Quality lead magnets are a win-win.
You fill up your marketing funnel with inbound leads that have chosen to consume your content and spend time with your brand. And your audience gets a handy value-add to help them reach their goals and solve their pain points... perhaps in the shape of an ebook, report, whitepaper, template, podcast, workbook, or checklist.
But how can you create and publish a quality lead magnet to add to your content library? Here are 14 tips on crafting your most effective lead magnet yet.
Plan your lead magnet
1. Put value above all else
For content to deserve a form in front of it, it must be super valuable. In exchange for someone's email address – and often more information – you've gotta be keeping up your side of the deal.
If your audience isn't satisfied with what they get in return, you can bid farewell to their business in future.
2. Share information that isn't available elsewhere, or deliver it more conveniently
As well as being valuable, your content needs to be unique. If your audience knows they can get the same information from your blog, the offer might not be so tempting.
The exception is if the lead magnet is much more convenient than other versions of the same content – perhaps it's a handily packaged checklist or workbook that people can easily print off.
You might also include some bonus material in the downloadable too, such as an extra worksheet or a longer version of a checklist. Be transparent about what you're giving your audience and why it's a great deal.
3. Check the lead magnet fits under one of your core topic clusters
Choose a topic that you can have a lot of content linking back to it from. This will be fabulous for your SEO, offer the reader of each of the blog posts a little something extra, and of course, optimise the number of downloads you can get from the resource.
When you're starting out with content marketing, aim to have one high-quality resource for each of your core topic clusters.
As one example, my clusters for this website are "content marketing", "inbound lead generation" and "brand building".
Once you've got the core content in place, then you can think more about filling in the gaps with more niche lead magnets.
4. Identify your goal for the lead magnet
What do you want to get from this piece of content... more brand awareness? Lead generation? Better insights into the contacts already in your database? Lead nurturing? Paid customers? Know what you're after and make it specific. By doing this, you'll know exactly what metric you can use to track your success.
A few examples of metrics you might use to track the lead magnet's success:
- For brand awareness: track the conversations that mention your brand name week-on-week using a tool such as Mention.
- For lead generation: track the number of new contacts that come into your database with the ebook as first touch point.
- For better insights into the contacts in your database: track the % of contacts that you know average turnover for.
- For lead nurturing: track the absolute number and % share of lifecycle stages in your database (e.g. subscriber, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity).
- For paid customers: I think you've got this one.
5. Choose the right format for your lead magnet
Ask yourself: what's the best way to package your content at this stage?
Perhaps you already have a blog post and it now makes sense to create a supplementary checklist to help your audience put your tips into action. Maybe you'll start with an ebook and publish an accompanying blog post to announce its launch.
Here is the decision-making process I generally follow:
- A wide selection of data, insights and information? -> Report or whitepaper
- A broad how-to guide or a compilation of blog posts on a topic? -> Ebook
- A list of steps to follow? -> Checklist
- Exercises to help reach a goal or solve a pain point? -> Worksheet or workbook
- A discussion of a topic you've already covered on your blog? -> Webinar or podcast
Remember: one of the most magical things you can do with your content marketing is to repurpose your best content across many different mediums.
When you have a golden piece of content, it'd be sad to just stick to one ebook, blog post, or checklist. Distribute your message in the different ways that your audience wish to consume it.
Know your audience
6. Know exactly who the lead magnet is for
Before you start creating the resource, know who it's for. Create a clear persona for your audience, including:
- their goals
- pain points
- job role
- what their day-to-day looks like.
Keep a picture of your audience in your mind throughout the whole process of creating, publishing and sharing your lead magnet. Create it for them – they'll be able to tell and will love you for it.
7. Identify your audience's goal for consuming the content
- Why is your target audience going to fill in a form to get this resource?
- What's their motivation?
- What do they hope to get out of it?
Perhaps they will download your travel trends report to understand how to market their kayak rental company through the most effective channels and reach new audiences this coming season. Why? To stay relevant and not lose customers to competitors.
Maybe they are interested in your productivity worksheet bundle because they dream of doing less reactive work so they can actually be the entrepreneur strategising their business growth. Why? Because they want their brand to be known for innovation, not their out-of-control business owner.
Understand how this little piece of content fits into your audience's big hopes and dreams.
What is the bigger picture? How does your content fit in with this?
This can help you to tap into the dreams and desires of your audience before they even realise them and deliver a mountain of value.
8. Think about how and where the content will be consumed
Now you know what format your content will be, visualise how it's going to be consumed.
- Will they read this on their phone?
- Scroll through the PDF on their laptop?
- Want to read it on their Kindle?
- Listen to it through their podcast app?
Anticipate how your audience will want to enjoy the content and make sure it's optimised for that. If it's a long ebook with a lot of text, your audience might love it if you offer .mobi versions for them to email to their Kindle or e-reader. Intercom does a brilliant job of making their content easy to consume.
Create your lead magnet
9. Make it easy to gain value from
For an ebook or report, you might want to:
- Highlight key takeaways
- Include action points
- Add a checklist of next steps for the user to print out
10. Keep design simple
Simple design is usually the best design. Especially if you're not a designer. Consistency walks hand in hand with simplicity as the worst-kept brand secrets out there; consistent and simple brands are the winners.
Publish and share your lead magnet
11. A bad landing page can screw everything up
A brilliant piece of content gated behind a terrible landing page is a bad piece of content. Think:
- user experience (ease of navigating, page speed, a form that functions well)
- design (does the page look good? what impression does it give of the content you're promoting?)
- credibility (will people trust you enough to hand over their contact details?)
- quality (perfect spelling and grammar, no accidents from cloning a landing page and forgetting to change something)
12. Don't go crazy with the form
Every field on your form needs to earn its place.
- Do you really need to ask all the questions you do?
- What will you do with the information?
Remove as much friction to filling in the form as possible while still gaining useful data.
13. Think about how you will deliver the content
Will your landing page redirect to a confirmation page that thanks the user and triggers a PDF download?
Or will you send the content to the recipient's email address? Perhaps you'll choose a combination of the two. Whatever you do, make sure it's user-friendly and meets expectations.
14. Make it easy to share
If someone signs up for your lead magnet and thinks it's worthy of a gold-plated award, what are they going to do next?
Include some sharing links and other next steps within the resource itself.
Try to encourage your audience to share the landing page link (rather than the resource itself), but don't worry too much if that doesn't happen every time.
Word of mouth is a success in itself, so if you've got people talking about and sharing your content, it's a good sign you're hitting the right notes.