One of the easiest criteria I use to gauge the performance of a website – I don’t even need to dive into analytics or metrics to form a useful judgment here – is whether or not the website is intentionally, strategically capturing leads. To do that you need to offer your audience an opportunity to engage – and I’m not talking about “subscribe to our newsletter” or filling out a contact form. I’m talking about making the first transaction together.

Refresher: The CARE Funnel

Quick refresher on the CARE Funnel, my modern marketing funnel to help drive your content strategy. At the top of the funnel is your Clueless but Curious audience. These are people who want to engage with you anonymously. They like to read your blogs or watch your videos but with no deeper connection. They’re researching a problem they’re trying to understand better or solve, and the content – the stuff you share – to reach this audience is intended to bring awareness to you and what you do.

When somebody reaches the Attentive stage of the funnel, they’re looking for something a little more intimate. They’re moving closer to the consideration stage of their buying journey. This is when a lead magnet can be a powerful way to engage them.

Attracting Leads

“Lead magnet” is a nerdy marketing term. Your audience doesn’t care about the phrase and doesn’t know what it is. Its definition is what the term suggests – something to attract leads to you. Sometimes lead magnets are called “content upgrades” or “swipe files” – all basically meaning the same thing. Specifically, a lead magnet is something to give away that can help your audience on their search for answers. It’s a how-to guide, a tips and tricks guide, a best practices guide. Maybe it’s a video or an infographic or an ebook. It’s a thing of value that you give away in exchange for contact information like an email address. Once you have an email address, you can start to market more specifically to somebody and personalize their experience with you better. An email address is largely the currency of digital marketing, so consider it valuable. A lead magnet can help you earn it.

A lead magnet is something to give away that can help your audience on their search for answers

An example of a lead magnet that I like a lot is an automated email course. This is education you provide to people who register and enroll. I love these because rather than being as transactional as a download or one-time offer can be (get this free white paper, for instance), an email course let’s you get top of mind for somebody several days in a row. Your audience gets to know you, how you think, what you do in ways that I think are more meaningful. You can see an example of a lead magnet I created, Marketing That Makes Money, here. And of course I invite you to sign up! Poke around my site and you’ll other lead magnets – I try to give people lots of opportunities to engage with things that might help them most or while they’re researching something specific.

Here’s what I’d like you to do next:

Lead magnets don’t have to be difficult to create. When working with clients I’ll often look at their blog posts and look for best practices, tips or linear process posts. These are easy to break down into a quick PDF or infographic that abbreviates the content of the blog post into just the most actionable, practical stuff. Videos can also be powerful lead magnets – have you ever walked a client, customer or prospect through a process or demonstrated something? That’s an easy lead magnet – shoot a video of you explaining the process, pointing out some details, or demonstrating how something works. Lead magnets can be powerful for introducing yourself to others and nurturing new relationships.

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