7 Effective Lead Magnet Ideas To Build Your List (That Aren’t “Ebooks”)

I personally hate the word “ebook”. It is just SUCH an overused word. It could literally mean anything from a one-page PDF, to a several…

I personally hate the word “ebook”. It is just SUCH an overused word. It could literally mean anything from a one-page PDF, to a several hundred page digital novel, to a Kindle book.

But, there is another thing I hate about it…

It is that little word “book” in there. That word immediately brings to mind real, physical books. And books need to justify themselves by being thick. We all go into a bookstore and see shelves of big, thick books. And so…

When we’re told we need to write an “ebook” in order to simply give it away to build up our email list, we think what?

What the HELL?! I have to write a damn book just to get people to opt into my list? And then… GIVE IT AWAY? FOR FREE?

Well, I hate to break it to ya, but…

That’s just stupid.

But, you know what else is stupid?

Having “naked” opt-in forms on your blog. And by “naked”, I mean having opt-in forms which don’t offer any kind of lead magnet.

If “Subscribe to my Free Newsletter” is the name of the game when they get to your blog, then stop everything and read this post.

Or, if you already know you need to create a bribe, but it has been put on pause because of a lack of time… stop and read this post.

What is a Lead Magnet?

Basically, it is fancy marketing talk for an irresistible bribe which offers something the person wants in exchange for their email address.

You give them something of value, and they give you something of value. In this case, their email address.

And here’s a pretty important point about a good lead magnet…

It is specific.

Meaning throw all illusions of an “ebook” out the window. We don’t need anything with multiple chapters, big pictures, and tons of pages. In fact, doing that kind of thing can actually work against you in the form of lower conversion rates.

That’s right, you can actually get LESS subscribers by putting more work into your lead magnets!

Who woulda thunk. 😉

In this article, I’m going to toss some ideas your way of lead magnets you could create. Some ideas to get your mental gears chewing on some ideas.

And let me say one last thing before I dive into the list…

I tell you this because I have screwed it up so badly. Trust me, I’ve written my share of big-ass ebooks. They used to convert fairly well. They simply don’t anymore. In fact, the last big “ebook” I wrote was 31 pages long and ended up having a, shall we say… less than stellar conversion rate.

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Here we go…

1 – The Guide or Report

Ah, yes. You see these things all over the place. An example would be my own Six Figure Blogger Blueprint.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 4.19.26 PM

It is a killer report, but it honestly worked better then than it does now. It could easily violate the rules of an effective lead magnet. So you need to be careful.

2 – Resource List or “Cheat Sheet”

Essentially, these are “ebooks” in the sense that they are often in PDF format. But, the way that you’re phrasing it just lends itself to brevity.

They have a different “feel” to them, and you can get away with keeping them short and to the point.

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 4.24.11 PM

3 – Templates or Toolkits

The idea here is that instead of giving them something they can read, you give them something they can USE.

If you look in the sidebar of this blog, you’ll see that I offer several checklists. These aren’t meant to be read, but to be used as a reference.

The whole idea is to give them an exact result and remove all the noise from it and just peel it back to basics. These kinds of things often have a higher perceived value than just something that they read.

4 – Videos

If video makes sense for what you’re doing and you’ve got the skill and willpower to do it, then videos can be a very effective lead magnet.

The same principles apply as any other lead magnet, but you’re using the format of video to deliver it.

5 – Free Trials

If you run a software business or some kind of membership site, you could offer a free trial as an incentive to subscribe.

In fact, in this case, you don’t even need to position it as a “subscription”. I mean, in almost all cases, people are pretty used to entering their email addresses as part of creating an account or registering a piece of software. So, that’s all you’re doing.

Here’s an example of how HelpScout does it. To get a 15-day free trial, you are creating an account (obviously). But, you better believe you’re on a list and you’ll be hearing from them. 🙂

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6 – Discounts

It might not be appropriate for many blog owners, but if you’re running any kind of ecommerce business, it can be perfect.

Offer to send them exclusive discounts, special offers. Perhaps a catalog.

Hey, it works for Groupon. 🙂

groupon

7 – Quiz, Survey, Free Analysis

This one takes more work to set up, but can be quite effective.

Allow people to take a test which analyzes something they’re interested in and gives them a custom result. Or have them take a quiz to test their knowledge and send them their score via email.

… which, of course, means, you have to ask for their email. 🙂

Look how Hubspot does it on their Marketing Grader:

hubspot

But, my lead magnet doesn’t work if I don’t have traffic, right?

That’s the wrong question. And if you’re not getting your lead magnets nailed down because you think your traffic is too low, then you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

Truth is, traffic is everywhere. It can be had. Just write a little check to Facebook, for instance, and you can send targeted traffic to anything you want.

If you had an EFFECTIVE lead magnet, then you could be building your list predictably every single day of the week.

Instead of worrying about how you’re going to get traffic to your lead magnet, you should be thinking about things like:

  • How will I make a lead magnet which will be most attractive to my incoming traffic?
  • How much is each new lead worth to you?
  • How are you going to effectively followup with each new lead so that you can actually profit from each new subscriber?

It all begins with having an effective lead magnet.

Or better yet, an ARMY of solid lead magnets to choose from, allowing you to select the best lead magnet for each situation and drastically increase your subscription rates.

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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.
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