5 Most Important Tips to Create a Lead Magnet

Horseshoe MagnetThere’s one good reason every business owner must create a lead magnet…

To build their email list.

Because for any online business, an email list is your goldmine.

Here’s why. Email still returns significantly more for every dollar spent than any other marketing channel. That’s true whether you compare to other digital channels or to direct mail.

So if you’re taking your business online (or already have) and want to grow your revenue, you need an e-list…it’s that simple.

And what’s the best way to build your list?

Create a quality lead magnet—sometimes called a ‘bait piece’—to entice people to opt-in.

A lead magnet is simply something you offer of value for free—like a short report a prospect can download—in exchange for their email address and permission to send them emails.

Besides offering your subscribers some immediate, specific value, your lead magnet benefits you in other ways too:

  • It creates income by generating a list of potential buyers…
  • It’s an “asset” that continues to perform over the long-term…
  • It gives you direct control, or “positioning” over your new prospects…
  • It makes selling easier by building a relationship with your prospect…
  • It’s a gateway to other online marketing channels…

True, most marketers say they already know this. Yet few understand just how critical it is. Or even what it takes to create a quality lead magnet that does the heavy lifting of building their list.

How to create a lead magnet

In other words, you can’t just whip together some content or other “freebie” and hope people will want it and opt in. Instead, there are some specifics about a lead magnet that determine how well it will succeed at building your email list.

While there are many types of lead magnets, like:

Audio download
Short video
Info product preview

Product sample
Partial membership
Free book chapters

WordPress plugin
Buy one, get one free
Substantial discount
Phone App

…most online business owners prefer to create a free special report for their prospects. Consumers are conditioned to expect it whenever they hand out their email addresses.

In fact, they have become so accustomed to getting free reports, that to not provide one would subject your prospect to unnecessary and untimely disappointment.

That said, you must create a lead magnet to get prospects on your email list. So, I’ve put together the following 5 most important tips to help you maximize the success of your lead magnet—with respect to an information product—in acquiring email sign-ups.

1. Tie your lead magnet to a single problem you solve. Every web searcher is looking for one thing…to solve an immediate and pressing problem.

Whether it’s to rid disease…improve a relationship…find a good fit for a martial arts instructor…or buy the best blender for making smoothies. People want to make smart decisions about solving day-to-day challenges. And they’ll do just about anything to get their hands on that one solution that helps them in that effort.

But here’s the key….

You must keep your lead magnet focused!

In other words…create a lead magnet that helps your new prospect solve one—and only one—problem.

This focus is what will drive sign-ups. Because if your prospect knows they will get to concentrate on a single issue, they’ll feel empowered to act to solve their problem quickly and satisfactorily and relief knowing that their effort won’t be wasted.

One last thing…make sure your prospect knows instantly what one problem you are solving just from reading the ‘title’ of your lead magnet.

2. It should be targeted. In two distinct ways.

First, you must ensure your “freebie” is in alignment with some aspect of your company’s brand. Most likely, that means it will relate to a product or service you provide to consumers.

For example, if you provide real, organic and fermented foods to health conscious consumers, you might create a special report called “7 Troubling Ways Your Diet Impacts Your Dementia Risk…and What You Can Do to Fix It!” Or, offer a booklet containing food recipes, or even a free sample (plus free shipping) of a specific food product to try out.

Second, you should target your ideal prospect, or avatar. In other words, pick someone who is most likely to respond to your brand and create a lead magnet around her.

In fact, get specific by giving this avatar a name, sex, age, occupation, marital/family status, income and net worth, address, political affiliation, and more. The more details you assign your ideal prospect, the easier and more effective you will be at picking and creating the perfect lead magnet that motivates her to subscribe to your email list.

3. Keep it short so it can be consumed quickly and immediately. This is one of the most powerful tips to create a lead magnet that simply works. Yet, some business owners think the longer your lead magnet, the better it will perform.

But not necessarily. While it should be thought of as having high value, that doesn’t mean it needs to be lengthy. In fact…to the contrary.

See, all products and services have a “value position.” And, consumers assign greater value to something that’s bigger, lengthier, lasts longer, costs more, and so on.

So, the more time and money your prospect spends on reading any content, the more detailed and substantive it would need to be for them feel like they got great value.

Yet, content created to entice opt-ins—a.k.a., lead magnets like special reports—are free. Prospects don’t pay anything. So you want to make it shorter, to “fit” its value position.

Another way to look at it is like this. Most people don’t want to spend hours reading your bait piece. Why? Because they already know they are opting in to an e-list. They have no illusions that they might be buying a high-priced book that could take them weeks to consume.

And they have other important things to do with their limited time.

So, they just want a quick read of some valuable info—in exchange for giving you their email address—that will help them solve one problem on their list before moving on to the next.

And consider this. It’s likely your ideal prospect already has a stock pile of special reports from other business owners that they filed away to read in their spare time, or at just the right time. Yet here’s the thing. If they already filed it, chances are there will never be the ‘perfect’ time to revisit it and read it.

But if you make it shorter, they are more likely to decide in that moment to read it immediately and in its entirety. That way they can put the information to use right away and check it off their list as completed, and move on to solve another problem.

So, don’t disappoint. Keep your lead magnet short, so your prospect can consume it immediately and quickly, as well as act on it.

4. It must offer high-perceived value. How much value can you put into a short lead magnet? More than what the average prospect would expect.

When you create a lead magnet, fill it with information that is valuable enough you could easily sell it.
Look, just because it’s short, your lead magnet should not read like it was slopped together in a hurry just to acquire sign-ups. It should NOT seem like you are providing minimal value for your effort.

Instead, it should elicit the response…”Wow, that was value-packed for such a quick read…and for being free!”
In fact, anything short of that response means your prospect never finished reading it. And instead, opted back out of your list. Which makes your lead magnet…a “lead killer.”

You see, this is literally the first stage in the relationship-building effort with your prospective customer. Their first reaction to your lead magnet determines your future ‘prospects’ with your prospective customer. In other words, that “wow” reaction is what will plant the seeds for future trust and credibility. And eventually motivate your prospect to buy from you.

So, always give more value than what your prospect pays for. They should always walk away feeling like they got a ton of value. Even for something short and free…like your lead magnet.

5. Make it unique. Look, whatever you are writing about, success is related to how well you take a new angle on something, or whether you write about it in a way your prospect has not seen before.

This is how you keep tried-and-true solutions “fresh” in the minds of consumers. In fact, when you prospective customer feels like they’ve already seen your stuff somewhere else, it’s a credibility “buster.” And it’ll be harder next time to get them to read your content.

So with lead magnets, while your topic can be familiar, it shouldn’t “feel” familiar. Give your info product a unique title. Present it in a unique way.

But don’t be cute and clever…just different, so you “stand out” from your competition and not “let down” your potential customer.

There you have…the 5 most important tips to create a lead magnet so you build your email list fast.

For more tips on how to “talk” to your ideal prospect, check out an article I wrote previously detailing 3 key relationship secrets on how to write more effectively for web prospects.

I’m sure you can come up with one or two other tips to help others create a lead magnet. When you do, please share them with us in the comment section below.


About Jerry Bures

Jerry Bures is a direct-response web copywriter and marketing consultant. Since 2010, he has helped natural health, self-help and business opportunity clients—as well as local small businesses—become more visible, credible and profitable online.

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