How do you attract potential customers?
You could try to create some sort of viral video in which you and 20 friends suddenly start dancing in the middle of a crowded mall.
You could create the next killer product that everyone must have and suddenly become so rich that you heat your house by burning piles of hundred dollar bills.
You could buy an email list from a shady dude in Nigeria and start blasting out more emails than LinkedIn.
But the odds are high that the only person who will watch your video is your supportive mom, and you’re definitely not Steve Jobs. And your business hasn’t sufficiently tanked that you’re willing to stoop to LinkedIn levels.
What you need is the perfect lead magnet.
If you’re not familiar with the term, a “lead magnet” is something you give away for the purpose of attracting potential customers (“leads”). It could be a free guide, a webinar, or anything else that will persuade a person to give you their contact info.
Once you get their contact info, you can then slowly nurture them toward a sale of your product or service.
For example, if you head over to Noah Kagan’s site, you immediately see that he is offering to give you some of his best business hacks in exchange for your email address.
Noah Kagan knows his stuff, so I’m willing to trade him my contact info for his best business hacks.
But here’s the deal. You can’t just slap random stuff together, Nutty Professor style, and call it a lead magnet.
If you’re going to attract high-quality leads, you need to create a high-quality lead magnet that adds significant value to those who want it. You need to offer them something that they can’t resist. Something so valuable that trading an email address seems like THEY are getting the best deal.
So how do you get the perfect idea for a lead magnet? Thankfully, it’s not complicated.
Here are five different ways to get the perfect idea for the perfect lead magnet.
1. Survey your readers
In order to attract leads, you need to know their pain points. What keeps them up at night. What frustrates the heck out of them. What makes them want to quit the business all together. What makes them want to punch their fist through their computer.
You need to understand their problems so that you can then solve some of those problems.
Assuming you have a blog (or some other form of content creation platform), the first step is to survey your readers. Initiate a conversation about their pain points. Get inside their heads (in a non-creepy, non-Bourne Identity mind control kind of way).
Ryan Levesque, author of Ask, has generated millions of dollars in business by using surveys. Clearly they’re a seriously valuable tool.
There are several really simple ways to survey your readers. Qualaroo makes it easy to create elegant, insight-driven, reader friendly surveys, which you can put onto your site.
Despite being home to hundreds of awful quizzes like, “Which Harry Potter character are you?” (Ron Weasley, for the record), Facebook actually has a solid poll function. In just a few minutes, you can create a poll and start engaging with your fans on your Facebook page.
With over a billion people using Facebook, it’s a great place to get a conversation rolling with potential leads.
If you want to go the old-fashioned route (hard to believe email is now considered old-fashioned), you can send out a simple email poll to those on your list, asking them about the struggles they encounter. Email marketing tools like MailChimp have simple polling functions that can be embedded in emails.
Once you’ve surveyed your readers to identify their pain points, you can then craft a lead magnet that specifically solves those pain points.
2. Dig into the analytics
Another great way to generate a boatload of ideas for the perfect lead magnet is to examine the Google Analytics for your website. If you’re not using Google Analytics, you really should get on that right away. It’s a brilliant tool that is free.
By drilling down into the “Site Content” section of the analytics, you can quickly see the most popular posts on your site.
Once you’ve determined the most popular posts on your site, you need to determine why they were popular.
If it was a Buzzfeed style listicle post (“10 Young Actors Who Grew Up To Be Butt Ugly”), then it’s not much help to you.
But if the post was you offering a solution to a sticky problem, there’s a good chance you hit on a major pain point.
If you need more help digging into Google Analytics, Social Media Examiner put together a great post on all the essentials every marketer needs to know.
3. Scope out your competitors
Checking out the blogs of your competitors is another way of instantly generating ideas for lead magnets.
With tools like Ahref’s Content Explorer, you can quickly identify the top posts on your competitors’ blogs.
Below is a quick search I did on the Buffer blog.
Clearly their readers want to know about how to use Facebook marketing effectively. They want to know about the news feed algorithm and the psychology behind why posts are shared.
A lead magnet which clears up confusion regarding Facebook marketing would resonate well with this audience.
And if you look closely, you’ll see that this lengthy post really functions as a brilliant lead magnet for Buffer, which allows users to schedule their posts to Facebook. After readers are done with the article, they want to share more effectively on Facebook, and what better tool for that than Buffer?
Here’s a search I did on the CoSchedule blog.
Their readers want to know how to start a blog without an audience. Another great lead magnet idea. A PDF guide to starting a blog from the ground up would kill it with this audience.
And what do you know? CoSchedule offers a free infographic about how to start a blog, right within that particular post.
4. Become a lead magnet hoarder
Actually collecting lead magnets from your competitors is another helpful way to generate lead magnet ideas.
Because your competitors have probably already done all this research for you. All you need to do is “steal” their lead magnet and then package it differently (a different format, a different angle, etc.).
And it’s not like your competitors are exactly hiding their ideas in corporate vaults. No industrial espionage is necessary here (put the black ski mask away!). They’re begging people to sign up for these lead magnets.
Marketing guru Neil Patel is offering potential leads access to a free webinar for building a multi-million dollar businesses.
He’s solving a pain point for potential leads by showing them step-by-step how to build a million dollar businesses. In exchange, he receives their contact info and will presumably follow up with some sort of sales pitch.
Jeff Walker, the “Product Launch” guy, is offering a free guide that includes the “16 Secrets Of The World’s Most Successful Internet Marketers”.
Ahrefs offers “12 Stellar White Hat Link Building Tactics” that are endorsed by the Ahrefs team.
The point is this: as you see the lead magnets offered by your competitors, you begin to see what pain points they are attempting to solve. You can then take what they’re doing and offer something similar, or, hopefully, even better.
5. Combine your powers
Each one of the above methods will, on it’s own, generate a ton of ideas for the perfect lead magnet. But a smart marketer will go Captain Planet style, and carefully combine the best ideas from each method to create a finely honed, perfectly targeted, expertly crafted lead magnet.
- You’ll identify which pain points your readers reference most in your survey.
Then you’ll reference the highest performing posts on your own website.
You’ll explore hot topics your competitors have addressed.
Finally, you’ll become an obsessive-compulsive lead magnet hoarder.
The super-hot lead magnets lie at the intersection of all four methods. You’ll find gold in the overlap between the methods. It’s there that you’ll find the most painful of the pain points and most attractive of all solutions.
It’s there you’ll find…[insert dramatic music]…the perfect idea for the perfect lead magnet.
The bonus goodness
After doing all this research, you not only have the perfect idea for the perfect lead magnet, but you also have a glorious amount of additional material to work with.
Based on the reader survey, you basically have a perfect sales pitch already created. Your readers have explicitly told you their pain points. You can come back to them and say, “What if I told you that I have the exact solution to…[insert problem].” You’ll have new leads practically beating your digital door down.
You’ll also have a dumptruck full of new ideas for blog post ideas that, if done well, will ultimately attract people to your lead magnet.
At the end of a relevant blog post, you could simply conclude with, “If you found this post helpful, here’s a short [insert lead magnet] I put together to further address the problem.”
More digital door beating will commence.
Your research will also have given you loads of new ideas for “content upgrades”. Content upgrades are an absolutely amazing way of increasing your opt-in rates.
In fact, using the content upgrade strategy allowed me to increase my opt-in rate by 300%. Think about the overall effect that could have on the number of leads you get.
Heck, it’s almost like you’ve created two lead magnets – the lead magnet itself and the content upgrade material.
Finally, you’ll know your potential customers on a much deeper level. You’ll know what makes them tick. What they’re passionate about. What frustrates them the most. This knowledge will allow you to shape your products and services much more specifically to your potential customers.
Researching the perfect lead magnet is, to quote Michael Scott, a win-win-win situation.
Guest Author: Tim Soulo is a former professional DJ, who quit his career to study Content Marketing and principles of virality on Social Media. Check his Guide To Strategic Writing if you want to get more traffic and sales from your articles.