Lead Magnets and List Building
I have to be honest and share some truth with you. I didn’t really get the point of email lists at the beginning of my online business. I didn’t get why I needed them, their potential value, how to grow them or how to nurture them. I made so many blunders regarding my email list that it’s embarrassing.
Even when realization began to dawn about it's importance, I was still fairly half-hearted in my efforts about it.
It wasn’t until I started adding hundreds of subscribers to my email list that it finally clicked for me.
If I’m totally transparent, I definitely had the mindset early on in my business that "if I build it, make it an LLC, make it pretty and ask, they will come". If they wanted to work with me or learn more about me, they would opt-in to my newsletter.
Did you notice how I made it all about ME? WRONG-O. As soon as I shifted my language from me-centric to being client-centric I saw a shift in my list growth, Facebook group growth and my income.
It's an understatement to say that list building is really important for coaches and online entrepreneurs of all kinds; whether you’re in the health industry, a business industry, a life coach, the book writing industry… whatever field you’re in.
Get a list of 30 Lead Magnet Ideas Right Now
More important than even growing a social media platform because, (here's a secret) you don't "own" those followers like you do the email addresses of those who opt-in to your lead magnet and end up on your email list.
If you are anything like I was and are feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of list building— you may have a few really important questions about where to start, what to create for your lead magnet offer, and what to do after someone signs up.
In this post series, I’m going to answer those questions, so you can get clear on your next steps, and start restructuring your list building strategy so that sales feel less sleazy, and clients start to feel like they are on tap.
As I’ve grown in this area of my business, I’ve discovered that it’s a total lie that list building systems and strategies have to be complicated. Actually, just the opposite has proven to be true. The simpler, the better.
I’ve learned that clear, easy to implement, totally doable strategies are often the most impactful.
So, friend, hear this: You can do it! If you are a long time list builder stick around as well. I may just have some tips and tricks that will help you make your list building feel like it’s a little more on auto-pilot.
Let’s answer some fundamental questions when it comes to list building and lead magnets.
What do I mean when I say list or list building?
Basically, your “list” is a community of prospective clients (usually email subscribers) and people who are interested in hearing from you, learning more about the topics you discuss, and your perspective on things.
Here's the cool thing about a list: when someone signs up, that means they’ve literally put their hand up and said "Ooh yes, I want that thing!" and that they would like to know more from you. That changes how you see that email address. It's not just an email. It's a vote and it's an invitation. Those are really powerful things!
Why do you need to build a list?
Where do I even begin? There are so many reasons to build a list but I want to cover the biggest benefits that come as a result of building an engaged and qualified list.
- Fills your warm leads roster with great potential new clients
Nurtures people into your community and makes them huge fans of your work
Keeps you in contact with your community
Keeps you in front of people you'd like to work with and who'd like to work with you
Helps people get to know you and build what I like to call "relational equity"
What do I mean when I say lead magnet?
A “lead” is a term used to describe something with potential, a clue in the right direction. If you are in a field with client work, this word describes a potential client. A “warm lead” is a client that is very close to signing on to work with you. A “cold lead” is potential client that has not expressed very much interest but meets certain criteria of being an ideal client persona.
Therefore a lead magnet is something that attracts a potential client or customer to you and your business. This magnet will offer something valuable in exchange for someone’s contact details (usually their first name and their email address).
A lead magnet is the easiest thing to do to get started on list building. It's often referred to as an "opt-in", "content upgrade", "freebie" or "gift" but isn't limited to those terms or definitions. More on that later.
Why do you need a lead magnet?
Remember when I told you that I thought “If I build it, they will come”? Well there was no field of dreams. Just a field of crickets. *Chirp Chirp*
These days, there has to be a reason, and a good one at that, for someone to want to exchange their email for your value-laden lead magnet/gift.
This also allows to you filter through who in your audience is interested in what service or product you offer. Just like we vote with our dollars at the store, your audience members communicate their interests based on what lead magnet they opt-in for.
What would you offer as a lead magnet?
Here’s what I like to do:
Keep it simple. Think about a specific micro-problem your ideal client has, and how to solve it.
Make sure it gets them from point A (a pain point) to point B (the solution or benefit)
For example, if you’re a author, a micro-problem might be that developing that initial interest for your book. Offering a sneak peek would solve that problem.
If you’re a branding coach, your ideal clients may be struggling with how to format landing page. Create a step-by-step guide with a checklist
Maybe if you’re a money coach, you can create a budget template to help them track their weekly expenses.
Here’s the beauty of keeping it simple and small - micro even. They get quick, clear, actionable solutions.
If you are struggling to come up with a list of ideas you can download 30 ideas here:
What tools do I need to grow a list?
You are going to need a client relationship management (CRM) tool. Instead of sending out bulk email, which is not efficient, use a CRM to make your emails organized, strategic, legal, and well-branded.
Plus, a CRM integrates with other tools like your website or social platforms which makes life so much simpler when it comes to integrating advanced tools like opt-in boxes, registration pages, landing pages, and banners on your website.
There are plenty of options out there: MailChimp, MailerLite, Constant Contact, AWeber, ConvertKit, Infusionsoft, Mad Mimi, and more.
You may be thinking: OPTION OVERLOAD!!!
Which one should you use? I hate to say it but it really depends on the stage you’re at, your business model, and your budget to determine which one is right for you at the right time.
Some options, like Mailchimp, are free up to a certain number of subscribers, and integrates seamlessly with my favorite website building platform, Squarespace, whereas others have rates based on a sliding scale depending on how many subscribers you have.
Personally, I use ConvertKit and love it’s advanced organizing, tagging and segmenting features. (If you use this option, catch all my tutorials on how I set up this CRM for my business.)
How should you get visible with your lead magnet?
Once you’ve done the work of setting up your CRM and you’ve creating your lead magnet, you are nearly halfway there.
Can I just take a moment to re-emphasize that "if you build it" more than likely they won’t come. Not because they don’t like you but because they don’t know it’s there!! It is so important to promote your lead magnet as much as possible and to get it in front of the right kind of audiences as often as you can.
Don’t panic. Visibility can be fun!
You can get visible in paid or unpaid manners, or you can grow your visibility organically. Get creative! Keep it simple and focus on one channel at a time until you can mazimize your visibility on as many platforms that are aligned with your brand and goals.
Some key places you will want to be visible are your website. If you do share it on your website, make sure you have it in multiple places.
Above the fold (meaning first thing, before people do any scrolling)
Pop-up (Follow this tutorial to Create A Pop-Up Lead Magnet With Squarespace and ConvertKit)
You just need one to get started but here are 30 LEAD MAGNET IDEAS to jumpstart this process!
I also recommend having a “welcome mat” or special registration landing page on your website that is super simple and is only promoting your lead magnet, so you have somewhere to direct those who have found you from other platforms and channels.
Here are a few really easy ways to promote that landing page and opt-in gift:
Include it in your signature block
Link to it in your Facebook header image
Mention it in your Pinterest or Twitter bio
Promote it in your Facebook Lives and Instagram Stories
Write specific blog posts promoting it
Mention it in your Instagram bio URL
Drop the link into relevant Facebook groups (with permission)
Mention it anytime you’re interviewed, at the end of a guest blog post, and more
Once someone’s signed up — how should you welcome them into your list?
Here is one of my not-so-secret secrets, so pay attention:
When someone opts-in to your lead magnet, that is the very first step toward developing relational equity with them - specifically in the areas of authority and authenticity.
Take a moment to think about inviting someone over to your house because you want to be friends. You would probably try to make them feel welcome and clear about your intentions for having them over right? Think about how you could introduce yourself, and how you could get to know them, how they could get to know you. You would want to learn about them and share how you might be able to help.
Your list is no different. I recommend writing a simple email sequence to welcome your new subscribers.
This simple email sequence (that I like to call a “welcome” or “nurture sequence” ) where you nurture the relationship with your brand new friend who has put their hand up and said that they would love to check out your lead magnet gift. Welcome them in, tell them what’s coming next, tell them you can’t wait to learn more about them, and share with them, etc. (Check out my "Swipe This! The first email in every one of my welcome/nurture sequences")
Again, consider how you’d like to be welcomed into someone’s home, or onto their list. This process really helps build that trust factor, so that your new friend can figure out if you’re a good fit for them and if they should continue to hang around and be an active member of your community.
You’re not just building a list – you’re building relationships. If you don’t like to use sleazy marketing tactics and want to implement relational marketing, this simple step is essential!
What’s after that?
Continue to engage with your subscribers consistently.
It would be weird and awkward to invite some over and then just leave them sitting in a room all by their lonesome, right? Dont' do that with your list! Now I'll be honest, there is still some room for me to grow in this area. But even if you can't do it frequently, make sure you stay in touch consistently.
I like to recommend to my clients that they stay in contact bi-weekly with their community at a minimum. Some people really like to stay in contact a several times a week. That could be the right model for you or it may not. It depends on your business and goals.
However, commit to consistently turning up and engaging with your community and people in your community will begin to expect that you’re going to be in touch regularly. Treat your subscribers like they are in your inner circle, because, well, they are. Even if you still feel a little stuck and unsure like I did at the beginning, simply share from an authentic place.
Already knew the answers to those questions?
Here are 4 steps to help you take it to the next level:
1) Set number targets.
For example, set a monthly target around how many new people you will attract to your subscriber list. Get really serious about deciding and applying the strategy to bring those targets to life. Commit to them, and keep yourself accountable to them.
2) Create a launch around your Lead magnet
This really gives people a reason to join your community, and give your list building a big push in the process. Think about doing that perhaps once a quarter or every 6 months.
3) Add in A/B split testing.
It’s time to deviate from cookie cutter models and see what is working for YOUR audience!
Split test landing pages, or the copy/visuals/other elements you use to promote your opt-in gift on pop-ups, or at the end of your blog post, or on social media etc.
Split test to see which one converts more leads into subscribers — and it can be pretty fun and eye opening to find out exactly what works for your tribe, and what doesn’t.
4) Have more than one opt-in.
If you’re just starting out, please – I’d hate for you to get overwhelmed. Don't think that you must have more than one lead magnet RIGHT NOW, because that’s just totally overwhelming when you don’t even have one ready to go.
But if you DO already have your systems in place and it's a matter of plugging a chugging a new lead magnet, THEN DO IT! Seriously, there’s no reason why you would just have the single lead magnet. You could have a number of different ones, and they could all be part of different types of promotions and different funnels. I have the 5 essential & evergreen lead magnet types that I would recommend having for a well-rounded, well-automated list growing machine!
Last Chance! 30 Ideas for you to run with, RIGHT HERE!
PSSSST...If you are new to setting up your automated list building systems: check out this tutorial on setting up HOW TO AUTOMATE YOUR CONTENT UPGRADE DELIVERY WITH CONVERTKIT