get a freebie with an email is definitely more engaging than an opportunity to just get a boring message. Challenge your audience and let them feel amused about your offer!
Look how I Love Gin decided to engage their site visitors:
This is a great way for a B2C to engage more potential customers in their net. Wouldn’t you opt-in for a possible free bottle of gin while browsing random pages about this drink?
8. Special Offers
A bargain, a coupon with 1 to 99 percent off or just a free delivery are great ways to entice your audience to make a purchase. An additional value of this activity – you can be listed in some relevant blogpost dedicated to bargain seekers. This may also improve your SEO.
Just look at this Lego US free shipping page: it has a relevant design and an engaging offer!
What Next? Make Your Lead Magnet Even More Appealing!
After you've created the bait, take time to garnish it. Don't forget to use ad copy techniques you know will help you. When your offer is ready, you can:
Name Your Lead Magnet Properly
Here are some ideas from our blogpost about writing perfect headlines:
- X ways to get Y. For example, "6 ways to create a landing page that converts".
- X ways to get Y for Z time. Like in “5 ways to get perfect ABS for a month".
- X resources for/to Y. “7 resources to manage your groups in social media".
- X tips for Y. "9 tips for success in career interview".
- How to do X without Y. "How to create a web-page without HTML".
Make Your Simple Buttons “Happy” Buttons
Time to get creative. Sometimes you can even use different calls to action on a single page. Just have a look at Neil Patel’s blog. His buttons are encouraging:
Or Try “Painful” Buttons Instead
This negative technique might be questionable, but you can try it anyways:
Add Social Proof
According to Wishpond's split-test, social proof improves conversions by 11.5%. People react positively to calls to action when they see that other users have already engaged. So, feature the number of likes, users, followers or customers near your lead magnets.
... And, Be Polite
You can let your subscribers know when they will be receiving your messages and assure them they won’t be excessive. Being clear about what they can expect from you always looks pleasant and spam-less, even if you have nothing else to offer immediately:
Your lead magnet is a part of your brand, your mini-product. It will affect your brand reputation as it engages people in your brand experience.
We encourage you to use this way of lead generation both in B2B and B2C segments. Just remember that they have their common traits:
Lead magnets deliver value before asking for money.
The value is available only in exchange for a visitor’s email.
Your visitor can consume it immediately after the “transaction.”
You aren’t deceiving anyone — you provide your leads with useful stuff.
Your “gift” helps leads to discover further benefits of choosing your brand.
What can you offer? Anything. The “bribe” just needs to give your site visitors something they need or may be interested in – from professional tips and data to enjoying a simple amusement. Offer a free exchange – and that’s it.
If your magnet is engaging, you’ll enjoy the results very soon!