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3 Things to Do BEFORE You Create a Lead Magnet

Written by
Sandrine
Email Marketing

3 Things to Do BEFORE You Create a Lead Magnet

There’s no such thing as the perfect “optin freebie” - but so many offers out there are doomed to fail, even before they’re created. 

In this article, I’m going through 3 very important decisions you need to make even BEFORE you start creating your lead magnet. Or if you already created your optin offer, you might want to give it a quick review…  

What is a lead magnet, optin or freebie - and how does it get people on my mailing list?  

Getting the perfect people to sign up for your mailing list - it’s an art. You want subscribers who WANT to get your emails. People who are interested in what you have to say, and who’ll happily write back, click the links to read more, and ultimately buy from you. 

The #1 way to get people on your email list is by offering something of value in exchange for them subscribing to the newsletter. That can be a PDF (ebook, cheat sheet, checklist, etc), a video (webinar, workshop, or even a series) or basically any other type of digital product. In some cases, the newsletter IS the product: you could offer a series of emails about a specific topic, or a weekly newsletter that keeps them up-to-date about your industry. 

That thing you offer in exchange for them signing up has many names: “freebie”, “optin”, “lead magnet”, I’m sure there are a couple I don’t even know about. 

They're all mostly the same, although sometimes a lead magnet can be paid - in which case we wouldn't call them a freebie.

1: Your Freebie’s Positioning and Marketing

This section is about how your freebie looks and feels from the outside: the copy you use on the landing page or in promotional copy, the imagery you use with it, the cover for your ebook, the thumbnail for your video, etc.

Make it look and feel attractive to your audience

It’s called a lead magnet for a reason - your free product needs to look and feel IRRESISTIBLE for your readers. Even the best lead magnet is not going to get anyone to click & download, if it doesn’t look valuable. “Here’s your free gift” with a button to “subscribe” might have done the trick 5 or 10 years ago - that’s no longer the case.

Make sure it’s something your readers think they need

On top of that, your optin freebie needs to be something your audience WANTS. You can write a beautiful essay about your thoughts and insights on life, but if no one knows you and people can’t see what’s in it for them, they’re not going to want to give you their email in exchange. 

Tell people how this will help them

Show or tell people how they’ll be able to use the freebie. How will they be able to implement it? How can they use it to achieve a quick win or have a big insight? This important for you long-term: so they’ll think of your lead magnet as something super valuable - and you as the person who helped them move forward. However, people are also  more likely to click the link to your landing page - and download your freebie - if they can visualise how they’ll apply it. 

2: Your Lead Magnet’s Format and Setup

Choosing the right format for your freebie

Choosing the right format for your freebie can seem like a detail - it’s not.

What’s your strength? If you’re good at video but a mediocre writer, you might choose to create a webinar or video series instead of an ebook or email series.
What does your audience want? If your audience is notoriously super busy, they might appreciate an audio file so they can listen to what you have to say in the car or while on the treadmill at the gym. If you’ve got loads of time (or someone on your team who’s efficient at repurposing content), you could offer one product in different formats.

Give people clear instructions on how to use

A lot of business owners have a very clear idea of how their product should be used - but that’s not always clear to the audience.

“There’s a video and a workbook, so people will watch the video and in that video I’ll tell them to use the workbook”... but what if people open the workbook first, and are at a loss at how to get started?

Tell people exactly what to do and what steps to take. It’s not going to take you much time to write it down - and it can save your readers the frustration of trying to figure it out… Although chances are if they can’t figure it out from the start, they’ll just leave it be. 

And you absolutely want people to use your product and be wildly excited about it! They might tell their friends and they’ll surely be looking out for your next offer.

Have the right person or people test your offer

Your beta tester should not be your mother, your wife or your best friend. It’s not your fellow expert or business coach; their feedback would be valuable when it comes to accuracy or conversion - but they can’t tell you what your readers will feel or think when they get it.

For the purpose of this step, you’ll need someone who would actually buy from you. Your “average” or “ideal” client. The person who would go on your site, discover about this product, and gladly give you their email in exchange.

Have them not only test the freebie itself: send them to the landing page so they get to sign up and test the process (signup, double optin, delivery, and emails) as well. 

Note: don’t have EVERYONE test the freebie at the same time. Ask a couple of people to test it first, apply any major changes that you might need to make, then ask a couple more people to test it again.

3: How your Optin Fits into the Bigger Picture: your Customer Journey or Sales Funnel

Is this product going to bring in the right people?

A lead magnet is only as good as the funnel it’s a part of - and vice versa. There’s really no use to creating a lead magnet that is going to get the “wrong” people on your email list - people who wouldn’t buy from you anyway. It’s also not efficient to attract people with a freebie that has nothing to do with your actual product.

If your freebie is most attractive to people who have an online business, what are the chances they’d sign up for a health & safety training? Or if your lead magnet is meant for teachers, what are the chances they’ll buy into your parenting course? 

I once created a lead magnet helping people to create the perfect landing page for their course… leading to a workshop helping them to create, structure and set up a course. I realised in time that people who’re working on a landing page for their course, have probably already created said course. Great lead magnet (it helped many people optimise their landing page), great workshop (it’s still available to my course-creating clients to this day) - wrong funnel.

Talk this through with your business coach or strategist - or maybe fellow business owners in a mastermind or your business bestie. Having someone look at it from a different perspective helps to make the right decision.

What’s the next step for your brand new subscriber?

Getting people on your email list is a first step - giving them bang for their (not bucks, email address) is the next.

In the welcome email, tell them exactly what they can expect from you.

Don’t make it all about you; sure, they want to know who you are so you should introduce yourself - but sending them 5 consecutive emails telling them all about you, your husband, your cruise to the Bahamas and your pets (real life example!) will no doubt get them to unsubscribe… unless you’re a big celebrity and they’re thrilled to be let into your private life.

Make sure people get what they signed up for. Ideally, send them a sequence of emails aimed at giving them maximum value, showing them different things they might be interested in, and there’s really no shame in telling people what you actually do or sell. 

In other words: before you even create your lead magnet, know what the next step will be for someone who signs up for it.

Got more?

If you can think of any other things people might need to do before they create a lead magnet, please tell us about it in the comments below!