'Web Design Help,Commentary'

The biggest mistakes businesses make when designing a lead magnet

16 AUG 2017 0

If you've dipped your toes into the online marketing world, you'll know having a killer lead magnet is one of the most essential parts of any online strategy. A lead magnet tends to be an opt-in extra bit of content that is available on your site for free, but requires the visitor to give you their email address in exchange.

It's a sort of agreement. The visitor knows that the reason you want their email address is to likely market to them in the future in some way or another, but they like you and your content enough that they're willing to open themselves up that way (and they trust you not to spam them like a jerk). On your end, you now know a potential customer who digs your work and is willing to open communications with you. This is a win-win! As long as it's done right, everyone comes out ahead in this exchange. This is one of the big reasons I'm such a proponent of content marketing, it's a more ethical and natural way to connect with customers than badgering them with ads like traditional marketing.

However, if you're not used to crafting lead magnets, it's easy to screw up. Here are the biggest mistakes businesses make when designing a lead magnet.

They give till it hurts too much

This is by far the easiest and most common mistake a lot of businesses make. I'm all for giving a visitor to your site the royal treatment, but you need to know when to pull back. If your lead magnet is too generous (an entire multi-chapter e-book, an in-depth two hour long consultation, huge quantities of free samples), your lead magnet is going to do more harm than it's worth.

I'm not just talking about the obvious investment in time, effort, and sweat either. Not only will going overboard cost you too much time on the back-end, it can also boomerang on the prospect as well. If someone wants some advice on how to develop their business or optimize their work-flow, they want something they can look over and put into practice. If they ask for a quick guide and you drop a small textbook in their lap, they're not going to look it over. 

You need to scale your lead magnets appropriately. Be giving, be helpful, but don't become that Grandma who won't stop offering cookies and snacks five minutes after dinner.

They make it too complicated

Some lead magnets are just a headache to sign up for. I've seen sites that make you find a link on a specific page (hint, if people have to search for your lead magnet, you're doing it wrong), watch a video, fill out a sign-up sheet, confirm your email address, come back to the site with a specially generated pass, and THEN download the lead magnet.

Can you say hassle?

I don't understand why some sites do this. Maybe the idea is to keep a tighter control on the lead magnet because they're worried it will be distributed too freely if they don't (another hint, this completely misses the point of a lead magnet). Or maybe they just want to make the process feel more exclusive or something. Whatever the reasoning is, it's asinine. Every extra step you put in your sign-up process is a chance for the prospect to step away.

Make your lead magnet easy to find. Place links wherever you discuss the relevant topic (at the end of blogs, in sidebars, on landing pages), and make it easy to sign-up. Visitors should either get an automatic "thank you!” download as soon as they input their email address, or receive the lead magnet directly in their inbox. 

They don't have a follow-up!

When a visitor gives you their email in exchange for a lead magnet, that shouldn't be the end of the exchange, it should be just the beginning! If your lead magnet is solid and helps the prospect, they'll be on board for whatever else you have for them – so make sure to have something!

Along with your lead magnet, encourage them to follow you on social media, or direct them to some of your other best content. Provide a way to move closer to becoming a customer, a link to a special offer, a private Facebook or LinkedIn group. Or, now that you're accumulating a nice mailing list, maybe it's time to start a newsletter. Just make sure you have something! 

Lead magnets are very powerful, but only if you know what to do with them. Make sure you're avoiding these common mistakes and making the most out of yours!

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