It’s a cold hard fact. No matter how fantastic and innovative and well-designed your website may be, the vast majority of first time visitors won’t spend a single penny with you.
Your website, killer sales tool though it may eventually be, has got to be so much more than that.
It’s got to also be an extremely effective lead generator. A lead generator that keeps your sales funnel brimming with email addresses, contact info…white hot leads!
How do you do that? You do that by making it simple for those non-buying visitors to hand over their email addresses. You make them become not just ‘okay’ with giving you their email address, but make them fall all over themselves to do so.
Make them want it and want it bad.
How to inspire this level of passion? What can you possibly offer them in return for their precious email address? You need to come up with something that makes filling out a contact form a complete no-brainer.
Fortunately, with the incredibly affordable – and often free – tools available to create online media of all kinds, you can manufacture just about any kind of interesting “opt in bait” you can think of.
But first, you need to pick your topic. Then you need to choose how to deliver it.
How to Choose Your Topics
I’m always amazed at how many entrepreneurs think that they have to come up with topics on their own, out of thin air. They think they have to lean back in their chair, close their eyes and wait for the magically perfect (and magnetic) topic to occur to them.
That’s just silly. Why would you tax your already-overworked brain this way? The answer to ‘what do they want from me’ is readily available. You just have to know where to find it.
One of my favorite things about social media is that it’s just so darn transparent. When someone pushes content out, everyone everywhere can see what is resonating and what isn’t.
You can literally count likes, shares, comments, retweets, repins. Take advantage of this free market research and check out your competitor’s social media platforms.
Note any themes in particular topics. Swipe a headline or two. Make two columns: what to write about and what to avoid. You can do this yourself or try a nifty tool like BuzzSumo to run some reports.
This is where you need to start making like a ghost and get to haunting. Find LinkedIn Groups that are populated by your prospects and consumers and lurk. Find out what discussions seem to really take off and what topics are of great interest to the group. Again, make sure you note any themes that don’t seem to have a lot of engagement, too.
Forums & Message Board:
Good lurking here, too. Do some Google researching and see if any online communities exist and sign up. Then lurk away with your notebook handy. There is a gold mine of hot topics, FAQs and controversies in these communities. If a huge discussion crops up around one topic, you can probably find more than one way to write about that particular theme!
By now, for myriad reasons, you should be regularly surveying your customers. If you’re not, finding topics for optin bait is a great reason to start. Ask them what’s important to them. Or better still, suggest specific topics and have them rate their interest level in each.
Speaking of being specific, it’s important to remember specificity when creating your lead magnet. If you try to be everything to everyone, you’ll end up being nothing to any more.
Zero in on a topic that might resonate with a specific niche of your audience. (You can always address the other niches in the future.) By addressing something in detail versus talking in vague terms, your content will be that much more compelling!
Remember, you want to give them something they can use, even before they are ready to buy. So think – what are their priorities when they aren’t yet at the buying decision part of the funnel…but rather a few levels up?
If you sell seeds, think of what your customer does first she buys seeds. Tilling? Leveling? Choosing the right topsoil? Write some tips about that. Get creative and get them early!
Don’t Overthink (or Overdo) It:
Creating a lead magnet should be fun! Sure it takes a bit of work but it should be a labor of love.
If you’re slogging away and despising it, step back and make sure your topic is interesting enough. And don’t spend weeks and months on it. Less than a week is ideal. The important thing is to get it out there!
Watch Your Analytics:
Once you actually do “get it out there” it’s time to watch your analytics. Monitor how many sign up, how many open the emails they get from you, how many actually click the download button. If you’re getting less than a 5% Opt In Rate from all your traffic, something’s not right. Mix it up. Try a new topic, a new series, maybe even a new format?
And Don’t Forget The Button:
This is another opportunity I see going to waste, time and again. Unless you have tests that prove differently, don’t think that “Click here now!” is the best you can do for your button copy. Instead try to speak to the content they are going to get. “Click here to get your tilling tips!” Or “Watch How-To Video Now!”
Suggested Magnet Types:
All too often, we think ‘lead magnet’ begins and ends with downloadable PDF eBooks. But that’s so 2003! These days, there are so many more mediums we can offer our consumers!
- Online video course – Offer one big video or chunk it out in an autoresponder. Either way, with the great camera-phone technology and all the free video editing tools out there, there’s no excuse for you to not offer interesting video content to your prospects!
- Infographic – Everyone loves an infographic these days. So give your leads something cute but informative to print out and post on their bulletin board. It’s easier than you think! You can create your own using a tool like Piktochart or you can hire a designer for cheap.
- Printable Calendar – Also easy to design yourself. Make it printable and leave space for your prospects to add in their own tasks, but pre-load it with reminders and/or To Do’s!
- Checklists – These are easy and fun. Everybody can use a checklist. There’s a reason they have been around forever.
- Time Management Tips – This is a universally attractive topic. Who couldn’t use more time management help? This can take the form of a printable day planner, mini calendar, checklist, anything!
- Free Consultation – If what you are selling is YOU, at least in part, then offer free consultations. Hearing your warm, fuzzy, invested voice on the phone is the best way to make that cold lead convert into a white-hot sale.
- Coupons – A discount or coupon is virtually irresistible. Make the expiration date soon, but not overly so. You want them to feel a sense of urgency but not anger them by giving them too little time to decide and / or find the funds to purchase from you.
- Free Membership Site – Create an online community of prospects (and happy customers) and let them mingle and share ideas. Make it free to join…once they hand over their email address.
- Quiz or Poll – Create a fun online quiz or poll. (You see how well they do on Facebook, don’t you?) The only catch is if they want to see the results, they need to ‘log in’ with an email address. One caveat: you want to make sure that the topic is relevant to your business or else you’ll get a bunch of leads that have no interest in ever buying from you.
- Free Webinar – Finally, the most tried and true of all lead magnets. The free webinar. People love webinars for, I suspect, the same reason they love free consultations. They get a better sense of who you are and what you sound like “in person.” So throw together a fun, informative free webinar and invite the first few hundred folks who give you their email addresses!
So tell me – what’s your best performing lead magnet? The worst? Which kind of offer has worked well on you? Have I left out any interesting new formats? Tell me in the comments below!
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