How to get more leads by offering downloadable content

Lead magnets can supercharge your sales. Learn how downloadable content can get a foot in the door with potential clients.
Feb 26, 2020 • 8 minute read
Qasim Zulfiqar @BluLitmus
Technical Co-pilot
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Learn how to maximize your sales funnel by offering a lead magnet

If your business is geared towards customers that are not likely to convert with direct marketing, you need a way to get them into your sales funnel and nurture them until they're ready to buy. This means getting that all-important contact information.

But most people are hesitant to hand out their email address on a whim. They want to know that they're getting something of value in return. This is where lead magnets come in.

What is a lead magnet?

A lead magnet is the entry point of any sales funnel. It's free content that's offered, generally in exchange for a customer's contact information. Good examples of lead magnets can be ebooks, video tutorials and trial memberships.

Lead magnets are often used as an incentive at the beginning of the marketing campaign to provide customers with an easy way to get started with your digital offering. And they're super effective. According to a recent study conducted by Venture Harbor, lead magnets can increase the opt-in rate for sales funnels by up to 85%.

However, the benefits of having lead magnets isn't just limited to marketing opt-ins. Here are some of the biggest benefits of having good lead magnets.

Lead magnets set audience expectations

Lead Magnets do a great job of setting the right expectations for people considering your product or service. Before someone takes the leap to make the final decision and spend their money, they want to dip their toe in and evaluate the quality of the content. They want to get to know your brand, and understand your areas of expertise and how you can benefit them.

Easy entry

People tend to be risk averse when it comes to making a purchase. However, the attitude is entirely different when it comes to free content. Everyone loves free content. Offering valuable content in exchange for a customer's email address is a relatively risk-free exchange. It doesn't require much buy-in from the customer, but they get something they want in return.

Brand awareness

A good lead magnet should create an amplifying effect for your marketing. If you provide quality content, it increases the chances that it'll be shared. You may only send the lead magnet to a few hundred people, but it could end up being shared far beyond that number, raising the profile of your brand and growing your sphere of influence.

Audience segmentation

Creating a variety of different lead magnets can help you segment your audience by their areas of interest. This can help dictate the marketing messaging you use to nurture them towards a purchase. For example, let's say you run a plumbing business and you produce two different lead magnets: an online course in common home plumbing fixes and a PDF comparing the pros, cons and pricing of the top brands of water heaters. Segmenting your list by lead magnet download lets you know the products or services you should be marketing to each group.

Brand reputation

By offering high-quality content, you're establishing your brand as a subject matter authority and demonstrating your credibility. When working in the digital space, that can be one of the most valuable assets for your brand. A good reputation goes a long way in convincing clients to consider you.

Offering valuable content also increases trust and goodwill. It shows potential customers that you're willing to share your expertise with them free of charge. In our previous example about the plumbing business, it could seem counterintuitive to offer a video showing customers how to fix their own plumbing problems. After all, you're potentially taking away business that could have been yours. But imagine the trust you'd create by showing your customers you're not after their money for jobs they could easily do themselves. When the time came to call a professional, you'd be at the top of their list.

Now that you are aware of all the different ways a quality lead magnet can positively impact your sales funnel and — in a larger context — your brand’s reputation, let's dig deeper into what you can use as a lead magnet.

What to use as a lead magnet

A lead magnet is all about educating your audience and providing them with something of value. Adding value is always the best way to get back value from customers. Here are some great ideas you can use for your lead magnet.

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to share insightful information in a visual manner. Professionals across the world are always looking for information that can broaden their horizons and increase their general awareness about their fields. Creating an informative infographic can be a great way to get organic shares and lift your brand's profile. One of the best aspects of infographics is their ability to incite conversations. By sharing the right infographics, you can organically create audience interaction with your content and snowball your marketing.

So, how do you come up with an infographic? You can either use data that your company already collects, or collate research from other sources. The data you present should be relevant to your area of expertise, and it should be in an easily digested format.

Most importantly, you want your infographic to look visually stunning and unique. The best way to ensure this is to make a bullet-pointed list of the data you want to present, and then hire a graphic designer to produce the infographic. Here at Freelancer, we've actually gotten some great infographics for our blog by running contests on the platform.

READ MORE: How to run a contest on Freelancer

PDF guides

If you produce a regular blog for your business (and if you don't, you should), you can compile or adapt some of your previous entries into a PDF guide. Make sure you're providing valuable information, preferably with some action the reader can take. Present it in a visually appealing, easy-to-read format, and keep it brief. One or two pages is ideal.

Again, if you want to make a good impression, get a professional graphic designer to lay out the PDF for you.

Ebooks

Ebooks are one of the most popular forms of lead magnets around the world. With the shift to digital reading, an ebook offers well-designed content and valuable information.

Producing an entire book may seem like a daunting task. But, again, if you're already producing a blog, you could consider pulling together several posts and reformatting them into an ebook.

It's important to consider that your ebook is going to be the first impression many customers have of your brand. That means you want it to look professional. Here are some factors that can massively improve the quality of your book.

  • Professional design
  • Quality proofreading
  • Excellent writing
  • Easy-to-follow structure

To put it all together, you should find a graphic designer with experience laying out ebooks. You should also find a proofreader to make sure it's free of any spelling or grammar errors.

READ MORE: How offering a free ebook can boost your business

Online courses

Online courses are one of the best ways to offer value to your readers. What makes them so special is the fact that you can offer limited access to the initial chapters to lure leads in before you charge them a premium amount to access further content. This strategy allows you to give clients a clear idea about the features, user interface, and general content quality without demanding a proper commitment. Online courses generally have a very high level of interaction due to their visual nature.

There are a number of formats you could use for your online course. You could use a Typeform quiz, a PDF, a slide deck or a video. We prefer a format that incorporates both video and interactive elements. Once again, and we know we sound like a broken record, it's important to hire professionals so you present your course with a high level of quality. Depending on the format you use, this could mean either a graphic designer, a video editor, a videographer or all three.

Now that we've looked at some of the lead magnets you can use, let's look at how you offer them to your site visitors.

Offering the lead magnet

Make your lead magnet obvious. Depending on what you're offering, you may want to place a call-to-action on your homepage, or on relevant pages of blog content.

Call to Action (CTA) button or form

You could offer the lead magnet as a button or form on the relevant page of your website. Make sure the CTA is well-positioned and stands out.

We should also briefly discuss the difference between a lead magnet CTA and your main CTA. Your main CTA should be directing your visitors to take whatever action will lead to a sale, and it should be clear about its intention. For example, if you're a software company that uses a field sales team, your main CTA might be "Request a demo." If you're an ecommerce site, your main CTA is probably "Buy Now," or "Add To Cart."

READ MORE: How to write winning CTAs

A lead magnet CTA is a transitional CTA. It's there for site visitors who aren't willing to commit to a purchase, but are willing to at least do further investigation into your brand. Your button or form should make clear what visitors are getting, and what they're expected to give you in return.

Ideally, any page where you display your lead magnet CTA should also display your main CTA. You don't want to miss out on customers who are ready to buy.

Pop-up form

Pop-ups are a great way to get users' attention. Make sure that you give users the option to enter their emails to receive their lead magnets. This can be a great way to collect the email for your sales funnel and send them the attachment via email.

Yes, we know. Pop-ups are annoying. Guess what? They're also ridiculously effective. According to a study by Sumo, lead magnet pop-ups that give context to explain their offering see conversion rates of up to 40%.

Hosting your lead magnet

Once you've created your lead magnet, you need a way to host it online so people can actually access it. There are a few ways you can do this. You can create a new, no-indexed URL on your website and then email the URL to users who opt in. You can simply upload the lead magnet in the form of an email attachment and send it to visitors who sign up. This will ensure that your readers are receiving the lead magnet and viewing it properly. Or, you can go for a cloud hosting platform like AWS to ensure that the documents are perpetually online and available across the globe.

What to do after a visitor has downloaded your lead magnet

So, you've set up a great lead magnet and you're collecting email addresses. Now what?

The next step is to send an email nurture campaign. This is a series of emails that helps visitors become more acquainted with your brand, and your products or services. It builds trust and goodwill, and leads towards a call to action to buy your product or service.

Fortunately, we've put together a handy guide on how to build an email nurture campaign.

Final words

Not every visitor to your website is going to be convinced to buy from you on their very first visit. Parting with their hard-earned money can seem like too big a risk if they've never experienced your product or service before. But parting with their email address is low commitment, and gives you a chance to begin building a relationship. Lead magnets take some time and effort to get right, but they're an essential part of your marketing.

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