The 7 Criteria For An Effective Lead Magnet (And Why You Shouldn’t Make That Big-Ass Ebook)

Instead of blindly creating a big ebook or other opt-in bribe, let’s create something which a lot less work – and MUCH more effective. Here is how to create an effective lead magnet, along with a 7-point checklist to run your next idea through.

Why It Is BAD Idea To Create A Large Giveaway to Build Your List

 

You’ve probably heard that you need to create a giveaway item of some kind to entice people to subscribe to your email list. What many people will then hear from that is…

Ah, crap! That’s gonna be a lot of work.

Well, I’m going to make things a lot easier for you today.

In fact, putting a ton of work into create a big honker giveaway offer for your new subscribers could actually result in a LOWER opt-in rate.

The Problem With Big Giveaway Offers

First, let me direct you back to a post I wrote called The #1 Lesson of Blog Monetization (And Internet Business) Which Almost Everybody Gets Wrong. In that post, I wrote:

Too many internet marketers operate on the idea that information alone is the value exchange. And, it used to be that way. However, in economics, there is a thing called inflation. In an inflation situation, the currency becomes less valuable. It can buy less stuff.

What we’ve experienced is inflation in the economy of information marketing. There is a gluttony of information (much like the federal gov’t keeps printing money). And it creates inflation. The result is that information isn’t as valuable as it used to be. People don’t perceive it as being as valuable.

In a world where nobody wakes up in the morning and thinks “I really need more information right now!”… your big 50 page e-book offer to get people to subscribe to your list just isn’t going to strike a chord.

Because your 50-page ebook offer means WORK. It is going to take WORK for somebody to read that. And lots of time. And, people are lazy, man. 🙂

Now, combine that also with the fact that so many people are giving away things, and your thing is just going to blend in.

Furthermore, many of the people who DO opt-in to get your big ebook are probably just information collectors. They aren’t likely to read your ebook. They’ll just collect it. And they won’t buy anything.

What To Do Instead

First, let’s start with the function of your giveaway offer. The function of it is to be a lead magnet.

Now, if you’re looking to build a business, then you specifically want to attract leads who are likely to be interested in your product(s). In my post called Why Following Your Passion Is Bad Advice, I said:

A passion does not create a business. Solving a problem for people who are actively looking for a solution… that creates businesses.

I added the bold part to make a point. Your business needs to be in the business of solving problems for people who are looking for a solution. To generate leads for that business, you need to do the same: SOLVE A PROBLEM.

In light of that, your lead magnet should be specific. It should solve a specific problem, for a specific type of person (your ideal lead). It needs to contain one big promise, and the result they’re going to get from it should be obvious.

What you want to produce is immediate gratification. You want this person to achieve a “win”, and you want them to associate you and your brand with that “win”.

The Lead Magnet Checklist

So, instead of creating some big 50-page thing, follow this checklist:

  • Provides a specific solution for an ultra specific market.
  • Promises one big thing (not a ton of things, or something vague)
  • Lends itself to a known, specific end result.
  • Will give immediate gratification.
  • Moves your new lead down a pathway of belief. That belief is that a solution is possible… and that YOU provided it.
  • Has a high perceived value (not a fake dollar amount, but valuable in the sense that you just solved a nagging issue for them)
  • Can be consumed in just a few minutes.

Now, I’ve done this wrong in the past. It wasn’t necessarily wrong for the times, but things change.

One of my first giveaway offers was the Six Figure Blogger Blueprint. 53 pages long. It converted well at the time but I just don’t think it would do as well anymore.

At the beginning of 2014, I created The State of Blog Marketing in 2014. It did OK, but nothing stellar in terms of opt-in generation. Looking back, I see that my title sucked and that’s because it contained no promise of a payoff.

And then we also have the case of the 30 Day Blog Transformation Challenge. Now, it still converts OK, but I use it for a different purpose now. The Challenge is now used more as a delivery of value over time and a relationship builder. Being that the Academy is a learning site, the Challenge still works. BUT…

I’ve seen several of my readers run with their own concepts for giveaway offers based on my own Challenge. So, be forewarned:

The Challenge doesn’t contain instant gratification because it is spread out over 30 days. The result isn’t specific. And, that course was a TON of work to make. 🙂 Let’s not forget that part.

Honestly, the numbers show me that engagement with the Challenge is high early on, but it fades off and a lot of people never finish it. And it is because it is SO DAMN LONG. Were I to do it all over again, I would make it significantly shorter.

How To Brainstorm Your Lead Magnets

Your business (and blog) is in the business of delivering an outcome or transformation to your customers.

Now, all transformations contain therein the idea of a journey of some kind. In my case, my typical customer will travel a journey where they start off with a blog which isn’t making any money at all (or very little)… and they’ll arrive at an outcome where they are now sitting on a fully sustainable business which is generating real revenue. That’s the transformation I’m in the business of making here at the Academy.

Now, that journey contains many milestones. There are a lot of stepping stones along the path.

And those stepping stones make ideal fodder for your lead magnets.

For instance, people just starting out on this transformation usually need to overcome the hurdle of how to set up their blog in the right way. That’s one of those hurdles that everybody in my target market has, and contained therein are the various technical constraints that are experienced by non-nerds who start on this journey.

So, an ideal lead magnet might be something like: The 13-Point Checklist For Getting Your Blog Ready To Launch.

Now, let’s run it through the checklist:

  1. The solution is specific. 13 point checklist.
  2. It promises one big thing. A blog ready to launch.
  3. The end result is specific.
  4. It has immediate gratification. A “checklist” is a lot easier to confront than a 40-page PDF tutorial.
  5. It leads people down the path of belief. Checklists, quite literally, lead people to an outcome.
  6. Has high perceived value. Not because I assign some stupid value of $47 to it (like a lot of marketers do), but because the promised outcome is something which is valuable to the person who I’m trying to attract with this lead magnet.
  7. Can be consumed quickly. Not necessarily done quickly, but it can be looked at quickly. A 13-point checklist could fit on just a few pages.

Now, that’s an example for MY market. What about your’s?

Well, again, start with the outcome or transformation that you’re in the business of producing for people (and if you don’t know it, you better get crystal clear on that). Then, sit down and outline the typical pathway that people will travel to get there. Outline the obstacles and problems they’ll experience (or may be already experiencing). Then, create a specific solution to solve it.

Most Bloggers Are Doing It Wrong

Most bloggers try to create big giveaway offers, with cheeky titles, all in attempt to impress somebody with size and volume. It doesn’t work.

Or, many bloggers still just have “Subscribe To My Newsletter” as their opt-in offer. That is NOT a lead magnet. It simply will not convert unless you’re doing a VERY good job with your front-facing content.

Do it right and you’ll get more opt-ins. And those opt-ins will actually be the kind who are more likely to buy from you.

If you haven’t yet read The #1 Lesson of Blog Monetization (And Internet Business) Which Almost Everybody Gets Wrong, do it. The concept of really knowing what your real product is IS VITAL. That single concept is like the magnetic north on the compass which guides everything else you do with your blog.

If you need help deriving that – and what your actual business model is – then I suggest you go through the Academy course called Discover Your Business Model. The process inside that course will make your business model crystal clear… plus you’ll also verify it so you won’t be left guessing on whether it will work or not.

But, once you know that, you can much more easily work it backwards into the best lead magnets for your blog and business.

Got a question about this post? Just #AskBMA!
About David Risley
David Risley is the founder of the Blog Marketing Academy, a 20-year veteran blogger and online entrepreneur. His focus? Building a reliable, recurring business around his "lifestyle" and the lives of his students. He has this weird obsession with traveling in his motorhome around the country with his wife and 2 kids. David also likes to talk about himself in the third person. In bios like this one. Read his full story.