How to Grow Your Email List With Lead Magnets

You’ve heard the phrase, “The money’s in the list,” and you’re ready to prove it. You’d like to build up your email list so that you can sell more, but you’re just not sure how to do it. If you’re currently staring at a teeny tiny email list and feeling discouraged, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s discuss the number one, guaranteed way to grow your email list: Lead magnets.

Would you like a list of lead magnet ideas to grow your email list?

What Are Lead Magnets?

Ever heard of lead magnets? Lead magnets go by different names: free gifts, sign up bribes, opt-in incentives, content upgrades, etc. It’s all the same thing: A valuable gift offered to your site visitor in exchange for their contact information, specifically their email address.

At this point, you may be asking yourself, “Why do lead magnets matter?”

Here’s why: Lead magnets matter because you can use them to build up your email list. Your email list is the most important thing that you can own simply because the new subscriber has given you permission to market to them.

You may think that visiting your site is enough to convince a prospective customer to buy, but it’s not. The overwhelming majority of first-time visitors will not buy. There are a lot of reasons behind this, but the top reason prospective customers don’t buy from you is that they do not trust you.

Don’t feel bad — It’s not personal, and there is something you can do about it. You can use your email list to build a nurturing relationship with that prospective customer and gain their trust. The first step begins with your lead magnet.

Unfortunately, the problem is that first-time site visitors still don’t trust you. Not only do they not trust you enough to buy your product, they don’t even trust you enough to hand over their email address. People are very protective of their email details and won’t offer this information to you just because you ask nicely and say “please.”

Instead, you must make the exchange of information worth their while. In other words, you should give them something that’s worthy of receiving both their email address and their ongoing permission to market to them. That’s a Herculean task, but you’re capable of it, especially after you download our supersized list of lead magnets of the bottom of this page.

How to Create the Perfect Lead Magnets

The type of lead magnet that you choose to offer will depend greatly on the needs of your unique audience. Some businesses will find success by offering free consultations while others do better teasing full-length ebooks. You’ll need to test your audience to determine which lead magnet makes sense.

Here are a few considerations for creating the ideal lead magnet to engage your site visitors.

Brainstorm for the Right Lead Magnet Idea

The first step in creating a lead magnet is to come up with the right idea. You won’t know the right idea unless you know the following:

  • The needs of your prospective customers
  • The desired action you want your prospective customers to take as a result of consuming your lead magnet

How do you find the needs of your prospective customers? If you’re not sure, you can simply ask them. Send out a survey to your current and prospective customers. Ask customers what type of content they would be interested in, and offer a multiple choice list (ex. A- An eBook, B- A free trial, C- A consultation, D- Fill in the blank other). You can conduct this survey via your website, email, and social media pages.

Choose a Lead Magnet Based on Actual Needs

In addition to surveying your current and prospective customers, you can also come up with a lead magnet idea by answering these questions:

  • What common questions do you get asked by prospective customers? Possible solution: Create an opt-in gift that answers these questions, such as a case study.
  • What prevents leads from actually purchasing your product? Possible solution: Create a lead magnet that helps them overcome their hesitation, such as a demo.

Put Your Best Work Forward

Don’t shortchange prospective customers because the gift is “free.” Remember that you’re still getting value from this exchange, with the possibility of converting the subscriber into a paying customer. Your lead magnet should be packed with value and worth charging for, even though you’re offering it for free.

Make a Promise

An effective lead magnet will make a promise to your visitors, no matter how small. Your promise will compel them to download your lead magnet, whether that promise is to learn, download, or consult. Be sure to deliver on that promise, too. Remember that this is your first step in building trust with your prospective customer.

Make It Easy to Consume

A lead magnet doesn’t need to be lengthy to be valuable. Focus on creating easy to consume content that your reader can take action on right away. Immediate action leads to immediate results which lead to immediate trust.

Include a Call to Action

The lead magnet should always lead the prospect back to you. The lead magnet should set up your SaaS as the next logical step.

Use Your Lead Magnet to Segment Your Audience

There’s no need to limit yourself to just one lead magnet. Feel free to make several. In fact, you can attach a unique lead magnet, known as a content upgrade, to each post on your blog.

Then, segment your email list based on the lead magnet. Segmenting your email list allows you to create customized content for each subscriber group. The more specific your messaging, the higher the conversion rate because people think that you’re speaking directly to their needs — and you are.

Make It Evergreen

Ideally, your lead magnet should stay relevant for some time to come. While it may not be useful 10 years from now, it should be useful for as long as possible. Avoid creating lead magnets that have a date, such as “Best Tips of 2013.”

How to Promote Lead Magnets

Where should you place lead magnets for maximum effect?

Unfortunately, there’s no “one size fits all” answer here. You’ll need to test to determine which placement leads to the most buy-ins. Here are the most common places to advertise your lead magnet:

  • Within the site header
  • Within the site footer
  • On the sidebar
  • As a pop-up after arriving on the page
  • As an exit intent pop-up

How to Onboard New Subscribers

What do you do once you have a new subscriber via your lead magnet?

The very first thing you should do is deliver the goods. If it’s a digital good, you can set up automatic delivery through your email marketing service provider, like MailChimp or ConvertKit. However, if your good requires personal interaction, such as a consultation call, you can still automate the process by sending a “next steps” type of email.

From this point forward, aim to immediately and consistently engage with your new subscriber. Create an email marketing plan that considers the following:

  • How often to send emails (weekly, biweekly, monthly)
  • What type of emails to send (educational, promotional, etc.)
  • What calls to action to use in each email (buy now, read more on our blog, sign up for your free trial)

Final Thoughts

Lead magnets offer an excellent opportunity to build up your email list quickly. You can populate your email list with prospective customers who are willing to receive promotional content from you. Use the above tips to create an irresistible lead offer that engages prospective customers with your brand.

Don’t forget to download this supersized list of lead magnet ideas to grow your email list.